I have saved the emails from Debra that chronicle the treatment of her dog Buddy for lymphosarcoma in the hope that it will be of some benefit to others who are considering this treatment or are currently going through it. Here's a picture of Buddy.

Hi Ronda,

I just found out this past week that my dog Buddy, white GS male, was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma. He has not yet been staged.

I was wondering, since you are a breeder, if you have had any favorable experience with treatments, both holistically and with chemo. We have an appointment tomorrow, Monday, with a veterinary oncologist. We sure love this dog and he has the best, most loving, personality and temperament. Are you aware of any other offspring that may have been diagnosed? Currently, Buddy is not showing signs of illness except the enlarged glands in his neck that I can surely feel. I am hoping this will put him in the "a" category.

I wanted to also let you know in case you and John Peck are tracking any of this information, or send to a WGS association for compilation of statistics. I do not have an email address for John in Indiana where I picked Buddy up.

I am also looking for advise if you have any, or specific questions that I can ask the oncologist.

I had contacted you a couple years ago asking about tummy issues. Buddy does not have the enzyme deficiency that you said 4 of Jermeo's offspring had, but we had found that his tummy is fine with the Select Care Canine Sensitive Formula.

Thank you in advance for any guidance or insight you can provide me with.

Debra


1/17/06 He just had his first chemo last night. His is stage IIIa. We have not got the cell type back yet B or T and it will take about a week. Yes, we have already been looking a lot on the web for this condition. We have to be careful because of his sensitive tummy.


2/24/06

Buddy is on the University of Wisconsin-Madison protocol. Buddy is B cell lymphoma-stage IIIa. (B cell responds better and "a" is better)

He started chemo on 1/16/06 and has currently had 4 weeks on, one week off for CBC (white cells were a bit low so we had him on antibiotics) and just finished week 6.

He will have weekly treatments to week 9, then we will go every other week, with a week off in between, until we reach week 25.

After his 25 week course, we will need to take him to the vet every 4 weeks for a check up. We have his treatments at the VCA in Aurora, IL.

Buddy seems to be handling the chemo fairly well. He has not vomited, but I think his tummy may be a bit off at times. 2 of the drugs give him diarrhea, but we can handle that. The one called Adriamycin seems to be the toughest/strongest one. I have kept track of what he is experiencing so I can make rice on those times to add to food.

I had Buddy also meet with a vet who practices integrative medicine. I don't want to just blast him with the chemo drugs, but want to treat the whole dog and get him stronger. He can't have antioxidants while on chemo so I want to supplement him safely for his course. Once he is off the chemo, well, that will be another story.

I read a bunch to learn that cancer likes carbohydrates, so he is on a low carbohydrate diet. High fat is good, but I have to be careful because of his tummy issues. We are shooting for 50% protein (chicken/tofu) and 50% non-starch vegetables.

Given his sensitive stomach and the fact that we were on a prescription food for him, we have been making slow changes. Part of the supplements he now receives are to help protect his GI track and also to protect and detoxify his liver. Currently with each meal, he gets a cup of his RX food and about 1/2-2/3 cups each of boiled chicken with skin and equal amount of cooked vegetables. I also add King Oscar sardines in spring water (lowest salt variety out there) and fish oil capsules. I also give him some tofu and cottage cheese at times in his food. At dinner, he now gets a pet tab. Buddy has not lost weight and has been staying at about 117-118 pounds.

I think taking an integrated approach will give Buddy the best chance of staying in remission and getting stronger for the longest time. Fortunately, I only work 4 days a week so I can take him to his appointments weekly and spend time with him on the day he has his treatments.

He is the best, sweetest dog there is. He is like Velcro to me. After the initial shock and crying wore off, I am able to be more positive about this and the future outcome. I am hoping that with the changes to diet, etc., that he can have a full life. I am not sure what the average life span is for WGS though. I did email the WSG the information in the link that was provided to me by Rhonda, but I did not hear anything back so I assume they received the information.

I would definitely get another WGS, but not at this time since we need to devote our attention to Buddy.

I will keep you posted on further developments down the line if you wish so you can pass on to others who may be experiencing the same issues with their pets.

Sincerely,

Debra


3/01/06

I tell others at the animal hospital about the diet end of things as well so they have a better chance of treating the '"whole" dog. I love pets and I think it is best to pass any and all information on...especially if it is positive.

My husband sent me a link concerning "Halley's story" and that dog was in remission for 4 times for a total of about 4 years. They thought she passed for other causes. This is the light at the end of my tunnel since it is a favorable outcome for the longer term.


3/20/06 

I brought Buddy in to his regular vet for a check on his white blood cells and am happy to report he is in the middle of the normal range. The last time Buddy received a chemo treatment with Adriamycin his count was low. The vet who is administering the chemo lowered the amount this time. Buddy has been bouncing around a 3 pound range over the past 10 weeks and I am happy to report that he gained a pound this week :-) and he weighs 116. Buddy has been between 118-115.

The local vet is the one who diagnosed him and said he appears to be tolerating the chemo well and is looking great!

I am still reducing the old RX food to 1/2 cup with each meal, but he is about on target with the 50% protein (chicken with skin and tofu) and 50% non-starch vegetables. I am still giving him some support for his system and a pet tab each day.

If you didn't see the parts of his front legs where he is shaved for the IV's you would never know he was ill. He is still my same Buddy and with the nice weather, I have been picking up my mom and the 3 of us have been taking walks.

Buddy is now at the point where he will only receive chemo every other week (until we hit week 25). He had 4 weeks with chemo, one week off, 4 more weeks and we were off today. If we weren't doing the chemo, Buddy would not be here today.

I want to thank you all again for your thoughts and prayers. We are very grateful; I am sure this is also helping with his treatments.

Buddy's mom, Deb


6/05/06

Yippee.....2 more chemo's left!!!!

It has been a long haul since January, but other than some oopsies here and there, Buddy is doing well. We got stuck in traffic on the way home today and he tinkled in the back of the car. Today's treatment is one where we try to get him to drink and pee often. He has diuretics to take so the chemo doesn't stay in his kidneys or bladder too long. I get up once or twice during the night for 2 nights to get him to tinkle. Oopsies happen now and then, it just makes Buddy feel bad, but "it" happens :)

He started off at 119 pounds and is down to 111. The doctor is not concerned because he said he can feel his ribs and some body fat (not too thin or too fat). He said he has good muscle tone also. Some of the weight loss is because since the weather is better, I am taking him for more walks and changed his diet to a "South Beach" type diet. Jim feeds him more when I am not around which may explain why he didn't lose any weight since the last visit. I put on the weight that he lost and then a couple more.

We go every other week for treatment and the last one is for July 5th; this is the tough drug for the last one.....I have an appointment set up with the other animal hospital to meet with the Director of Integrated Medicine on July 7th so we can add antioxidants, and whatever we can to boost his immunity. She is the one who had me change his diet and prescribed things to help him during his chemo. (That is her only appointment. It is difficult to get good hours, so I am off this week.)

We all will be glad when this is over. He will need to go back for checkups every 4 weeks for the rest of his life. We hope and pray for a long remission!!!

Thanks for all your wishes and prayers.

Buddy Zafiratos


6/19/06

I am so glad this is almost done....I have to take him to get a fasting blood test, probably next Monday. Buddy lost another 2 pounds (down to 109 from 119). The oncologist wants to check his pancreatic enzymes. Buddy's dad had 4 offspring with pancreatic enzyme deficiency. I had him checked years ago, but perhaps with all he is going through..........or maybe years ago he was borderline??? Anyway, if this is the case, he will be on hormones.....hey, it is not the worst that has happened to him, right?

All things being constant in the universe, if I lose some of the weight I put on, he may gain it??? Seems to be working the other way around, maybe I will give it a try :-)


7/06/06

We had to delay his last chemo due to tummy issues, but we finally made it through the long 25 week protocol. Because of his tummy issues, he got another abdominal ultrasound, so he got another tummy shave. The fur just filled back in nicely from January. No tummy issues showed up on the ultrasound; with that being okay, his last chemo was done today.

Buddy has his appointment with the Director of Integrative Medicine in Downers Grove tomorrow so we can see how we can now better support and enhance his immune system and address tummy issues. I think this doctor helped to minimize any potential problems Buddy may have encountered during his treatments with the change of diet and some supplementation.

He will need to go back to the oncologist every 4 weeks for the rest of his life, but if we can help it with diet, supplements, love and support of friends and family through prayers, I think we will have a long remission. If he comes out of remission, we will need to address this quickly since this is a quick killer, but I don't think this will happen :-)

It has been a long journey so far and I wish to thank you all for your support and prayers that you have given to us. I have learned much through this process and have tried to knowledge share as much as possible. We have made many new friends at the animal hospital; we appreciate the support and will keep in touch and pray for your fur-babies as well.

Sincerely,

Deb, and Buddy


7/09/06

Buddy finished his last chemo on Thursday from the U of W Madison protocol. We had to delay a day because of some GI issues. I had he rechecked for pancreatic insufficiency and he was in the normal range. We also did another abdominal ultrasound and all seemed normal. I think taking him to another vet who practiced integrative medicine after his first chemo seemed to help keep him in pretty good shape during this protocol. We met again with the integrative vet on Friday and he also received acupuncture for his GI issues and we are adding some additional supplements to his diet. I had changed his diet to help him as well; I think I told you this before. I think if any other pups have this, an integrative approach would be most helpful. I would also strongly recommend that the pet owners purchase pet insurance, I wish I had, but I need to do this regardless. In the beginning, it was quite frightening, but seeing him manage through the treatments, I would tell other owners who could manage this, to do it.

I thought I would give you an update since "Romeo" is his dad.

Glad this part is over :-)

Deb and Buddy


Hi Deb & Buddy:
Thanks for all the progress reports on Buddy's treatment. I am saving them for anyone else who may have to make this decision to attempt treatments. If it's OK, can I refer them to you for advice?  Thanks!

Ronda:
Sure, just tell them to state in the subject matter that it is about their dog with lymphoma. I get a lot of garbage and delete any I don't recognize without opening. I am not a vet, but I can mention what we did for Buddy.


8/17/06

Buddy has had his 2nd acupuncture on the 15th for his gastro-intestinal issues with the Integrative Medicine Vet.

He has gained 3 pounds back since his last chemo on July 6th. With the change of diet and the supplements we have added both during and after his treatments, I feel he has done extremely well and we are hoping for a very long remission!!! We will continue to have him monitored for the rest of his life to keep check on his lymph nodes and overall health with his oncologist at the VCA Aurora and periodically at the Arboretum View Animal Hospital in Downers Grove for his GI issues.

As you know, Buddy gets better care than most people :-) Heck, he eats better than I do with his mostly home cooked meals. I am thinking that maybe I should eat the same thing.....

Thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts for us. If you know anyone in a similar situation, I will be more than happy to pass on what I have learned about lymphoma to date.

Deb, Jim & Buddy


11/09/06

I just wanted to tell you that Buddy has been doing well so far. His last chemo was 7/6/06 and has been having good check ups. I probably told you before he is on mostly home cooked food since he has tummy issues. To look at him, you would never know he was ill. Still praying for a long remission and he is getting more spoiled. :-)


12/12/06

We met Buddy's new oncologist today, his other one will be moving out of state :(. His new oncologist seems very nice and knowledgeable, and went over the different scenarios that may eventually happen and what to watch for as far as behavior changes, etc.; just a reminder of sorts...............she also knows his other oncologist.

We continue to give him mostly homemade, low-carb, meals (weekly) and see a vet for monthly acupuncture for his GI issues and nutritional advise along with a bunch of supplements and a lot of love. He has to be the most spoiled dog, or close to it :)

On a positive note, January will be a year for Buddy since his first diagnosis of lymphoma and 80% make it to a year for first remission and that is why we have been having monthly appointments; we would need to act fast if he came out of remission. Once he makes his one year mark, he only will need to be checked every 3 months instead of monthly. The oncologist is not worried since he gets checked out before acupuncture anyway. I would feel better with every 2 months for now. She said that Buddy is in EXCELLENT shape and is at an ideal weight, heart and lungs sound good, etc.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season.

Deb, Jim and Buddy


1/09/07

Buddy just had his check up today again on his 1 year anniversary from diagnosis of lymphoma.

I thought I felt some slight enlargement on his lymph glands in the neck but was hoping that I was being paranoid because the 1 year mark was approaching. I had been feeling very tense the last couple weeks so I guess my feeling may be correct....he had some lymph gland enlargement in other areas and a sample was drawn from the enlarged gland behind the knee. We should get results in about 48 hours.

Needless to say, I am trying to stay positive because he has done well this past year, but if he is indeed coming out of remission, I guess we will go with round 2 on chemo. I have read where dogs have had multiple treatments and still had good quality of life. Quality of life is what matters most for our furry friends.

Please continue to keep Buddy in your thoughts.

Thanks,

Deb


1/10/07

I received a call from the vet's office today to let us have the good news first, his blood work looks good, but his cancer is back. I thought I would have to wait another day for the results.

We will be following the same protocol as last time (25 week program) with chemo. We will do okay this time because we know what side effects to look for, it is just a shame he didn't stay in remission longer. He looks great, eats fine and wants to play, so there has been no other changes besides the swelling of his lymph nodes. He has been his normal mush-baby self.

I remember last year praying to have him one more year and the year went fast, I should have asked for 5 more years. He has had a good year and I think we will have another great one as well when we get past round 2 of the chemo treatments.

Thanks for keeping Buddy in your thoughts and pet prayers.


6/09/07

Buddy has two more chemo's left. His previous chemo, we had his dosage reduced by about 10% because of the Vincristine one did a number on his GI about 7-10 after. He needed some fluid therapy and then a shot for the nausea; another reason why we also dose reduced. I am thinking that we will probably reduce his dose on his next treatment next week (Vincristine). He has bounced back, but it seems that round 2 of the U of Wisc. protocol has made is appetite less than it used to be. We sometimes add some cooked chicken liver on top of his food to entice him.

We had him checked for neuropathy on the last visit prior to acupuncture. He has some peripheral neuropathy going in, not bad though. I was told this is not uncommon in German Shepherds and it could also be a possible side effect of the Vincristine. If it is the Vincristine, he should show improvement in 1-2 months after his last chemo with it.

All in all, so far, so good and we are staying hopefully optimistic. He has had 2 birthdays that he wouldn't have had if we didn't pursue treatments since his diagnosis in January 2006. Once he has had his last chemo, we can add more supplementation to him.

Thanks for sharing this information, I hope it helps others as well. I know that when I read a story on the internet, it gave me hope and I hope these chronicles of Buddy may give the same hope. There is quality of life for the dogs.

Debra

 

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