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New member here. I wish I'd found this forum years ago! I see that there are a lot of owners who have experienced cancer with their pups, so I'm hoping someone can give us some advice or let us know their experiences.



Monday we noticed what we thought were very swollen lymph nodes on Miller, our 4.5 year old golden retriever. They were fine that morning, and my wife just noticed them after feeding him. He didn't finish his food, which is not like him. He seemed a bit lethargic during the day as well. I'm concerned because this appears to be a pretty fast onset. He hasn't shown any signs of a behavior change during the last few weeks, and no other health problems. As goldens are susceptible cancer, specifically lymphoma, we were very concerned. A quick Google search has brought up an allergic reaction, localized infection, or a leaky salivary gland as other possible causes.


So, after a visit to the vet Tuesday morning, we're pretty stumped. The vet doesn't think it is his lymph nodes or salivary glands which are swollen, which is odd. He did a CBC which showed an elevated WBC of 25.74 K/uL, elevated neutrophils at 16.8 K/uL, and an extremely high monocyte count of 6.55 K/ul. No fever. X-ray was clear. The vet thinks it may be a retropharyngeal abscess, and sent out for a cytology referral. The results came back inconclusive, so they are having a specialist look at the samples, the results of which we are hoping to get back this afternoon or tomorrow. He isn't ruling out blastomycosis, but we are waiting for the other test results before going that route, because Miller doesn't have a cough or fever, and isn't presenting with other major symptoms at this point.


The good news is that, after not eating supper on Monday and hardly eating anything on Tuesday, he ate about a half cup on Wednesday morning and then two cups in the evening. And ate 1.5 cups this morning. We're taking that as a good sign! The swelling hasn't gone down, although it does feel like more of a mass than enlarged glands. Also, the skin between the two masses along the front of his neck is sagging and swollen a bit. At first I thought it could be a liquid pooling up there, and that it could be a symptom of salivary mucocele, but the vet did not think that was the issue. Miller was given a dexamethasone injection, 2mg/ml, a 100 mg/ml injection of baytril, and 2 days worth of baytril chewable pills to be given twice daily.


Any thoughts? I've looked up the CBC results, but haven't been able to find anything. Blastomycosis and lymphoma are my biggest concerns at this point, and it's so frustrating that we don't know what the issue is. It sucks seeing him so down and obviously not feeling well. He finally ate a little bit this morning, but it seemed like a chore for him. Really hoping this is a simple infection or easily treatable condition.


Anyways, any opinions or experience on this would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I know how scary this is. I just went through it with my Rookie. The only symptom he had was swollen lymph nodes. In his case, it did turn out to be Lymphoma. Which absolutely sucks, but fortunately it's the slow growing kind and the veterinary oncologist said the typical survival length for dogs with this type of lymphoma is 2-4 years and no chemo was needed. After the initial fear of losing him quickly that diagnosis feels like a reprieve.

I apologize if I'm suggesting the obvious, but did you or the vet do a careful check of his mouth? Look for splinters in the roof of his mouth, gums, etc.

I'm so sorry your Miller isn't feeling well. He's a beauty.
 
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I know how scary this is. I just went through it with my Rookie. The only symptom he had was swollen lymph nodes. In his case, it did turn out to be Lymphoma. Which absolutely sucks, but fortunately it's the slow growing kind and the veterinary oncologist said the typical survival length for dogs with this type of lymphoma is 2-4 years and no chemo was needed. After the initial fear of losing him quickly that diagnosis feels like a reprieve.

I apologize if I'm suggesting the obvious, but did you or the vet do a careful check of his mouth? Look for splinters in the roof of his mouth, gums, etc.

I'm so sorry your Miller isn't feeling well. He's a beauty.
Thank you for the kind words. We really appreciate it.

What would splinters on the roof of his mouth indicate? I'm sorry if it's an obvious symptom, but I've never gone through this before. We haven't heard back from the Cytology referral yet so we're still waiting, and it's killing us.
 

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What would splinters on the roof of his mouth indicate?
Just the possibility of an infection in his mouth that would cause the lymph nodes to be swollen.

I know how hard it is to wait. I got the initial diagnosis of lymphoma from my own vet and was afraid Rookie would be gone by Christmas. I found myself crying all the time. I broke down and sobbed after the initial diagnosis, but after that I just found myself tearing up all the time whenever I thought about it. I spoiled him rotten with lots of treats, let him come up and sleep on the bed with me, and kept telling him that he needed to stay with me.

The oncologist we saw was great. She even emailed me on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to let me know the diagnosis when she got the test results back early. The news that he has a slow-growing type of lymphoma felt like a gift by that point. He's 6 1/2 and if I'm lucky enough to get another 2-4 years with him it will still be too early, but I guess it will at least be less out of the blue.

Try not to let the Internet research make you crazy while you're waiting. I looked up lots of information about lymphoma but didn't know that this slow-growing lymphoma even existed. So I guess I'd say just hang in there and try not to anticipate problems until you're actually confronted with them. (It's good advice that others gave me, but I sure had a tough time following it myself!)
 

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So sorry that you're going through this worry with your beautiful boy. The waiting is awful. I really hope that it's something simple and treatable. Please keep us posted, we're thinking of you!
 

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I'm keeping my fingers crossed it's just an infection. The high white blood cell count would seem to lean towards infection.

Try not to let the Internet research make you crazy while you're waiting. I looked up lots of information about lymphoma but didn't know that this slow-growing lymphoma even existed. So I guess I'd say just hang in there and try not to anticipate problems until you're actually confronted with them.
Good advice. Try to heed it if you can :)

I'll check back :)
 

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Try not to let the Internet research make you crazy while you're waiting. I looked up lots of information about lymphoma but didn't know that this slow-growing lymphoma even existed. So I guess I'd say just hang in there and try not to anticipate problems until you're actually confronted with them. (It's good advice that others gave me, but I sure had a tough time following it myself!)
I'm doing everything I can to stop scouring the internet for symptoms, causes, cures, etc etc etc. We should be getting the cytology report back this afternoon, so until then I'm not going anywhere near google.
 

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Thinking of you, I know how hard the "wait" is. My boy was just diagnosed with lymphoma on Monday and started chemo this week (responding very well to treatment and he is in good spirits). Overall, My maverick's symptoms sounded different than what you are going through and I truly hope you get great news today. Lots of good advice from the members here, including the internet comment....I drove myself crazy for 3 days and am still trying to control the urge day by day!
 

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Cytology report still inconclusive! The vet called my wife in to aspirate the swelling again. Not know frustrating that we don't have answers, but when she called to tell me they asked her to bring him in, she told me that they charged he for the same exact test they already had done. This whole thingsucks oon so many levels. But they told us we should know something on Tuesday. So it will either be a great Christmas present, or...not.
 

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I am so sorry you're going through this. The waiting is so hard as your mind goes bananas. I'm praying for Miller in hopes you get a really good Christmas gift. Extra hugs for Miller!
 

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Maverick's Mom
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So sorry to hear the news. As mentioned, my husband and I found ourselves in your shoes a week ago today so know exactly how you are feeling....like many of the GRF members who have been through it. I do not wish it on anyone, heartbreaking. I am just starting down this road with Maverick but am trying to take the advice to enjoy every moment we have together.
 

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So sorry to hear the news. As mentioned, my husband and I found ourselves in your shoes a week ago today so know exactly how you are feeling....like many of the GRF members who have been through it. I do not wish it on anyone, heartbreaking. I am just starting down this road with Maverick but am trying to take the advice to enjoy every moment we have together.
What costs are you seeing? What treatment is your pup on? We just started looking into options and are researching WI-25 and other treatments, but at this point we feel completely lost.
 

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So sorry for the bad news....do your very best for both of you
Thank you. Really appreciate it. We've been crying a bit and giving him a lot of love. Our mastiff has been following him around for a few days and lays down with him all the time. He got a steak tonight. Looked so happy. This sucks.
 
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