Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

A Sad Day – My Dog Has Lymphoma

by Kristen Suzanne in cancer

As many of you know, animals are an enormous part of my life. I’ve taken in many strays over the years, adopted animals, donated to animal shelters and such, and my reason for being vegan is… for the animals. I love animals. And… I love my dog so very very much.

It’s with a heavy heart that I write today… we found out he has lymphoma. (Many of you heard this from me yesterday via facebook and I thank you all for your heart felt wishes.)

He’s about 10 years old and he’s just the best dog ever. He’s been with me through many trying times in my life, always my therapy… there to lift my spirits when I didn’t think they could be lifted. He’s my buddy.

Zeus and I at the Mogollon Rim a few years ago. We want to take him
back there once he’s feeling better. We also want to take him to the beach,
which he loves! A little road trip to CA is in order… as soon as he’s feeling
better. Maybe in a couple months.

I have learned that lymphoma is treatable to a degree and we can prolong his life. I’m happy about that. It’s just so hard to see him the way he is today… tired, not eating, sick. Apparently, with treatment he can have a nice quality of life for maybe another 1-2 years. Without treatment, they give him 1-2 months. That information is based on general outcomes, not specific to him yet. We’re waiting on blood test results. Today, he is visiting an oncologist to start chemotherapy. This vet also does acupuncture and combines treatments with some holistic therapies. (Wish us luck!)

This was taken last week. :)

I’ve been asked many times about his diet. I can’t help but question my choices I made for him. Throughout his life he’s had a mixed diet. For the past 5-7 years, it’s always been organic (except for the drive-through foods we’ve given him). He has eaten vegetarian, vegan, and carnivorous (sometimes raw, grass fed meats, and sometimes cooked grass fed meats). Feeding our dog meat has always been a battle in my head because I don’t want to support slaughtering (although, as I wrote, I would always buy him meat from Whole Foods – not sure how “bad” that is in terms of slaughter houses – I suspect almost as bad). But. I also don’t want to feed him a diet that isn’t natural to him. That being said, many vets support a vegan diet for dogs if that is what the owner wants. Therefore, I tried to keep it balanced – sometimes vegan – sometimes not.

Now that I’m researching cancer and dogs, I keep seeing two big words: NO GRAINS. Crap. He’s had a fair share of grains in his life. Sure, he didn’t always have cancer, so maybe the grains weren’t so terrible back then. But, now… grains are apparently a no-no. Without having spoken to the oncologist yet, I went to a natural pet food store yesterday and bought a variety of raw meat / veggie mixtures. I also bought an omega oil (combo of hemp oil and sardine oil). I’m interested in getting him some E3-Live, too. Maybe using a syringe to get it down if he doesn’t like it on his food.

So… he’s off to the vet right now with Greg while I stay home with Kamea. The vet has an office that she’s in today which happens to be a long ways away (maybe over an hour). I won’t know anything more for a few hours…

UPDATE: They just called me from the vet. It’s estimated that he’s stage 3 with hypercalcemia lymphoma. He’s starting treatment today with chemotherapy, and if he responds well, we might be blessed with another year. If he doesn’t do well… it could be weeks or months (I don’t even like thinking about that!). For his diet, she said to give him a higher protein diet and a small amount of whole grains is ok. He can have meat (raw or cooked), veggies (stay away from too many carrots or potatoes), and some tofu will be fine.

We are fighters! I’m going to add omegas, E3 Live, and maybe wheat grass if he’ll tolerate it. We will do everything we can. I’m currently reading the free pdf ebook, The Dog Cancer Diet and reading this (recommended by a trusted friend, thank you), The Nature of Animal Healing.

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