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Category: Veterinary
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My golden just had 3 mammary duct tumors removed. The tissue

Customer Question

My golden just had 3 mammary duct tumors removed. The tissue came back as lymphosarcoma. However her margins were clear. Lymph nodes are fine, blood work fine and ultrasound and chest X-ray clear. Is it worth doing chemo at this point? Or should we wait and see? She will be age 12 in November. Is there a chance they could have gotten it all? My vet wants to do IV chemo once a month for 4 months. I just can't decide whether to put her through that. She isn't sick the lumps were removed.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  MsAM replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in canine cancers. I am sorry to hear of your golden's diagnosis.

As you may already know, there are five stages of lymphoma. Stage 1 usually has only one lymph node involved, while stage 4 has liver and spleen involvement, as well. Of course, there will be no way to know for certain what stage your dog is in unless you visit a veterinary oncologist. I recommend seeing an oncologist because they are up-to date on all the latest studies and protocols.

The first thing to know about chemo is that, for most dogs, you are not putting them through anything. Dogs don't generally have the side effects that we humans do. For those few that do, the protocol can be changed or the chemo stopped. Chances of curing lymphosarcoma with only surgery are very slim. Research has shown that dogs in stages 1 through 4 tend to respond well to chemotherapy. They aren't cured, but remission can often be achieved. The prognosis for dogs in stage 5 is much poorer, because they tend not to respond to chemo. This link will take you to a site with information on lymphoma and more information on treatment:

With no treatment at all, the average life expectancy is about 2 months. Most dogs are not acting sick at the time of diagnosis. Some dogs don't respond to chemo at all. About 1/4 of those treated respond exceptionally well and survive for two or more years. Remission times vary with different protocols, which we'll get to in a moment.

How much chemo will cost depends on what protocol you use and where you live. Any veterinary care tends to be more expensive on the coasts. There are several different chemo protocols used. Doxorubicin used alone is the least expensive.

The COP protocol using cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone is also an inexpensive option. Median remission time is 130 days.

The VELCAP protocol results in about 50% of dogs living for a year. VELCAP-L (a modified version) results in a remission rate for about 13 months in 70% of dogs. It does have more frequent side effects.

A newer and more expensive protocol is VELCAP-SC. Median survival time is 302 days. Dogs that had good appetites at the time treatment was started tended to be those who lived the longest.

Most expensive would be to find a center that offers bone marrow transplants and radiation. It offers the best chance for long term remission, to the point that some dogs are considered cured. What I've given you is a summary of the protocols. An oncologist can give you details, and help you decide which protocol would be best.

What I would recommend is that you consult with an oncologist and discuss the various options. The oncologist can give you prices for the different protocols, and then you can make your decision. The following site has listings of oncologists. You don't need to fill in all the information. If you just put in your state, it will give you a list.

If you need anything else, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I'll be hoping for the best possible outcome for your dog.


My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service only after you have all the information you need. Thank you!