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T-Cell Lymphoma - Cosmo's story
Early in the year I posted about Cosmo's diagnosis of Lymphoma - T-Cell. I thought I would diary our experience for others who have dogs with the same type of Lymphoma.
He was diagnosed in January 2018 at 7.5 years old after he presented with swollen lymph nodes. He was was symptom free other than the lymph nodes and a slight drop in red blood cell count, so the Oncologist decided to hold off on treatment.
In March he contracted canine corona virus which is usually pretty harmless but for him it resulted in some serious diarrhea and weight loss. With antibiotics he was able to recover slowly and returned to his happy self, but was unable to gain any weight back and the red blood cell count had gone down a little more (but still above normal). Nevertheless he was very energetic.
In April the Oncologist switched him to a hypo diet to see if his body could process the food more easily and put on weight. Made no difference (except he toots less haha). We also did an ultrasound to rule out internal issues like cancer in the stomach or intestines. That came back clear. We had the option of doing an intestinal biopsy but figured it wasn't worth it (very expensive) because the treatment would ultimately be the same wherever the cancer is located - chemo. Red blood cell count was on the cusp.
In June he was down to 55lbs (from an athletic 65) and was starting to dip under the normal range for red blood cells, so the Oncologist decided to start chemo. He's on Leukeran, an oral pill-form we give once a day at home. About $100 CAN per month from the Costco pharmacy - pretty good deal I thought for chemo! He also started with a heavy dose of Prednisone which has since been decreased to a low level.
By early July his lymph nodes shrunk to about 1/3 the size and as of August 10 he has gained back all his weight (he's exactly 65lbs now). Cosmo is a happy boy, though decreasing his food from 6 cups a day to 3 has not been taken lightly.
The Oncologist feels that because T-Cell Lymphoma is a slow growing cancer it will likely take the chemo a very long time to cause full remission (the cells replicate and die slowly) so he may be on the treatment for the rest of his life, although likely at a lower dosage.
We feel very fortunate that Cosmo has had not one but two cancers by the age of 8 and is still a happy, bouncy boy. He had hemangiosarcoma at age 3-5 on his ear which he had removed (#oneeareddog). And that we've have the money to deal with it.
I will come back periodically to share more as things progress.
Here is a photo of him and his late "grandma Lily" - our landlord's husky mix that just passed away at 17 and Cosmo's best friend.
"I have just met you and I love you" - Dug (Up!)