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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19977
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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My dog has been diagnosed with lymphoma and chemotherapy is

Customer Question

My dog has been diagnosed with lymphoma and chemotherapy is being offered as an option but I have no idea how distressing this is for the dog and whether it is worthwhile in the long run given that it gives a limited extra time to the dog. What is the quality of life in this time likely to be? What would your advice be?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 year ago.

Hello Margaret,

This is just a quick note to let you know that I am locked on to your question and am working on it now.

I am a small animal vet with many years experience and rest assured I will do my best to answer your question to your satisfaction today. You can expect a written reply sometime within the next fifteen minutes or so.

We also have the option to talk things over by telephone or via an internet service such as Skype. Please get back to me if this is more convenient for you. { There is a small extra charge for phone calls }

Regards,

Dr Scott

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 year ago.

Hello again Margaret,

So sorry to hear about Spencer's diagnosis, however I have worked out an answer for you ...

" What is the quality of life in this time likely to be? What would your advice be? " : My experience is that with chemotherapy the dogs usually have quite a good quality of life. It is worth giving it a go to see how your dog does on it, it could possibly give your dog up to a year of extra life but bear in mind this is like seven years to a human. But lets talk it over in more depth ...

1. There are a number of common ways of treating lymphoma, one of which is by the use of a drug called Prednisone { Prednisolone } which can be given on it’s own. If you go down this road your dog is likely to have a six week to two month remission period, during this remission period these dogs will be close on normal and have a good quality of life. At the end of the remission period the disease will come back with a vengeance and normally your dog will unfortunately die very shortly after that. There are more advanced treatment plans involving standard chemotherapy drugs which will give significantly longer periods of remission. However using Prednisone alone previously will very much reduce the effectiveness of them if you decide to change treatments at some future point. So you have to decide which way to go from the start.

2. Standard chemotherapy protocols will give much better results than Prednisone on it’s own and the drugs used have included Vincristine, Cyclophosphamide, and Doxorubicin amongst others. During the treatments I have undertaken the side effects I have seen have normally been quite minimal and most dogs I personally dealt with had a good quality of life during this time.

What you would normally achieve by this method would be up to nine months to a year of remission and normal quality of life but then the drugs may become ineffective and the disease return although it may be possible to switch drugs at that point. Longer emission periods are in theory possible but I personally have rarely seen any but common sense dictates that you would have a much better chance of success if your dog is dealt with by a specialist oncologist. It is always a good idea to seek specialist or informed opinion since chemotherapy of this nature is a very fast advancing field of veterinary medicine.

In some cases radio therapy may be of benefit but because of the logistics involved this is rarely carried out except at specialist centres.

3. Hear is a link to an accurate article which covers this topic { Multicentric lymphoma } in more detail : LINK

I hope I have covered your question fully enough but if you would like further clarification or to talk things over a bit more then I will be on-line for the next hour or so and I will be more than pleased to continue working with you.

Regards,

Dr Scott

Please be kind enough to rate my service to you after we have concluded our dialogue, such feedback helps me maintain the quality of my answers.

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 1 year ago.

Hello again Margaret,

I am just checking back in to see how Spencer is getting on after our recent dialogue concerning his lymphoma. Hopefully I covered your points raised with my reply yesterday, but if you would like to talk things over further I will be online for the next four or five hours today.

Regards,

Dr Scott

Please be kind enough to rate my service to you { Using the site rating system }, such feedback really helps me maintain the quality of my answers.