Acute lymphoblastic leukemia - now regretting the usage of Prednisone - Page 2 - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums

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Old 02-18-2013, 10:06 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear your dog is sick. High dose prednisone is sometimes a dog's best shot at a few more good weeks or months when an aggressive cancer strikes. Of course, there are risks, but it's my understanding that it's a relatively safe choice.

I'm so sorry your girl isn't responding well. There are no guarantees in medicine and particularly in cancer treatment. Even if the prednisone was the best bet and the oncologist gave you the treatment most likely to do what you needed, that doesn't mean it'll work as you hope it will.

We used prednisone to try to buy some time for my beloved dog who was diagnosed with lymphoma in '08. We got about five days before we had to put him down, but it was clearly the cancer that was causing his health crisis in that case, not the cancer.

I wish I had better advice, but the only thing I can really say here is that I'm sorry that you're going through this and I hope you find a way to find some more quality time with your dog.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:57 PM
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I am very sorry about your situation. No one wants to be in your place.

How old is Mya? How big is she?

My Bentley was over 11 young but he weighted 72 lbs. He got lymphoma cancer. He was not eating. I was also not a fan of his new reputable vet. Anyways, Bentley was not eating. So prednisone helped him to eat and drink more - the basic to live.

Looking back at my journey, to me, 50 mg prednisone daily was too much. This drug made him weaker and weaker and not himself. Or it was the cancer, or it was a combination of cancer and drug... (everything happened so fast in my case). And I am not a vet. It hurt me to see him to decline every day.

(Love Never Dies)http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/golden-retriever-rainbow-bridge/118720-love-never-dies.html

But some dogs may respond prednisone better. I questioned the treatment. But no time and experience to question....All I know is the amount of prednisone must be used very carefully and according to the instructions from the vet.

My dog breeder is also a vet. I checked with my breeder about treatment. One thing I learnt from my breeder: no matter what treatment plan we used to fight... prefer to start with a more agressive level... so the highest acceptable dosage for the the first week (success rate should be higher)... and to see how the dog's response to the drug... The reason is cancer can develop antibodies and to fight back the treatment... That may be why your vet started with 120 mg for Mya daily (probably the same concept).

I wish you have more quality time with Mya. Prayers and Hugs for Mya and you and your family. Keep us posted.
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:15 PM
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Thank you so much everyone for all your well wishes and support. It is much appreciated and needed here. And my heartfelt condolences to all of you that have found yourself in a similar situation as us. This has been one of the hardest experiences that has lead to some very deep ethical and emotional concerns. I appreciate everyone sharing their experiences - experiences I hope nobody has to face.

To give an update on Mya - she will be 11 this May and weighs 100 pounds - she is definitely a big girl And boy does time seem non existent when I face that reality because it seems like just a moment ago Miss Mya was brought home as a pup. And how she was just a few weeks ago she still seemed like a puppy! So this has been very hard to swallow and process. Yesterday was the first full day of her new dosage on predinsone. She went from 120mg a day to now 60mg. I personally think this is still a high dose but if it is helping her than I am ok. Her side effects have definitely changed. She has more energy although still fatigued and she is gaining more strength in her legs. There were a few days over the weekend where I thought she lost all ability to walk. I am happy to see the progress in her muscle strength and a slightly positive turn in her personality. She is still not herself but definitely not as depressed and is sleeping much better. When she was on the high dosage I was so scared because it seemed like she struggled with breathing. Her breathing and pulse have both stabilized since lowering the dosage. The only thing now that has changed is constipation. I am adding some more fiber to her diet to try and help that issue.

I feel bad being harsh about the oncologist like I had stated earlier. I am definitely no doctor and I know he is trying to do all he can to give us more time with her. I just wish I was more informed on the other side effects besides increased appetite and thirst. I honestly thought what was going on last week was the leukemia. I still do not know if it is but seeing some positive changes even if slow has brought some relief. The information I am researching and been told from the doctor on Accute Leukemia in canines has been vague. It appears it is a relatively rare condition and with Mya's age even more rare. He did say with older dogs Chronic Leukemia is seen more frequently. I wish she had no Leukemia at all but when we were waiting for the results we were praying it was Chronic since it is less aggressive. Either way we are just trying to enjoy each moment with her. I am fortunate I have the ability to be at home with her during this because that would make the situation even harder to deal with. I am probably becoming a bit neurotic though always looking for the specific symptoms of the disease which the doctor said would be skin lesions, bruises and nosebleeds.

But I thank everyone for their input and sharing their experiences. Again I am so sorry for your losses too and wish so much we could get some better understanding of the cancer in these little fellows. It seems too rampant but at the same time perhaps the advancement in knowledge is making the diagnosis seem more prevalent. At least I hope that is the case. Thanks again and I will try to post some updates on Mya. Even if there is really no more input others can provide I feel a bit compelled to put our experience out here in case it can shed some light to others that may also go through this. Thanks again for all the support and prayers. Mya is very thankful as well
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:11 PM
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I just heard a lecture this week given by an oncologist for the club. Her lecture was more about lumps and tumors, but she did go into treatments. She vaguely talked about a "leukemia vaccine" that she gives her leukemia patients that has been quite successful and I believe she said it was cheap. A couple people in the group have used it and it gained them a lot more time with there dogs.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:19 PM
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Mya

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Old 02-20-2013, 11:13 PM
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It's wonderful that you're able to be home with Mya to take care of her! Glad that she is improving a bit. You are both in our thoughts for much more time with her.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:50 AM
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Thanks very much for all the well wishes. I am so sad to report Mya passed away last night at home. It was so fast and we are all still trying to process this shock. She was doing great yesterday too. She pooped and was walking much better. She also ate a great meal. We were planning on having our two neighbors that Mya adored over for dinner. Just before they were to arrive she began yelping and I immediately ran to her. Her breathing was very heavy and I did not know if she was trying to let me know she had to go to the bathroom. I could not even try and lift her - it was dead weight. I frantically phoned my husband to get home ASAP I did not know what was happening. Anytime I left the room she would yelp more. This went on for about a 45 minutes. As soon as my husband arrived she immediately began to defecate. She was totally unresponsive to him and the breathing became harder. Within minutes she was gone. It was so traumatic and beautiful at the same time. I believe Mya wanted to lift the burden of us to have to euthanize her. I also believe she *waited* for my husband to get home. She held out for him. We wanted to bury her in her favorite spot in our garden. Because of the non stop care we were giving her we never got the chance to dig a grave. Last night the ground was too frozen and we could not dig a hole. We had to transport her to the vet and she will be cremated. I begged the doctor to tell me what happened to Mya - was she in pain, did something burst? Was this the cancer or the prednisone? She told us that her stomach was very filled with fluid. She also said her organs were very large. When we moved her to the truck after she passed we noticed some blood. I then saw some coming from her nose. I am terrified and filled with such guilt she was in pain and fear during her last moments. I hate not knowing what it was she was feeling. I feel tremendous guilt putting her on the prednisone although I know it could have extended her life and helped her symptoms. I don't think she was on them long enough for lethal effects but I still feel her dosage was so high and lead to other issues. I need to stop looking for answers and accept this - it is just so much easier said then done. God took a piece of my soul last night and I miss her so much!!! She proved to be an angel to me up to her last moments - waiting for her daddy to get here as well as taking away the hard decision of putting her down. I feel so much guilt not putting her down when she was diagnosed. I understand NOW why some choose this path. So many ethical concerns and I just want to know my baby did not suffer in the final moments.

Thank you SO much everyone for your support and insight. This is an unfortunate way to join the forum but the support and understanding in this short time is appreciated more than you know.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:38 AM
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Dear Mya's Mom, I am so, so very sorry you lost your Mya last night. My heart just fell when I began to read your post. Reading your post is like reading my mind. I went through the same questions regarding Harley's illness and wonder about what I could have done differently. In the end I come to the same conclusion which is probably not much and if I chose a different path other things would have happened which might have been worse. So please try not going down that road, and believe me I know it is easier said than done. You loved Mya with your whole heart, took excellent care of her and made decisions based on the facts you were aware of. There was no more you could have done. The grieving process takes time so don't try to rush it. Remember all the happy days you shared. Take care.
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Old 02-21-2013, 08:46 AM
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I am so very sorry for your loss. It is very clear from your posts that Miss Mya was a very loved member of your family. She passed with her loved ones by her side quickly at home. We can always question the what ifs, but it won't change the outcome. Sleep soft sweet girl.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:25 AM
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My heart is breaking for you. The image of the frozen ground is just so, so sad.

Please try to let go of your guilt. We don't have perfect knowledge of everything that's going on in the body, so we cannot make perfect decisions about medical treatments. There's no reason to feel guilt over that. Any fear or pain she felt is the fault of the cancer, not anything you did.

You love your girl, and you did everything you possibly could for her. If she understood everything, she would never want you to feel guilty about things. She'd just be happy to be so deeply loved. We try to give our dogs the most painless, calm exit we can, but we are not gods. We do our best and muddle through.

You did an amazing job being there for your girl. You were with her for the scary part, and that's more than a lot of us get.

So let the guilt go if you can and focus on what a wonderful dog you had. It hurts so much because you had a good dog who loved you very much.

Sleep soft, good girl.
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