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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 5542
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My 14 year old shih tzu has lymphoma as well as congestive

Customer Question

My 14 year old shih tzu has lymphoma as well as congestive heart failure. Chemo is not an option as per our vet. He also has dry eye which seems to be the only thing bothering him. He is eating great..pee and pooping good and enjoys cuddling and naps. Is there anything holistic i can give him to help
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.

Hi. My name is***** I'm sorry to hear about Casey's situation with her lymphoma and congestive heart failure. Is she on any medication for either one at this time? It is good that he's eating great and still being a very social guy!

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No medications at all
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.

Ok. At some point, there are definitely medications that can help to make his quality of life better with the congestive heart failure situation. Pretty much medications like lasix and an ACE inhibitor are started when the patient starts to have increased breathing effort / rate, coughing, or not being as active. I just wanted to throw that out there. As far as the lymphoma situation, there are honestly many ways it can be handled. I fully understand an owner not wanting / being able to go down a route of more aggressive chemotherapy. It isn't the right choice for numerous owners. As far as for Casey, there really aren't any specific proven holistic options. The best thing is to make sure to keep his overall health as best as possible from a physical, mental and nutritional aspect. Meaning to encourage activity, keeping him mentally stimulated, and to keep his nutritional intake as balanced as possible. As far as a very, very, very simple medication to start for lymphoma as far as getting it to subside some, prednisone, a steroid is extremely widely accepted, in-expensive, and greatly tolerated. I would bring this up to your vet. Here is a good link on it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The vet said steroids would cause heart failure
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.

In a situation like this, lymphoma when first diagnosed in a patient with no therapy typically has an average life span of 2-3 months. Those on steroids typically can get out to 3-5 months. Large doses of steroids has a possibility of being an issue in dogs with congestive heart failure. In his situation, could smaller doses be used safely? That is something that I would personally push the bubble with. Not doing anything is absolutely shortening his potential life span. Using low doses of steroids has a very slight risk, but it may have the benefit of giving him more quality time.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will ask her tomorrow...this is killing me.
His eyes are also swollen and red...we are using drops to keep them moist but the swelling is worse. Is this painful
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he is eating and peeing/pooping just fine. He is happy to see me and sleeps through the night. His lymphnods in his neck are getting bigger and i cant bare the thoughts of him gasping for air.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 1 year ago.

The dry eye (KCS) is something that can be uncomfortable if the tear film isn't being kept up. You should let your vet know that the eyes still seem red and swollen as they can start up some additional lubricants to help make sure the eye is staying as moist / hydrated as possible. I know it is tough to "know" what the exact right decision is for him. I would say that any decision you make, take heart in knowing that you're trying to give him the best and longest quality of life possible despite the issues he's against. You will weigh the risks and benefits and make the best decision knowing all that.