My dog has lymphoma. Is it time?

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by tribblesmom, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. tribblesmom

    tribblesmom Earning My Ears

    Jul 28, 2013
    Hello, I'm new here and saw some other great advice regarding dog lymphoma. She is a 6 year old beagle mix and this news has been devastating. Her name is Tribble. She was diagnosed 4 weeks ago because we found small lumps on her neck. We decided against chemo since its extremely expensive and would likely only prolong her life for a year. We started her on prednisone immediately and tramadol for pain about 2 weeks ago. It seems to be spreading very fast.
    Now she still eats great. Has quite a bit of energy, still gets very happy and excited. But my main concern is she is panting a lot and its not hot. It's usually when she's lying down. She is having a hard time breathing when she's lying down even when she's not panting. It's killing me to see her like this when she's tired but then when she gets up she's fine, wagging her tail, etc!!!
    I don't feel like its time yet because she still has so much life in her. But when she's lying down I know she's not comfortable and I just don't know. I read somewhere that the panting can mean she's distressed.
    Can I get some advice? I greatly appreciate it.
  2. pat fan

    pat fan Sad my tag won't fit :(

    Oct 2, 1999
    No real advice, but I am in the same boat. Our greyhound has bone cancer and he still gets excited when I come home, runs to the door etc....but other than that, he lays around looking fairly miserable. Now he's limping constantly or only on 3 legs, avoiding the bad leg altogether. Vet said he could prescribe morphine if we weren't ready to put him down. I don't want it to be about me, but about him and what's best for him.

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  4. mjlewis23

    mjlewis23 Mouseketeer

    Apr 6, 2007
    First of all :grouphug: . I know how hard this is for you. Our german shepherd mix had lymphoma, and it was rough. She also started panting for no reason too. That's actually what made me take her in. I noticed the lump and then the panting, and it was literally within a week. Lymphoma moves quickly in dogs. The vet told me that she had a few weeks left so we took her home, put her on prednisone and cried. :sad:

    All I can say is some advice I was given by my uncle, who has raised many dogs. When it's time, you'll know. You won't second guess yourself because in your heart you just know it's time. Until that point, which may only be a week or so, (my dog deteriorated rapidly:( ) enjoy the time you have with her. She will let you know when she's had enough. I will never forget the way that my Ashley looked up at me as if to say "I'm ready to move on". (It's been 8 years, and here I am blubbering like an idiot at the keyboard). We took her to the vet that afternoon, and she passed before the doctor even gave her the second shot. My prayers are with you and your family.
  5. Pea-n-Me

    Pea-n-Me DIS Veteran

    Jul 18, 2004
    It is always so difficult to be in that situation.

    Nobody can ever say for sure when the right time is for you and your pet, since it's such a personal decision. But oftentimes people are right when they say, "You'll know" and "When the bad days outnumber the good".

    Is there a way you can position her when she's laying down so that she's more like "sitting up", or at least more at an upright angle, such as with pillows on a sofa or dog bed? I'm not sure if she's panting due to temperature regulation or poor oxygenation, but if it's the latter, hopefully it might help a bit. Try it, anyway.
  6. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

    Jan 17, 2006
    I am so sorry you are going through this. We lost my 11 year old pug to melanoma a year and a half ago. There is no easy answer, but I agree with the pp who said you will just know.

    My pug was diagnosed 9 months before she died and aside from one surgery and pain meds, we didn't do anything else. She was good until she stopped eating. After four days of that I just knew it was time. I spoke to my vet on a Saturday morning, he agreed it was time (and said when a dog no longer does her favorite thing....eating in my pug's case), it's time. We made the appt. for Monday morning. As we sat down to dinner that Saturday night, my son went to check on her and came back crying that she had died (we had her on the couch and my other pug never left her side). It was heartbreaking, but I knew then I really did know the time was right.

    Big hugs to you and your family. Losing a pet is one of the hardest things :(.

    Sent from my iPhone using DISBoards
  7. freckles04

    freckles04 DIS Veteran

    Apr 14, 2012
    I wish I knew what to tell you. :sad1: I feel you have made the right decision so far. My childhood dog had cancer which my parents spent thousands (that they didn't have) with chemo and surgery to save her, but it only prolonged her suffering. She finally went off into the woods to die alone. :( I still wish we had not let her suffer that way.

    I'm a nurse, NOT a vet, but I am also a dog owner and lover, so take this with a grain of salt. I'm trying to apply people knowledge to dogs. :)

    It sounds like your dog's lungs are filling with fluid when she lies down, but when she is up, the fluid drains and she feels better. That is a symptom of congestive heart failure which can be caused by lymphoma. I did a google search and saw the average lifespan for untreated lymphoma in a dog is 60 days.

    If it were my dog, I would see the vet again and see what else he can recommend to keep her comfortable awhile longer yet, since you say she seems fine otherwise and still has a lot of life in her. A drug called Lasix is used in people with heart failure to help with fluid build-up. It would not extend her life but it could keep her more comfortable. Your vet might tell you that it is not an option for your dog's condition so take that for what it's worth, but you could ask him about it.
  8. zippingalong

    zippingalong Mouseketeer

    Dec 28, 2012
    I'm so sorry you're going through this.

    I've been there more times than I want to think about.

    Here's my past experience with lymphoma. My girl got sick *fast*. One day I noticed she was losing weight and made a vet appointment. We had labs drawn, which were normal and we made a second appointment for an abdominal x ray. Before the second appointment she went from totally normal (but thinner) to emaciated and sick. Vomiting, panting...she literally went downhill in a single day and on that day I *knew* she was dying. Remember, she hadn't been diagnosed yet, she'd only had lab draws. So, I brought her to the emergency vet and in the morning they transferred her to an internal medicine vet who diagnosed the lymphoma. We were told chemo might buy her 6 months, but she was SO sick I knew it was the wrong thing to do. We had her put to sleep.

    So, spend quality time with your baby and cherish the time you have. If it had been possible, I would have put her to sleep before that last day. She went from happy and healthy appearing to dying overnight and I feel like because of that, she suffered.
  9. kacaju

    kacaju DIS Veteran

    Mar 4, 2007
    Everyone is different. and I can only say, as hard as it is...look at your pet and remember how she was this how you want to remember her by...being so sick. I see too many of my friends who keep their animals long after they should have been put down because *they are still eating* they are still happy to see me*
    And then they say...I should not have waited so long.

    Think of yourself...if you were sick and dying...wouldn't you *put it together* to make your family happy and not let them see you suffer?

    It is such an emotional tug of war we have when it comes time to have our animals put down...We all wish they would peacefully pass in their sleep. Good luck with whatever you decide. I had to make this difficult decision myself recently.
  10. clh2

    clh2 <font color=green>I am the Pixie Stick NARC at my

    Jul 15, 2003
    I agree with this. The dog we needed to put down had bone cancer. The vet said he probably had 2-3 months left, and we had him euthanized soon after he diagnosis. While I will always miss that dog - he was a "momma's boy", I do not regret the timing we chose.

    It is a tough decision, but try to make the decision that is best for your dog, not what is best for you. That is the only thing our pets ask of us, after their years of unconditional love for us.

    So sorry to hear about your furbabies!
  11. Pin Wizard

    Pin Wizard <font color=deeppink>I now have a new favorite at

    Jan 8, 2002
    Hugs to everyone who has lost a beloved pet. :grouphug: Any indication from your vet? It was the emergency vet who told us we really should consider it with Max. It was his recommendation. Max had a bad report from the previous visit to the vet, so we had time to get ourselves ready. :sad: :sad: But it was bad with Max. He couldn't get up and walk. :sad: :sad: He's been gone over a year, and I still miss him so much. I'll know when it's time. paw: paw: Bless your heart!
  12. BriarfoxinWA

    BriarfoxinWA DIS Veteran

    Dec 22, 2001
    I just went through this in March. Zelda our 5 year old German Shepherd had been act different. Not sick but had slowed down and really wanted to spend more time outside then normal all winter long. She had not been eating well for a couple of weeks. She had a sensitive stomach so I thought maybe she had just got into something that set her off. On that Thursday she got me up to go out a couple of times during the night, which was not normal. Then when I came home for lunch on Friday I went out to find her and she was laying in the mud and wouldn't come when I called. We rushed her to the vet. He took blood samples and tested her lymph nodes. They were all swollen. She had a big edema on her neck and was stressed/panting all the time. He put her on the same meds that you got for your dog.

    She was better Friday night and ate a little on Saturday. We were devastated, hoping that it was something else but scared that it was going to be bad. She would also lay around and pant all the time. She wanted to be out because it was cooler outside and she was running a temp. Saturday night the vet called me with her test results, it was lymphoma. She had a very rough Saturday night even with the medication the vet had given us.

    Sunday morning she wouldn't eat, I was a bawling mess, but I called the vet and asked if he would come to the house. We took her out to the field and played a little. She would be good for a few minutes but her energy was not there. We loved on her and gave her treats. The vet put her to sleep out on our deck with her head in my lap. She was the greatest dog. That was the worst thing I have ever done - but I know it was the right thing to do. She was miserable and it was my duty to make sure my friend didn't suffer.

    Zelda also had moments when she would act almost normal, but then when she wanted to rest I could tell she was so uncomfortable. I just couldn't let it go on like that. I think our vet wanted us to try stronger medication but really who is that benefiting? It would make her more comfortable and maybe buy her a few days. I just couldn't do it.

    OP I'm so sorry your going through this. It's so hard to know when, but just think about your pups quality of life.
  13. The Mystery Machine

    The Mystery Machine Sunrise at my house. :+)

    Jan 4, 2001
    I would put her down, but that is just me. I would have a very hard time watching her struggling to breath. :sad:

    Many hugs.
  14. DebbieB

    DebbieB DIS Veteran

    Aug 24, 1999
    I think the saying "you will know" is true. Our cat was in kidney failure and we knew when she would no longer eat and had no energy, it was time.
  15. Disneefun

    Disneefun DIS Veteran

    Apr 3, 2003
    Well, our dog is in kidney failure and today is our last day with her, as we have the appointment set for tomorrow first thing. It's all happened in about a month from diagnosis. We've tried a few treatments, but nothing too invasive b/c she's 14 and, really, that's just mean to put her through all that with no hope of buying much time. We've just been keeping her comfy as best we can.

    She's stopped eating, she never seems comfortable and she's lost interest in all her favorite things. When she started turning down peanut butter on Friday (the last thing I'd been able to get her to eat and her all time favorite), we knew.

    I'm dreading it and don't want to do it, but I know it's best. Keeping her here would be for me, not her. She still has some moments of happiness and silliness, but they are fewer and farther between. And I can tell they cost her something in terms of energy and feeling good.

    So all I can tell you is that you'll probably know when it's time, but you still won't want to do it and everything in you will tell you not to, to keep fighting for every second no matter how fleeting the good times are, but deep inside, you'll know.
  16. kacaju

    kacaju DIS Veteran

    Mar 4, 2007
    So true...when it came time for our Dog I knew he was having a bad day.. called the Vet and had it done that day. (after of course we all said goodbye) because if I had to wait and schedule would not have gotten done...
  17. Surfinpiratee

    Surfinpiratee DIS Veteran

    Jul 11, 2013
    First off, I'm so sorry you have to go through that. It's never easy :(

    Second, I've never had to be the decision maker for my cat to be put down (since i was a kid). But i know now (I have 2 cats and 1 dog) when they need to be put to sleep, I want to be there with them. I don't want them to suffer or pro long their suffering.

    Just make their last days wonderful and comfortable for them. They'll really appreciate it. :) And know that you gave them a wonderful life.
  18. tribblesmom

    tribblesmom Earning My Ears

    Jul 28, 2013
    Wow I couldn't have expected such an overwhelming amount of responses and support from strangers. We are all animal lovers!! Thank each and everyone of you for sharing your heart wrenching stories and for your advice. I wish I could respond more thoughtfully to you individually but it's really difficult on my iPhone, plus would probably take hours. So please know I appreciate you all!
    Last night I came to realize I think the vet has her on too much tramadol. Her breathing gets worse shortly after I give her the pain meds. She only weighs 40 pounds and she has been taking 100mg as needed about every 6-7 hours. I'm going to decrease that to 1 50 mg pill per dose and see if it helps her breathing while still helping her pain. Last night 4 hours after her meds she was breathing pretty good even while lying down. I just don't think it's time to put her down yet but I do know its coming soon. :( until then she will continue to be treated like a queen!
    I like the idea of trying to prop her up to rest. I will try that. I will also take her to the vet if the decrease in pain meds doesn't help her breathing, just to get his opinion.
    Thank you again! Ill keep you posted for those interested.
  19. dreamin'boutdis

    dreamin'boutdis Mouseketeer

    Mar 13, 2010
    OP - I'm so sorry that you are having to go through this.

    We have had two Rottweilers who have had lymphoma (litter mates). We chose to do chemo for both of them, and they were also put on prednisone. Our vet warned us that one of the side effects of prednisone is heavy panting (along with excessive drinking and urination).

    I suggest you talk to your vet in the morning and see what he/she thinks.

    BTW - one of our dogs is still going strong, over 2 years post diagnosis. She is still on prednisone and still pants heavily at times.
  20. maxaroni

    maxaroni DIS Veteran

    Mar 17, 2005
    We lost our beloved Max from kidney failure and it was so fast. He wasn't eating well and thought it was old age (15). Took him to the vets who ran a blood panel and it was kidney failure. Stayed at the hospital 5 days with IV and sub q fluids .....eating a special diet and back to himself. Within one day of being home he went down hill. The ER vet asked us what we wanted to do but said she didn't think he was ready. Took him to our own vet the next night ready to put him down as he got so much worse overnight. The vet said he thought he could pull him through. Those words changed our feelings and we gave him a shot. 2 days later got the call that it was time. We got to the vet and don't think he would have lasted much longer. We said our good byes and held him.

    It was the hardest thing to do but there was no doubt in my mind in what to do. In hindsight we wished we had done it 2 nights earlier and we feel the guilt...nearly 2 years later. We still cry and he is missed so much.
  21. Anne34

    Anne34 DIS Veteran

    Apr 14, 2002
    Our Beagle had the same thing when he was almost 8. We went downhill quickly and we ended up putting him down when he was just laying in a corner by himself, trying to get away from all the commotion of the family. I didn't want him to slowly choke to death -- thought that would be an awful way to go.

    Best of luck with your decision :grouphug:

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