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Hello,


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.
 

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Thanks for the update. I remember when he got diagnosed and I've wondered how he was doing. I am glad to hear he is doing so well.
 

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Kate, I think low red blood cell count is indicative that something is wrong - it's something we test for every 6 weeks. Since being on chemo Cosmo has been in 'normal' the entire time.
 

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Sorry I haven't come back more often to write more - Cosmo is still alive and doing well! I'm attaching some photos from recently. Remember, he only has one ear (he lost one to hemangio years ago!). He just had his 9th birthday!


Cosmo was diagnosed in January 18th and been on chem since June 2018. Since then his lymph nodes have almost returned to normal. His cancer is not gone but it is sitting pretty dormant. The side effects of the chemo are pretty minor: reduced immune system, thin coat, some nausea...


In January 2019 we noticed about 10 skin lesions, most of which appear to be plasmacytomas. It's quite a rare disease process and we're looking for signs of myeloma internally - so far so good. They don't bother him and we're not removing them at this point.



He has regular ultrasounds and that's looking good (except when we discovered a toy that he ate that was floating around!).


He has gone blind in his left eye - likely a combination of GR uveitis, cataracts and the cancer. His right eye is also affected but he still has some vision. I will post about this elsewhere.



Cosmo says hello! He has actually found his voice. He started to alarm bark when his vision started to go - only took 8 years!
 

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I'm glad to see the pictures of Cosmo. He looks like a happy guy, loving his life.
 

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Having lost my Oliver to cancer, this is a nice story to hear. We need more good news stories like Cosmo's. You mentioned he had hemangio years ago? How did you successfully treat it? Cosmo is a trooper!


Sorry I haven't come back more often to write more - Cosmo is still alive and doing well! I'm attaching some photos from recently. Remember, he only has one ear (he lost one to hemangio years ago!). He just had his 9th birthday!


Cosmo was diagnosed in January 18th and been on chem since June 2018. Since then his lymph nodes have almost returned to normal. His cancer is not gone but it is sitting pretty dormant. The side effects of the chemo are pretty minor: reduced immune system, thin coat, some nausea...


In January 2019 we noticed about 10 skin lesions, most of which appear to be plasmacytomas. It's quite a rare disease process and we're looking for signs of myeloma internally - so far so good. They don't bother him and we're not removing them at this point.



He has regular ultrasounds and that's looking good (except when we discovered a toy that he ate that was floating around!).


He has gone blind in his left eye - likely a combination of GR uveitis, cataracts and the cancer. His right eye is also affected but he still has some vision. I will post about this elsewhere.



Cosmo says hello! He has actually found his voice. He started to alarm bark when his vision started to go - only took 8 years!
 

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Having lost my Oliver to cancer, this is a nice story to hear. We need more good news stories like Cosmo's. You mentioned he had hemangio years ago? How did you successfully treat it? Cosmo is a trooper!
Cosmo had hemangio on the ear only. They’re removed his ear and got clean margins. It was there for about 3 years and never travelled further. We think this was because he was on a low dose of Pred for allergies. We were very lucky that the Pred might have saved him.
 

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Still Kickin’...

Cosmo is still alive! Still running and hiking and swimming and eating and we’ve even turned up our missing pet searches lately too.

He has continued on the same type and dosage of chemo to help keep his Lymphoma in remission - 2 pills of Leukeran/chlorambucil a day (his fave time of the day because pill pocket) - since June 2018. There continue to be no side effects other than, of course, a compromised immune system. He also is on 7.5mg of Pred every 48 hours. We believe chronic use of Pred has caused him to be somewhat of a compulsive scavenger outside so we use management, which can be a challenge because we’re in an urban space - it’s honestly how I think he will meet his end (not because of cancer!). We pay a dog walker take him into the mountains away from garbage twice a week :laugh: For his part I’m sure it’s all very delightful.

The plasmacytomas that showed up on his skin earlier this year have gone into remission as well - this is a rarely diagnosed condition so the Oncologist was surprised when she couldn’t find most of them anymore! His lymph nodes are down to almost normal size.

Earlier this year we discovered he has Golden Retriever uveitis (I believe there’s another thread somewhere about that) - not unusual in the Pacific Northwest :frown2:

He consequently lost his vision in his left eye and then quickly developed glaucoma in that eye too so they removed it in July :wink2: He is now #oneearedoneeyeddog since he lost his ear to hemangio a few years ago. He’s alright with one eye, although sometimes he bumps into things and his food/ball catching abilities are somewhat impeded by his lack of depth perception.

Then a couple of weeks ago we learned that his remaining eye may also be heading in the same direction - this was unexpected. The Oncologist feels it’s only a matter of time before he looses his vision in that eye. We’re working with the Opthalmologist to help him retain his vision for as long as possible.

His sire’s owner is a retired vet and has been connected with me as we’ve gone throughout this journey. I guess it’s important to figure out the genetic components of a dog with GR uveitis, 3 cancers and allergies. His sire, a Yogi baby, is still alive and doing well at almost 15!

I wanted to say a note about the hot button issue of the effects of neutering on cancer risk. As I’m sure people here know, the science is actually not clear that leaving a male Golden intact will make the chances of Hemangio or Lymphoma higher - the opposite argument could be made. Mostly, the jury is still out and given his strong structure I would probably choose to neuter at a year again.

It’s complicated and epigenetics play a part in this equations I’m sure - Cosmo and I went through significant trauma together and we both suffer the physical and psychological consequences of that too. My work is actually now focused on the intersection between animal, spousal and child abuse - I’m an Anthrozoologist.

3 cancers, one ear and one eye - but he’s a happy boy. And he looks like a pirate! The girls like it :grin2:

PS: I want to acknowledge that being able to do this treatment with a dog comes as a result of a level of privilege that not everyone has. A lot of people don’t want to ask this but want to know; in terms of cost I would say that between eye removal, ear removal, meds, diagnostics and specialist veterinarians we have so far paid about $9000 Canadian ($6800 US) - Vancouver is very expensive so in the US this may have been lower.

Much love from me and Cosmo.
 

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Don
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He is a handsome boy and a true warrior

Thank you for doing what's right by him no matter the cost in money. I've seen so many dogs at the shelters I worked abandoned because of illnesses and cancers like this and I have a deep appreciation for loving hearts like yours,thank you.
 

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I'm so happy Cosmo is still with you and happy! He's such a handsome boy. I'm sorry about his other eye and will say a prayer for Cosmo. I'm thinking as long as he has you, he will remain joyful regardless. Hiking, swimming and eating is a wonderful life.

I lost my beautiful Golden on August 28 after a four month battle with aggressive cancer. I too thought of being able to afford the treatment and felt for anyone who isn't able to do the same for their dog(s). I think between a three day stay at the regular vet, surgery, an emergency vet visit for a few days due to an infection, and the chemo and other meds, we spent about $15,000. We'd spend it again to have more time with Luke. He had a very good four months -- at least 3.5 of it swimming, walking, eating and getting lots of hugs and kisses. ?

Your job sounds very interesting.
 

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Kristy
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Thank you for the updates and photos, it is a joy to see how you have embraced life and are ensuring he lives each day to the fullest. I admire your spirit so much, not mourning to the point of misery before he's even gone ( I have struggled with that in the past myself). Please continue to update if you will. This kind of information can have such a long reaching affect, helping others in the future. Praying for that eye to hang in there as long as possible with some sight and for more high quality days.

Have you entered the Uveitis and info on his K9data page? I think this is important for the search for answers on the genetic links to these issues. Knowledge is power.

Thinking of you and your very handsome boy.
 

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You give a lot of inspiration to people when a diagnosis seems (at first) devastating. We do best for them when we take each thing at a time, do what seems best, and have a positive outlook.

My Chance had a devastating prognosis at 9 months old and lived a full life to almost (2 weeks shy of) 14 years old.
I got much of my inspiration from Chance's sunny golden outlook on life.

It seems like Cosmo radiates joy and you are so lucky to have each other.
 
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