This month we introduce Max, an exuberant four and a half year old black kelpie cross. Max is representative of a growing number of patients that we, diagnose and treat (in most cases successfully) with chemotherapy for various Cancers.
Max was brought to Adelaide Animal Hospital 3 months ago as his owners were concerned at his weight loss, lethargy and frequent vomiting episodes. A thorough clinical examination was unremarkable, but a full blood profile revealed a very high blood Calcium-oft. A marker for certain cancers including lymphatic Cancers. Further diagnostic screening included abdominal and thoracic Xrays and ultrasound. A large mass measuring more than 5 cm in diameter was clearly visible in his thoracic cavity in front of the heart. (See x-ray) An ultrasound guided fine needle biopsy of this mass confirmed Max had Mediastinal Lymphoma – cancer of the lymph nodes in the chest.
A chemotherapy programme was devised for Max , which involved a 25 week course of intensive treatment. Weekly, then fortnightly visits to the hospital were required to administer intravenous drugs and monitor blood count.
During this time Max remained eager to visit and enjoyed the attention and care lavished on him. Our reward was to see Max thrive. Weight gain, a growing bond with his carers and a puppy-like zest for life at home were fine rewards for all.
Further demonstration of his marvellous response to chemo was absence of the mass on follow-up chest x-rays just 8 weeks into his chemotherapy programme.
Max is still enjoying life immensely and still progressing nicely through his 25 week schedule.
Successful treatment is defined as remission of clinical signs enabling these beloved pets to live happily and comfortably, generally without signs of illness, or drug side effects for an extended period (up to a year or more in many cases). A very close bond develops between staff, pet-parents and these courageous animals-who just live life right now the very best way that they can.
NB. We have one very special canine patient who has defied all the literature and lives very well 3 years after completion of chemotherapy – truly magical!