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Enlarged lymph nodes on chemo.

Species: Dog
Breed: Golden Retreiver
Age: 8-11 years
My furry child was recently diagnosed Lymphoma, cells suggestive of T-cell. I do not know the stage because we started treatment immediately and I was also told that no matter the stage the treatment would be the same. She is receiving, I am told, the same protocol that the Oncologist Vets
use at UF, Vinblastine, Vincristine,Elspar (Asparaginase), Prednisone orally, Cyclophosphamide orally (alternated with the prednisone)and Doxorubicin. She received her 3rd trtmt last Wed (weekly chemo at the vet & oral meds at home) and has been doing great, but we never knew she was sick in the first place. She is eating, playing and the lymph nodes decreased in size. However, last night and today I have noticed her lymph nodes under her jaw and by her chest/shoulders (prescapular, I think) have enlarged. Does this mean the chemo isn't helping? Is this something that does occur during chemo that the lymphnodes increase & decrease in size? Could this mean she is more advanced or that the cancer is progressing faster seeing it is a T-cell? We love her very much and it breaks our hearts knowing this is not a cure. Thank you so much for your time and anything you can enlighten me on regarding what this could possibly mean would be greatly appreciated.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am sorry to hear that Lilo is fighting cancer. As you likely know, Golden Retrievers are more prone than other dogs to Lymphoma.

It sounds like you are receiving excellent oncology care. I agree that staging the cancer won't make much difference in how it is treated.

Unfortunately I am not pleased by the fact that she is getting lymph node enlargement. This may mean that the cancer is not responding to the chemotherapy. However, there may be more things that can be done. Your oncologist will likely try a change to a different type of protocol or change the dosage of one or more of the medications being used.

The best advice I can give you here is to put your trust in the vets who are looking after Lilo. Veterinary oncologists are amazing vets and if anyone knows how to best tackle this cancer it is these guys.

I think it would be a good idea to see if you can get Lilo in tomorrow. The vet can decide whether this is further lymph node enlargement and if so, they can determine whether more aggressive treatment is necessary.

I really hope she does ok!
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:

I was thinking along those same lines just couldn't wait for an answer til tomorrow. The not knowing is the worse part.

Thank you, thank you thank you for your time.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome. Feel free to post back if you have more questions.



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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.