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Intestinal lymphoma.

Species: Dog
Breed: Jack Russell & Pug m
Age: 5-8 years
Hello Dr. Marie
Our Jack Russell/Pug mixed breed dog Charlie is 6 yrs old and has an internal large tumor in the inguinal region and another smaller one near the spine. Charlie has never been sick before now. Blood work confirms the cancer (lymphoma) has spread and there's no hope. Problem is his large intestine is getting compressed and he can't relieve himself. Charlie's vet only suggested more fiber, red pumpkin and olive oil in his diet which we do give him. He doesn't appear to be in any pain but seems extremely uncomfortable and I'm really concerned. His appetite is healthy and he's eager to eat and play but just very uncomfortable. Please tell me what to give him to have a bowel movement - it's been 2 days now ... PLEASE HELP improve the quality of his short life left! THANK YOU
PS: will send his xrays shortly

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi...I am so sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

It sounds like Charlie is very uncomfortable and this situation is quite difficult. I can see on the lateral (side view) xray that the tumor is definitely compressing his intestines. While there are some things that can possibly help him to pass stool along eventually we will probably get to the point where these things are not working.

I can't legally tell you what to give Charlie without him being a patient of mine but I can give you a few things that you can ask your vet about.

You may ask about a food called Eukanuba low residue. It is a prescription food so your vet would need to order it. This food causes the dog to produce less waste and therefore have smaller stools.

Another thing that you can ask your vet about is giving Charlie lactulose. This is a stool softener that may help to soften the stool to make it easier to pass.

In some cases, fiber can be good for a situation like this. But in other cases the fiber can actually make the stools larger and more difficult to pass. You may want to experiment with whether or not fiber is helping Charlie.

If he hasn't produced a bowel movement by now you may need to go back to see your vet. They may consider an enema. However, I'm not sure if this will help if the tumor is compressing the intestines even more.

They might also want to take another xray to see if the tumor has grown to the point where it is fully compressing the intestines. If this is the case then it might be time to make some hard decisions.

As a temporary help, you could ask your vet about whether it would be good to put Charlie on some prednisone. A steroid will help to shrink down tumors caused by lymphoma but it generally will only work for a few weeks.

I wish I had better news for you.

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. 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:

Hello Dr Marie
Thank you for your time and response. Your advice is pretty much what Charlie's vet told us. After an enema yesterday (which didn't really help), we've started him on the prednisone to reduce the size of the tumor and also the lactulose to soften the stool. Now, all we can do is watch and pray that the combination of these medications will relieve the constriction enough to enable Charlie to pass a stool and improve the quality of his short time left with us. If however, we see no results, we will take another xray to assess the situation and maybe order the Eukanuba or ... all else failing, will have to make the hard decision - for Charlie's sake.
Appreciate your advice Dr Marie, wish there were more caring and knowledgeable veterinarians like you that could help people in their times of crisis.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Aw, I'm sorry to hear that he didn't improve after the enema. I wish there was more that could be done for poor Charlie. :(

Customer reply:

Thanx again Dr. Marie - You're the best! Will keep you posted on Charlie's progress.
It's really comforting to know that we're doing the very best we can for Charlie and we'll just enjoy his remaining time with us.

Customer reply:

August 15, 2013
Sadly yesterday, we made the very difficult decision to let Charlie go ... to a better happier place, one free from pain and suffering. We know we did our very best to keep him safe, happy and loved till the very end but alas, his time had come and we just had to say Good-bye.

We love you darling Charlie - hope you're happy in Heaven. Rest in Peace Little One and God Bless You for the Love, Joy & Happiness that you brought into our lives during your short life. We miss you Charlie and will never forget you!

Thank you once again Dr. Marie for your caring advice.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Awww. So sorry to hear this. It sounds like you did everything you could and that Charlie had a really great life.

It really sounds like you made the right decision.

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.