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

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Old 02-18-2013, 07:43 PM
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Acute lymphoblastic leukemia - now regretting the usage of Prednisone

We have been on such an emotional rollercoaster the past 2 weeks when we received word our golden has been confirmed with ALL. What I thought was only an ear infection turned into a nightmare diagnosis. Mya did in fact have an ear infection but they wanted to take blood because it has been a while since her last test. This was shocking to say the least and doctors were pretty surprised she was not displaying stronger symptoms since her lymphocytes were over 120,000. They then advised us to see an oncologist.

With the state of panic we were in, I went to a specialist another vet had advised to me and never looked into reviews of this doctor. I don't know if it is the emotional state I am in plus denial, but I did not feel impressed with the oncologist. He was really pushing chemo but we made the hard decision to forgo the treatment if the results came back as acute. He seemed disappointed but advised we start prednisone. We did agree to that and he prescribed 120 mg a day. Let me just say after one day on this stuff I lost my dog. She has been vacant, depressed and slowly losing strength in her legs. She has had other symptoms as well and nightime has been pretty unbearable with restlessness and heavy breathing. Today has been exactly one week on this medication and my husband asked the doctor if we could reduce the dosage. Her amount seems too much to me. Also I told the doctor that she went downhill right after starting this. The day before she was still vibrant and herself. He told me these were not side effects of the Prednisone but the disease. When I did research online I saw many others complaining of the same while their dogs were on it and not even for cancer. When I discovered that I felt I could not trust the doctor. And like I said earlier, it could be my emotions and denial causing me to become paranoid. Starting today she will go down to 60 mg for one week. We just want to see our girl's spirit return before she departs us. If I had known this would have happened I would have skipped this and let her go when she wanted. I am grateful the doctor is trying to extend her time but I can't bear to see her so depressed.

So my question has anyone had experience like this with this medication or ALL in general? Is this the disease or do you think the meds? I am at a loss because just when I think I should put her down she will come back to me briefly. I also have her on all organic home cook foods in conjunction with Annamaet Grain Free dry food. I am giving her Flax Oil to help her immunity. Any advice or experiences are much appreciated because this has been very terrifying for us.

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Old 02-18-2013, 07:56 PM
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Oh my

Oh, my, I am so very sorry, but it certainly does sound like the high dosage of the prednisone was making her sick!

I am sure someone on here can offer some input.
Praying for your girl!

I did a search on here for ALL, and came up with these threads:
http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/...ecial-boy.html (Sam.....My Special Boy)

http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/...archid=1350810
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:04 PM
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Thank you so much Karen. Prayers are much welcome and needed.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:10 PM
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Mya's Mommy, I am so very sorry that your girl has this diagnosis. If you feel that the prednisone has made her not herself, then wean her off of it slowly and allow her some gentle, sweet times with you. It's a tough call, knowing there is no cure and that even with agressive chemo, you'd only be buying a short time. Spoil your precious girl, give her whatever she loves to eat, drive her to her favorite spots and let her sniff all the good smells....and just love her. There is a saying among folks who have lost their beloved dogs: Better a day too soon than a moment too late. Listen to your dog. You know one another. If she says it's time and your heart can hear her, listen. I'm really sorry that you find yourself in this rotten position.....
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:18 PM
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I'm so sorry that you are dealing with this. My prayers are flowing your way.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:49 PM
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I understand how you're feeling.

Our precious Bo was diagnosed with an aggressive mast cell tumor and one of the cornerstones of the treatment was massive doses of steroids. Based on my experience in medicine with humans, I didn't want Bo to deal with the terrible side effects of such a course of treatment. I knew he wouldn't understand.

It was the hardest choice of my life, but I chose to have him put down, and was at his side until his last breath.

I'm not telling you this to say you should make the same choice. I'm merely trying to validate your own feelings and instinct. A true healer (vet, physician, or otherwise) will partner with you and educate you so you can make your own choice. Listen to your heart, your gut, whatever you want to call it.

You'll know the right choice.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:00 PM
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Thank you so much Robert for your kind words and I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your Bo. This disease is dreadful and so sudden. I think so much of the disbelief comes too with how things can change so quickly.

Bo was very lucky that you made the painful decision not to go with the steroids. We have been fortunate here never to have had to use them on her or ourselves. Hearing from friends that have used such medication and their side effects is troubling to me. I know these drugs can either be friend or foe. And each situation is unique as well as the dogs.

All we can do is enjoy each moment because it can change and slip away so quickly. I pray for healing in regards to your loss. It displays much about your character to me how much you wanted Bo not to suffer. Thank you so much and I am terribly sorry for your loss. I hope we can find a cure for these terrible diseases.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:32 PM
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Mya's Mommy, first I am so sorry to hear your golden was diagnosed with leukemia. How old is she?

I am not a fan of high dose prednisone. My golden was being treated for various health problems when his bloodwork showed his platelets were down to 42,000 (they should be a minimum of about 200,000). He went on doxycyline in the event it was tick related. Those tests were negative so next treatment would be high dose prednisone. It was believed/assumed low platelets were auto immune related and high dose prednisone will usually bring platelets back up within 2-6 weeks. His dose was 80 mg daily. he seemed to tolerate this for first two weeks. A little more thirst/urination but really not all that bad. There was not a significant increase in platelet count so azathioprine was added in. Within about 3 weeks of being on high dose prednisone, he was quickly losing muscle mass and began to seem depressed and lethargic. I discussed tapering but now platelets were going up a little more so I was hopeful. After about 4 weeks I did begin the tapering but he did not seem to improve. Like you it was a roller coaster. Right after New Year, he began to have other symptoms. One day he started to cough (he did have two lung tumors), the next day he was fussy eating. He was not at all himself, he would lay in the bathroom, he no longer sat on the sofa looking out the window, stopped laying on the bed. He was just so distant. His bloodwork also was now showing signs of changes in kidney function. I knew he had turned the corner and made the decision to let him go. I felt like I was driving down a road and kept coming to a dead end. If I could have reversed the damage done I would have waited, but I could not guarantee his quality of life and to be honest was worried about him completely crashing. He did have other medical issues, but I think the prednisone did a lot of damage. I've seen cases where it helps, but I think when they have cancer and have a compromised health system, high dose prednisone is not the route to take.
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Good luck with Mya. If she has not been on prednisone very long, maybe you can reverse the side effects.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:37 PM
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Again, so sorry to hear this.

I had a golden once on pred for allergies and she was always a little spaced out when she was on it. So I imagine a higher dose can do the same. It effects people the same way.

It's your choice to change the treatment to have your time with your girl the way you want it. Don't let a vet make you feel anything aside from confident in your choices.

Hoping you get more time with your girl.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:40 PM
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Acute lymphoblastic leukemia - now regretting the usage of Prednisone

So so sorry to read this. My prayers and thoughts go out to you. We are dealing with cancer right now, too, and its so hard.

That much prednisone seems like A LOT! I'm no vet but when Scout was on 80mg for a short time it was nearly unbearable. I'd talk to your vet ASAP about a smaller dosage and the pros and cons of a different plan.


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