By Helen Burns | Dated February 1, 2021 | 0 Comments
When we graduate as vets we are trained to treat a wide variety of species, ranging from fish through to birds and reptiles, wildlife, farm animals and companion animals, plus […]
By Helen Burns | Dated November 12, 2020
Max is a superstar!
Back in August, Max came in to see us because he was out of sorts. As we were giving him the obligatory head scratch ( Max likes to stick his head between our knees and waits for the outpouring of admiration and head rubs), we felt some lumps tucked away at the corner of his jaw. The peripheral lymph nodes, which are the ones that we can palpate fairly easily, are located at the corner of the jaw (submandibular lymph nodes), in front of the shoulder (prescapular lymph nodes) and behind the knees (popliteal lymph nodes). We routinely check these every time we do a physical examination on a patient because they are good sentinels for any disease process going on in that region of the body. Single lymph nodes will increase in size if there is an infection in the mouth or on a paw for example, however in Max’s case all of his lymph nodes were significantly increased in both size and firmness. Fine needle biopsies and immunohistochemistry confirmed that Max was suffering from B cell lymphoma, which was further confirmed to be stage 4b, with a terrible prognosis that carried a median survival time of only a few weeks. Max’s fabulous family have supported him through thick and thin, managing his glaucoma and the loss of an eye, as well as his diabetes with twice daily insulin injections.
Continuing their support for their beautiful dog, Max’s family decided to go ahead with our recommendation of chemo, in order to give him a much longer period of good quality life. Chemo in pets is done a little differently to people. With pets, we aim to provide a longer period of good quality life, however do not push for a cure. This means that we generally use lower doses of the chemo drugs, which results in minimal side effects. So, every week or two for the past couple of months, Max has joined us for a morning of quality TLC time, where he relaxes with one of the vets or nurses while his chemo is administered via a drip. Each time, Max greets each and every one of us with his standard head-between-the-knees smooch as he wanders in for his chemo. He is now in remission and only has another 2 doses in his course remaining. We will all miss the weekly smooches with Max once his chemo finishes, but will continue to keep a close eye on him in the future.