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Dr. Christina
Dr. Christina, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 358
Experience:  Works at a Veterinary Teaching Hospital to bring you the best.
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My rabbit of 8 yrs has an adenocarcinoma on her right jaw /

Customer Question

My rabbit of 8 yrs has an adenocarcinoma on her right jaw / salivary gland. She has just had her third chemo treatment (VCA Albuquerque, NM) in as many weeks. Chemo meds for dogs and cats are being used....the lump has grown; it makes it hard for her to eat. Can you help?? Signed.... A Bunny Mom in Tears
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Dr. Christina replied 11 months ago.

Dr. Christina :

Hello, my name isXXXXX and I am a licensed veterinarian here to try and answer your questions.

Dr. Christina :

Are you available to chat?

Customer:

Yes

Dr. Christina :

Hello. I am so sorry to hear about Ebony. That is so terrible.

Customer:

To say the least, yes. We are waiting to see if the doxo has any effect. The lump is such that my bunny can't fully open her mouth.

Dr. Christina :

That's got to be horrible to watch. Did they consider surgically debulking the tumor... to make it easier for her to ear?

Dr. Christina :

eat*

Customer:

Surgery is out of the question. The tumor is attached to her lower jaw; her jaw would also have to go. Absolutely can't be done.

Dr. Christina :

To completely remove the tumor is definitely out of the question based on location, but sometimes they can just cut pieces off to make it smaller.

Dr. Christina :

chemotherapy works by killing rapidly dividing cells, and is targeted at disease at the levels of cells. It is very difficult to get a large tumor to respond with chemotherapy.

Dr. Christina :

Have you considered radiation therapy? At least palliative to maybe make her feel better?

Customer:

Would surgically removing a part make the cancer cells spread?

Customer:

Radiation therapy has been talked about. It is 8 hrs. north, Ft. Collins, CO and would cost $5500.

Dr. Christina :

It shouldn't. In general, the more times we touch a tumor, the cells can spread, but it would not be the inciting cause for the tumor to spread. If it is this large, it is likely already in the local lymph node. I'm assuming her lungs are clear though if you are pursuing chemotherapy.

Dr. Christina :

Sometimes you can do a radiation protocol that goes for 2-3 weeks... you could leave the bunny there, or you could stay with her. The concern with radiation is that she would need continued anesthesia, and with the GI tract of rabbits beings so sensitive, it might affect her negatively.

Customer:

At her last xray her lungs were clear.

Customer:

At last check her lymph nodes were also good but that is not to say they still are. This coming Fri she will get a white blood count.

Customer:

My vet has been in touch with the radiologist in FT Collins, the rad. treatments would be a shoter version....2 'zaps' so to speak.

Customer:

I mean shorter version. And about their GI tract.... so true.

Customer:

Right now she has some diarrhea ) from the latest chemo.

Dr. Christina :

That's good that is would be shorter. It might help... It unfortunately won't cure her... and we run into this problem with dogs and cats as well.

Dr. Christina :

If the radiation is an option for you, there is a chance that could make her feel more comfortable.

Dr. Christina :

I would not hold my breath for the chemotherapy to work, as it is very difficult to get it to work on large tumors.

Customer:

Besides the 3 chemo medications I have listed, do you know of any other? It would appear here that radiation is the last resort.

Customer:

Her tumor measures at a cubic volume of 61.49 cm.

Dr. Christina :

All 3 of those work well on carcinomas... but again, they work best at microscopic disease. When chemotherapy agents fail as the previous 2 have, we can throw whatever we want at it and it won't word. Sometimes cyclophosphamide can be tried... although I have to be honest, I don't know if that can be given to rabbits.

Dr. Christina :

That is a large tumor. I am so sorry. This is a horrible situation.

Customer:

I accidently discovered the lump 8-9-13. The surgeon was sure it was an "ordinary" abcess. But once opened he discovered otherwise. Ebony is still an active rabbit! I just saw her run across the secure backyard....!

Dr. Christina :

The other option is placing a feeding tube to get her the nutrition she needs... although without her chewing on her hay, she may end up with teeth problems. This would be a palliative measure as well.

Customer:

The lump was very small, hardly noticeable a month ago but it has soared.

Customer:

Ebony has already had her teeth worked on before the lump was discovered. I think I will be losing my baby.... this is the first time I have typed it out. I am crying.

Dr. Christina :

Wow. That is very discouraging in the face of chemotherapy.

Dr. Christina :

Let it out... it is very difficult to come to that realization.

Dr. Christina :

I think we are losing the battle against a very aggressive cancer... and that she cannot eat very well is an indication we need to either try radiation, but realize this is not going to fix her.

Dr. Christina :

I would pick 3 things she loves to do... and keep a journal of those 3 things... if she is having more days where she doesn't want to do those activities (whatever they may be), than days where she does... this is an objective way to determine quality of life.

Dr. Christina :

I know you love her very much. She is a very special part of your family and she appreciates everything you have done for her.

Customer:

Rabbits just aren't meant to have feeding tubes. Ebony is the kind who likes to chase ground squirrels and dig holes.

Dr. Christina :

I agree, rabbits are not meant to have a feeding tube.

Dr. Christina :

I can imagine her. Does she do bunny kicks in the air?

Customer:

Yes, bunny kicks...also known as "binkies"!!

Dr. Christina :

I have a bunny. Her name isXXXXX yes, she does binkies all the time when she's happy.

Dr. Christina :

Well as long as she is still running around doing "binkies"... I know she's happy.

Customer:

I am going to talk to my oncologist about the two things you have mentioned.... slicing some tumor off and the drug, cyclophosphamide. At this stage of the game I/we (my husband and I) have not too much to lose. I will never hurt my girl and I am sure I will know when the time has come. I'm just not quite sure Ebony is finished yet. Her last chemo was 3 days ago.... my silly bun had gained weight.....! Go figure!

Dr. Christina :

That's great. I am not an oncologist, but an internist... so your oncologist will know much more about drugs to choose. But if I know them, they always have things they can pull out of their pockets. The meloxicam will help with pain... they may also have some suggestions on food that might be easier for her to eat... and if she is uncomfortable, they might be able to give you some additional pain meds at home.

Dr. Christina :

I think she's still fighting... and I know you and your husband will continue to fight with her.

Customer:

I do have "bute", and althou it's nasty, she will soon be getting some.

Dr. Christina :

Bute is another NSAID I believe... phenylbutazone... meloxicam is an NSAID as well. I would caution you against giving 2 NSAIDS at the same time. It can be rough on the GI tract, especially with her having some diarrhea now from the chemo. If she needs more pain meds, perhaps an opioid like buprenorphine at home could be more helpful, and safer. One dose of Bute won't hurt, but I would call tomorrow for something other than a pain med if needed.

Dr. Christina :

for another pain med if needed**

Customer:

I know its nasty cuz I always stick my tongue to new meds................

Customer:

Thank you for that info..... I shall pass it along shortly and get a new pain med asap. Luckily my vet is open 24/7.

Dr. Christina :

Good. Is there anything else I can answer for you?

Customer:

I came across Just Answer on Google only an hour ago so i'm not sure how every thing works. Are you available again in the near future? Can you get back to me if you think of something new? Can I print out our conversation?

Dr. Christina :

I will be here in the future. You can accept my answer and rate me... and you can continue to see and respond to this chat for 7 days. If the moderator closes the chat, you can request me through the site and I can answer your questions. I will be able to get back to you if I think of something else. You can print out the conversation...there is unfortunately no print button, but you can copy and paste the conversation field into a word document and print it out that way

Customer:

Thank you for your help. You have been forthright and that is appreciated. My vets kinda have their "kid gloves" on...if you know what I mean.

Dr. Christina :

You are very welcome. It is never easy to deal with a case such as Ebony because everyone only wants to fix her so badly... and I know she is so adorable and tugs on everyone's heart strings.

Dr. Christina :

You let me know if I can do anything else for you. I wish you the best with Ebony. :)

Dr. Christina :

You will be in my thoughts.

Customer:

Thank you, Christina!

Dr. Christina :

You are welcome. No more tears for today. Go cuddle your bunny.

Dr. Christina, Veterinarian
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 358
Experience: Works at a Veterinary Teaching Hospital to bring you the best.
Dr. Christina and 3 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Christina replied 11 months ago.
Hello,

How is Ebony doing?

I was thinking of you and wanted to make sure things were going well. It was a pleasure to talk to you the other day. Let me know if there's anything else I can do for you.

Have a good day,
Dr. Christina
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Hello Dr. Christina... Ebony had a quick checkup this morning including blood drawn for a white cell count. I'll get a call tomorrow on the results. My vet (like my primary care doctor) is passing on to the oncologist your suggestion of cyclophosphamide. Other than all that, Eby is a trooper...eating, drinking and quick on her feet! I'm an old farm/ranch girl and I grew up around a lot of animals....This 6 1/2 pound black rabbit has burrowed into my soul as no other critter ever has. Ebony has a buddy, a smaller white/brown rascal name of Boo! Boo's sinuses are bothering him so he gets nebulized once at day with a little Baytrile. Call me Nurse Lu!


...Sincerely.... Lu in New Mexico

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