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Rudy's Lucky Dad
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Hi there.

Andy is my 4th golden retriever. My first, Buddy, was pulling a stake on the end of a chain with his eyes swollen shut when he wandered up to my wife at her office. He was about 5 then, and we had him for 10 more years. He was the first therapy dog in Nashville and worked every week with pediatric trauma patients at Vanderbilt Hospital here in Nashville.

We were deep in sadness. One day I said to my wife, "Honey, there's another golden who needs us. Let's get an older dog who isn't being adopted", so we found a wonderful golden rescue group - Tennessee Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (TVGRR.com) and adopted Trevor, who was about 10 or 11. His coat was dry like straw and he'd evidently been tied up his entire life somewhere. He didn't know how to have fun. He learned to play ball and loved to swim at the lake. When his energy suddenly dropped about 2 months after we adopted him, we spent thousands of dollars on diagnostic tests (too many vets don't know what they're doing, sadly). He had leukemia. We spoiled him with pot roast and love. I petted and talked with him all night the night he died with a beautiful shiny coat and a waggy tail, finally knowing what it's like to be loved.

Next came Henry, also about 10 or 11. Someone opened a door at a vet office and let him in. That's how he ended up with the great people at TVGRR. He vomited one night 5 months after we adopted him and the next day as well. We took him to the vet. Darn it! He had an inoperable huge cancerous tumor in his belly and we held him as he went to the Rainbow Bridge.

Andy came next. We've had him for 8 years. He was about 1 or 2 when we adopted him. Like our first, Buddy, Andy's been a therapy dog for long term pediatric patients.

Well, I felt two small lumps in his neck last week. He had an operation where they removed one but left the larger one (about half the size of an egg) because it was attached to lymphatic tissue. The biopsy results came in today. Early stage Lymphoma. Needless to say, we're devastated. The economic downturn has hit us pretty hard and we don't have extra money, but we'll get him the chemo and hope it gives him more time. I just lost my sibling to cancer not too long ago. Another loss of a very loved one would be very hard right now.

Tomorrow we'll be taking him to the oncologist to start the chemo process.

Reading a lot about others experiences with lymphoma in their goldens we know chemo will only give him an extension, not a cure.

Any experiences and/or advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. We're very open to holistic avenues in addition to chemo. Also, any experience you can share about anything from generic chemo drugs to holistic/diet ideas would be very welcome.

Hope and helpful information would be a blessing right about now.

Thanks so much.

PS I recommend adopting from a golden retriever rescue. So many like Andy were simply dumped off at kill shelters when they got 'big' and weren't puppies anymore.
 

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I was just having this conversation with a friend the other day...Lymphoma is one of the few cancers I would treat for... while the chemo won't cure him, it can put him into long term remission and that is a good thing...

Good luck at the vets... keep us posted as to how he does
s
 

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Many prayers and good wishes for Andy.

I've had four goldens since 2002 and they were all adults or seniors when I adopted them. There is nothing better than old gold, but it is sure a hard road to travel. When I lost Copper to cancer last year I couldn't go that route again.

We've had some good success stories about chemo and lymphoma. Check out Meggie's story - she gave/gives us all hope.
 

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Kye & Coops Mom
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My prayers are with you and Andy. I wish I knew the right words to make it better and I would gladly say them.
My prayers and wishes of a good outcome to you and your precious boy are coming your way.

I light a candle in Andy's honor and my wish is for him to be in no pain and enjoy every day as his first.
 

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Dog Lover
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Andy

I am so very glad you found us and so glad that you adopted Andy.
I agree that adopting is wonderful!!
Praying for Andy and his lymphoma. You will get lots of support and love here.

I am so very, very, sorry, about you losing your sibling!
 
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I miss my Buddy
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God bless you and your family for saving all these beautiful goldens. Sending you tons of prayers and good wishes for Andy.
 

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So sorry to hear about your boy Andy. Sending him healing thought and strength to you all. Thank you for showing your other dogs much love.
 
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In the Moment
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Bless you and especially Andy. I second the idea of reading Meggie's thread as she is one who beat lymphoma. I'm sure Cindy would be glad tohelp you (Meggie's mom). Please know that there are many from around the world that will be praying for you.

My son finished his residency at Monroe Carroll in 2010. How wonderful to share your Andy with those precious children.
 
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I've seen what the power of prayer can do-my thoughts and prayers are with your special boy Andy and to you and your family also.

Thank you for the love you've given these special goldens that have come into your life. I know first hand how special a Rescue dog is, both of mine are adopted, one through CFGRR and the other from my County Humane Society.

Keep us up to date on Andy's treatments and progress.
 

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You and your family are truly an inspiration. Thoughts and prayers are with Andy while he goes through this journey. Well wishes to you.
 

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Missing Selka So Much
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I too recommend contacting Meggie's Mom and reading the Lymphoma thread.
Sending prayers for Andy. Our Selka died from Osteosarcoma which is terminal always. I hope chemo gives him lots of quality time.
 

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What lucky dogs, all four, to have found you and your family.

I'm so sorry to hear about Andy's lymphoma. I dont' have any advice, but just wanted to add my best wishes. I hope the chemo gives you lots more time together.
 
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First of all, I'm so sorry to hear about Andy's situation. My heart goes out to you. It's devastating.

My dog, Teddy, was diagnosed with lymphoma and secondary leukemia in early November, and he was 11 yrs old. I was upset because his lymphoma presented as a tumour deep in his chest, behind his heart so I had no early warning signs in the way of swollen lumps. Three vets checked him and couldn't feel a think until he went for x-rays. Unfortunately by the time I caught this (with his only symptom being lack of appetite), it had already moved into his spleen and it was enlarged. The leukemia bit complicated everything because his blood work was a mess (anemia, thrombocytopenia etc). Regardless of all of this, I did want to try chemo because.. quite frankly he was my 'heart dog' and I was willing to do anything to make him better, even for 6 months more.

At his first chemo appointment with the oncologist I met many other dogs going through the same thing. If you catch it at early stage, it's very, very responsive to a good chemo protocol and it's not uncommon to buy more than 12 months for your dog on the first go around. If you choose to do chemo for a second or third round it tends to become less effective.

Chemo involves an injection for the dog and weekly blood tests. This will take an hour per week at the vet clinic because it's all out-patient. My oncologist used the Madison-Wisconsin protocol which is considered the best chemo treatment. Dogs tolerate chemo very well. There are certain treatments that 'may' cause a bit of nausea but they can pretreat for nausea ahead of time to avoid this. Most people's experiences with chemo has been very positive and easy, especially if the dog is in good health before treatment.

Unfortunately mine was a worst case scenario, with leukemia being the compounding factor to wreck the responsiveness for my sweet Teddy. His bloodwork crashed a few days after his first treatment and he developed a raging fever and started going septic and collapsed. His bloodwork would no longer have been viable to continue the chemo. Unfortunately I had to help him to the rainbow bridge on a dark, stormy night that completely shattered my soul.

If I had caught it earlier... if only there had been some sign... that's all I keep saying to myself now.

So, please, if you can afford it, try to give chemo a chance. You will know if your dog is going to be responsive to it within the first 4 treatments anyway, so if he's not doing well on it, you always have the option of discontinuing treatment. The oncologist will give you his honest opinion and you can certainly see how he's faring on it. The total quote I received for completing full treatment was approx $6900, but you pay as you go... if you only do four treatments, it will be way less than that. I think it's worthwhile to just start and see how it goes. If your dog is improving, then you have a success story and you'll want to keep things going.

Several early stage lymphoma dog owners I spoke to said they saw the lumps shrink literally within the first 48 hours. One couple was there for their second protocol round but raved about the success they had with the first completed chemo protocol. The fact that they are there to try it all again definitely shows that the experiences tend to be more positive than negative.

I'm praying for Andy and for you as well. I'm so sorry you're having to go through this.
 

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Rudy's Lucky Dad
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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you all so much.

We'll be heading to the oncologist in 45 minutes.

I read Maggie's thread. Took awhile! 100's of pages LOL
 

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and now Mollie's mom too
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Wishing you the best for Andy, sorry you have to go through this.
 
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Rudy's Lucky Dad
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Discussion Starter #19
Off to the oncologist. We're hopeful as Andy has his usual hearty appetite and energy. The lumps in his neck are small and haven't grown larger since his surgery last week.

I'll report on the visit when I return. Thank you all so much for taking the time to post your kind thoughts.

:)
 
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