Fostering a Dog With Lymphoma

Hi everyone!
Working two jobs and going to school makes it very difficult to keep up with my writing and I am sorry! School is out for break now and I have something I want to share with you all…

My husband and I recently took in a foster dog named Blue who was extremely ill and not able to be cared for. My friend and I worked together to get him into a better situation and I could not have done it without her. The plan was to keep him for a bit, see if we could get him healthy, and find a great new home for him. I was determined to stay strong and I knew my husband wouldn’t budge if I begged to keep him anyway. Here is Blue… isn’t he cute?

Canine Lymphoma

Well my vet suggested an ultrasound appointment, so off to the specialist I went. We talked about his symptoms, and I mentioned that he has improved 200% in the two days that I’ve had him and that I was giving him prednisone. She goes uh oh that is the answer and proceeds to feel him over, discovering that his lymph nodes and spleen were swollen… my stomach dropped. She took a sample from the lymph node and went to look at it under the microscope, she came back very quickly and told me Blue had lymphoma, which is of course cancer of the lymph nodes and incurable in dogs. With treatment, she told me that the life expectancy for Blue would be 9 months to a year, without treatment it would be 4 to 6 WEEKS. “When dogs respond to a steroid like prednisone so quickly”, she said, “it usually means that something bad is going on”. My heart felt like it was in my throat and I had a hard time concentrating on what she was telling me. All I could think about was having to euthanize this poor dog. Then she told me I couldn’t give him away, that it wouldn’t be fair to him or whomever I would give him to, and she told me if I kept him she would help me with the treatment. Everyone at the clinic fell in love with this special boy. She gave Blue the first IV injection that day and told me to go home and talk it over with my Husband.

My mind was pretty much made up at that moment, Pongo and Blue loved each other, so I told Aaron everything. Him being the big softy he is and loving animals just as much as I do, agreed with me that we need to give this dog the best 9 months to a year hes ever had. So now I have two big dogs in the tiniest apartment ever, but seeing his face everyday on our walks or our trips to the park, or just how excited they BOTH get when I come home has made it worth it so far. Pongo and Blue are inseparable, and although it is a sad situation, it makes me feel good to do something for another living being.

Best friends

Blue is on the Wisconsin-Madison Protocol for chemo treatment which is 25 weeks long. Basically he gets an IV injection every two weeks or so, then I have to give him oral pills at home. He has to go in for longer treatments every 4 weeks. With this protocol, I give Blue prednisone everyday at home. We have just completed his second IV injection last weekend and his second round of oral pills at home this weekend and he has not had any adverse side effects so far, which is fantastic. I went home and researched chemotherapy treatment in dogs on the computer that first day and found out that dogs do not react to chemo in the same way humans do, they hardly suffer from side effects. Dogs may experience nausea or vomiting, and some breeds may lose some hair or their whiskers. But throughout treatment dogs should be acting normally. I will keep you updated on his progression, and answer as many questions as I can as I get more experienced with the process.

Chemotherapy in dogs

Thanks for reading!
Ashley, Pongo, AND Blue!


(This post is solely based off of my own experience and is in no way intended to be medical advice. For medical questions consult your Veterinarian.)