How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask DanaDVM Your Own Question
DanaDVM
DanaDVM, Dog Answer Team
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 998
Experience:  Dog Expert
11348
Type Your Dog Question Here...
DanaDVM is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

boxer: enlarged spleen and swelling..vomiting..lethargic..My vet

Customer Question

My 5 year old boxer recently had an ultra sound done and the results were an enlarged spleen and swelling of a lymph node found in the abdomend. His symptoms were vomiting (2-3 a day), very loose bowl movements, sometimes lethargic, and rapid loss of weight. My vet advised me that for a true diagnosis a biopsey of the lymph node would need to be done, but unfortunately these tests are too costly for me. However an extraction of fluid from the spleen area showed benign. Prednisone 20mg was prescribed and the vomiting pretty much stopped but the bowl movements didn't so Metronidazole 250mg was just given. My question is are we missing something, could there be something else that my dog could be suffering from that these symptoms could be tied to? I dont think he has cancer because he doesn't seem to be suffering, he's still very playful and active. He has lost all of his body mass, his spine and ribs are showing but he's definitely eating well and I think he's getting a little belly but he's very bony elsewhere. Please help!
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  ElenaMarie replied 11 years ago.

Cancer can be such a vague and insidious disease. Unfortunately, the tests are very expensive, and if the vet pretty much is sure that is what your dog may have, I would just try to keep him as happy and comfortable for the time he has left with you. If he is playing and still active, I would just try to get him to eat what you can, and until he really starts lying around, and seems to suffer from extreme pain, I would cherish each day you have.


There is not anything I can think of at this time, that he may have, and since the meds like prednisone and metronidazole seem to be helping when using them, I would just continue with the advice of your vet. 


If he is getting a little belly, that could always be a possibility of ascites, or fluid buildup, if he has cancer, and you should keep an eye on that, that it doesn't become too enlarged.


He is quite young, but even young animals, can develop fatal diseases, and I would only question the vet on what else you might be able to supplement his diet with that could help him live a good quality of life, for as long as he has. Perhaps he will receive a miracle, if you believe in prayer and pull through this, if it is not cancer, and give you many more years of loving friendship.


God bless you and good luck! 

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Elena Marie's Post: Well actually my vet isn't sure that my dog has cancer or not. The only way to know for sure is if a biopsey is done. Thats what im trying to find out, if there is something else I can have my vet test my dog for or maybe there might be something that she's missing. Would another vet take the same route that my vet took or would they test for other things espically since the fluid from around the spleen was benign. Is there a more agressive way to approach my dog's health problem?
thanks
Expert:  ElenaMarie replied 11 years ago.

The following information in blue comes from the following website:


http://www.oncolink.com/types/article.cfm?c=22&s=69&ss=545&id=6020



Lymphosarcoma (lymphoma) is the third most common cancer diagnosed in dogs. It is a cancer of lymphocytes (a type of blood cell) and lymphoid tissues. Lymphoid tissue is normally present in many places in the body including lymph nodes, spleen, liver, gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow.

The average dog with lymphosarcoma is between 6-9 years although dogs of any age can be affected. Certain breeds (Boxer, German Shepherd, Golden Retrievers, Scotties, Westies and Pointers) may be more likely to develop this type of cancer. Males and females are equally at risk. In most cases, we cannot tell what causes lymphosarcoma.



Also, you may want to read the information on the following website. I am not a vet, so, you may want to ask another vet about your dog, but with what I am reading and what your present vet has done, and has suggested doing, such as the lymph node biopsy, that would probably be the most definite way to find out if your dog has cancer.


http://www.vetinfo4dogs.com/dspleen.html


The following website might lead you to more information also, that is interesting about boxers:


http://www.boxerunderground.com/feb_bu_99/genetichealth.htm


I believe the only really aggressive way to approach your dog's health, is what you have already done so far, and also, if you are able, to do the biopsy that the vet suggested. But, if this were my dog, and I did not have the money to put the dog through a lot of tests, that may end up being benign, or cause more pain in the dog, I would opt to treat the symptoms and let the dog live out its life without a lot of painful visits to the vet's for further testings.


God bless and good luck!


 

   

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
I appreciate you forwarding that web site to me about the cancer information. That was very helpful in answering alot of my questions. But I was wondering if you can tell me your best guess on what the average life span for my dog in this situation, how long will he have living with this cancer if thats what it is?
Thanks
Virginia
Expert:  ElenaMarie replied 11 years ago.

Surely, I hope your dog does not have cancer, but if he does, it is hard to say what his amount of time left might be. The vet might be able to give you an idea, but it depends, again, on whether or not he does have cancer and what clinical stage it is in.


No one really can ever give a definite answer on any animal's life span with a disease such as cancer. Perhaps your dog will be fine, and he may just be suffering from some disease that is viral that has affected his organs so severely.


I found another website that is very good about splenic masses and cancer and you might want to look at that. Hopefully your dog does not have this, but it might give you some good information. It always helps us to learn as much as we can, and then we may not feel so helpless when we have to deal with diseases with our pets. The site is:


http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1394&S=1&SourceID=42


If he is still eating well, and acting pretty normal now, with normal bowel movements and urinating okay, then I would just be thankful for each day you have with him. Just like any pet we have, we just never know when that day might arrive when we have to make the decision to let them go, if their quality of life becomes unbearable and painful for them.


If you have thought about asking another vet for an opinion, and if there is something else that might be done, you will probably end up paying as much all over again, compared to the chance you might take in having your dog have the biopsy done of his lymph node that your present vet recommended. I still try to not put my animals through too many tests or surgeries, if it is not going to do anything but give a definitive answer that the pet has a fatal condition or disease anyway.


Right now, I have a cat that has had  two mammary tumors for going on four years (very small like a pea, but still worrisome), that my vet wanted to take out. I chose not to, as I feel that if they are benign, then she will be okay for as long as they do not grow, but if they are cancerous, it puts the cat through so much trauma, pain and stress and the cancer seems to grow faster, and the cat dies more quickly. I have a friend who has lost two cats to mammary cancer and she said she will never put another cat through what they went through ever again.


Each person must make their own personal decision, and if you feel comfortable just having your dog live the way he is right now, and you cannot afford much more, in tests, and treatments, etc. then I would not feel guilty about that choice. He may surprise you, and make a great comeback, and live many more years with you!


God bless you and good luck!

Expert:  DanaDVM replied 11 years ago.

 Virginia,


I am hesitant to respond since my last conversation with you, you never accepted an answer...


Was the spleen just showing a generalized enlargement? And, was it just one lymphnode or many? How large?

Dr.V



JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
< Previous | Next >
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
  • Last night my Expert spent close to 3 hours working with me on my dog's illness. Thank you so much for this opportunity to share in her care and knowledge! Cathie M Pompano Beach, FL
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Gary

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2893
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2893
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/Jav917/2012-2-20_54059_201221802254JoananddavidArchuleta3.64x64.jpg Joan's Avatar

    Joan

    Vet Tech

    Satisfied Customers:

    4758
    Vet Tech for over 35+ years working w/Dogs/Rescues
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/ER/ERPetNurse/2011-11-7_1293_b.64x64.jpg Candy's Avatar

    Candy

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    7889
    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    4851
    UC Davis Graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    A Voice for Your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    4705
    19+ years experience in small animal medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/VetAnswers/2013-4-5_8257_prof10.64x64.jpg 's Avatar

    Satisfied Customers:

    4630
    dasdasd
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AN/andrewDVM/2012-4-27_12585_iStock000011751407XSmall.64x64.jpg Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3284
    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery