Dexter was a happy, healthy three year-old miniature Dachshund when he was brought in for an examination when the owners notice blood in his stool. At first it was assumed her had a colitis, a very common transient condition in dogs. But the bloody stool persisted and eventually a mass in his colon was detected on a digital rectal examination. We initially suspected a polyp and performed a surgery to remove a section of bowel with the mass and at the same time removed the lymph nodes which drained that area. Tissues were sent to the pathology lab and diagnosis of colonic lymphoma was given by the pathologist. Luckily the colon appeared to be the only area affected in his body.
Lymphoma is an all too common cancer in young to middle aged dogs, it is generally considered to be non-curable, systemic cancer affecting lymph node tissue in the body and while remissions are possible with chemotherapy, the overall prognosis is extremely poor. Dexter recovered quickly from the surgery and his owners were determined to give him the best chance and so they followed our recommendation to start chemotherapy. We chose a standard lymphoma chemotherapy program using four strong drugs. Dexter had side effects (vomiting and diarrhea) for only a few days during the entire year long course of chemotherapy. He rarely missed a meal or his walks or playtime with his brother.
Going through chemotherapy is like being on a long Greyhound bus ride with some bumps, stops and starts but few bad days…the journey seems endless at times, but it can be so rewarding for everyone involved. Six months after chemotherapy ended, during which time there we no outward signs of recurrence of the cancer, an abdominal ultrasound was performed and no evidence of recurrence in the colon or in the abdominal lymph nodes was found. Now a year later there are still no signs of recurrence and he is slated for a CT scan to give us the best method of being able examine the a abdominal organs to finally declare Dexter to be free of cancer.