Posted By: Ellen - Vet

January Pet of the Month: Roxy

As our dogs get older unfortunately we accept they may develop more health problems. Roxy is one such patient. She is a lovely 12 year old Doberman who came to see us almost a year ago now. She is generally a very fit and well girl who looked great for her age. Her owners bought her in when they noticed she was drinking more and generally a bit off colour. One of our vets, Sarah, examined Roxy and found that all of her lymph nodes (glands) were enlarged. This can be a sign of serious diseases such as lymphoma (a type of blood cell cancer). A blood sample was taken and some samples from the enlarged glands. Sadly for Roxy these confirmed that she did have lymphoma.

The next stage of our investigation was working out whether the lymphoma had spread, and if it had then where to. X-rays were taken of her chest, and ultrasound scans were performed of her abdomen and heart. Thankfully these did not show any signs of disease. After lots of discussion about options and the possible outcomes, it was decided that Roxy was a good candidate for chemotherapy. This would mean coming in for initially weekly treatments. Sometimes these were injections of medications into her vein either as a single injection, or over a few hours and other times they were tablets. She needed blood tests before each treatment was given to check that her immune system had not been suppressed. Roxy tolerated the chemotherapy very well for the most part. She was an excellent patient here and we all looked forward to her visits. A couple of doses had to be delayed as her immune system took a little longer to recover than expected. One of the drugs gave her some nasty vomiting and diarrhoea but between us and mostly her owners she was carefully nursed through these episodes. After only a few treatments her glands had returned to a much more normal size and she was much brighter. The initial course was 9 weeks worth of treatment, after which Roxy had a 2 week rest period before starting the second course.

She started the second course a little late as her immune system needed longer to bounce back and recover from the previous course. She had a few more delays in this course too. At her appointment before her final chemotherapy treatment we saw that she was losing quite a lot of weight and urinating very frequently. More blood tests were performed which showed that her kidneys were not functioning quite as well as hoped. It appeared, after scans, that she had developed chronic kidney disease. This is something that is not uncommon in older patients. We took the decision to stop her chemotherapy course early as she currently appears to be in remission. We have been nursing her through her kidney problems, and have put her onto a special diet and medication to help support the kidneys. We are so happy to see her now having put some of the weight back on, making positive progress and still in remission from the lymphoma. She’s looking very happy and still remarkably well given her 13th birthday is coming up very soon! She has been a pleasure to treat and care for and we hope her positive response carries on. 

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