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Spinal cord lymphoma

Species: Dog
Breed: Border Collie mix
Age: 1-2 years
Hello Dr. Marie,
Our angel puppy Oreo passed away last night. We decided to move forward with euthanization because we could not watch her suffer.
In a matter of 2 days, she went from being a complete maniac to paralyzed except for her tail and neck/head. The vet did a spinal tap and recommended we do not treat her with chemo and stated she might not make it through the night, we felt rushed.
She was a such peace when we visited her last, we decided to put her to sleep while we were holding her and kissing her instead of alone in a cage during the night.

Being so young, and money was not an issue, we are fighting with ourselves that we should have given her a shot with chemotherapy despite the vet's advice. Based on how quickly she became paralyzed and that the lymphoma was everywhere in her spine, did we do the right thing for her? Looking beyond our emotional tie with her, scientifically did she have a chance for some more fun with us?

Struggling for clarity,
Brandon


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of Oreo. Cancer is difficult at any time, but especially hard in such a young animal.

While some dogs with lymphoma can be treated successfully with chemotherapy, dogs with lymphoma usually can't be treated with success. There are two reasons for this.

The first reason is that the chemotherapy drugs that we use to treat lymphoma don't penetrate into the spinal cord well. The blood brain barrier stops a lot of drugs, including most chemotherapies from penetrating well into the spinal fluid.

The second is that once there has been damage to the spinal tissue, this damage is not reversible. This means that even if we found a chemotherapy that successfully got into the spinal cord, the damage to nerves in the spinal cord would be permanent and Oreo would never be able to walk again.

I know this was a hard decision but it sounds like you did the right thing.

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Dr. Marie.




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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you so much...my wife and I have been crying all day over the decision, we are so crushed...your response brought peace to us and I am so glad we reached out to you...thank you so much, I can't describe how much your answer will impact our lives, especially during this painful grieving...


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're so welcome Brandon. I pray that your grieving period is short. It sounds like Oreo was very well loved for her short life.

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.