Golden Retriever Mason's Fight with Lymphoma

Golden Retriever Mason's Fight with Lymphoma

by Heidi
(Pennsylvania)

My beautiful, not quite 4 year old, Golden Retriever Mason was diagnosed with Lymphoma on Memorial Day Weekend 2011.

It's now only June 27th so we've only been in this thing for 4 weeks. The sad part is how fast this cancer is moving. I feel as if I'm racing the clock.

After the diagnosis I did tons of reading, online research and talking to others who had dogs with cancer. Anyone who I talked to who went the chemotherapy route were sorry they did. They ended up losing their beloved pet and felt that precious time was spent taking their pet for painful and unpleasant trips to the vet.

Additionally the only possible result was a non guaranteed remission and potentially thousands of $$ spent.

I decided on homeopathic treatment. I tried researching and was overwhelmed by the possiblities out there. How much of a dose, how does it interact with other meds? Finally I found a link for Homeopathic vets that would do online consultations. This would allow me to keep Mason at home (no travel and no vets office). THe first phone consult was scheduled for Monday, June 13th.

Unfortunatly before my first conference call his lymph nodes or something caused him to stop eating, I panicked and took him to an emergency veterinarian (of course it was a Sunday). He gave Mason a prednisone shot and some pills to taper off of over the course of 3 weeks.

The following day I talked to the Homeopathic vet, who did not like him getting the shot nor remaining on the Prednisone. I felt sick because the shot immediately allowed Mason to feel better. I knew/know it was only a mask and not a cure but you are so happy when they feel good.

Anyway I promised to taper him off by the end of the week. I was told to only give Mason homemade Only Organic foods. 50%/50% meat/veg mix. She prescribed Mason several remedies for his immune system, vitamins, probiotics, etc.

He did great for the following week. I saw signs of improvement. Was it the prednisone or the homeopathy? About 5 days after I stopped he prednisone I notice his glands are swelling again. I panicked and called his vet as I didn't want to go into the weekend with him not eating and me worring. She tells me that it is expected that his nodes would swell once the prednisone wears off and prescribes some homeopathic pain managaement remedies. He did not eat today (Monday) but he does not breathe or behave like he is in pain.

I have such high hopes that this treatment will save my special Mason boy. We love him so much. I fall apart when he's not well and ride a high when he has his moments where he wants to chase his ball down the hall.

Anyone who has been through this I would love to hear your story. Short or long, good or bad. It helps to make decisions.

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Dec 06, 2016
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Ellie
by: Anonymous

I'm devastated, just waiting for the conclusive test from pathology to tell us what we already know.

I can't begin to think how we can say goodbye to our gorgeous girl Ellie, she is only 9 and is the most mischievous but gentle girl.

Symptoms have been noticeable for a few weeks but initially thought to be just a skin infection.

We won't opt for treatment despite our need to keep her with us as just like others - the treatment can be just as awful as the disease.

Thinking of everyone going through this heartbreaking time. xxx

Dec 01, 2016
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I'm so sorry
by: Anonymous

Please keep us updated on Chester.

Nov 28, 2016
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Chester, an amazing Golden
by: Carolyn

I am so sorry to hear about your stories.

My sweet boy Chester, a beautiful golden, has been diagnosed with lymphoma just on Saturday... We are heart broken. He isn't eating but drinking.

I don't know how I will ever say goodbye. I don't want such a great friend to suffer. May God bless everyone struggling with similar situations. Would so love a miracle...

Sep 26, 2016
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Goodbye Jake...
by: Anonymous

Jake, our 13 year old Golden Retriever, collapsed about four months ago. Carried him to the vet who said he probably had lymphoma given the swollen lymph nodes. Considering his age, I didn't see the point in needles, tests, cancer treatment, etc.

And though he likely had lymphoma, vet was not sure that's what caused the collapse, so we gave him a B-12 shot and put him on antibiotics. He fought though whatever it was and made a full recovery after about four weeks. In fact, he recovered before my back did because I had to carry him in and out of the house for a week, and at 85 pounds, he's not a small dog.

Maybe a month after that he started having nose bleeds and one nostril became necrotic, which slowly spread to the other side. Shortly after the nose bleeds started his glands became rather enlarged and breathing labored so we put him on prednisone.

It's been four months since we learned of his condition, and now he only gets up to eat, to go outside to do his business, and greet guests; the latter of which is the only thing that can elicit a tail wag.

Over the past week he has become somewhat unstable on his feet, bloated, and is clearly not enjoying life. I have an appointment with our vet in 30 minutes to have my beloved dog, friend, and family member put down.

I have had eight dogs during my life, and Jake the only Golden. He is far and way the smartest, sweetest, gentle soul I have ever known. We feel blessed to have had him in our lives for so long.

Aug 26, 2016
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Riley
by: Anonymous

Our 10 yr old yellow lab was diagnosed with lymphoma yesterday. He is a member of our family and a piece of our life that brings us such joy.

We are so torn on using chemo but leaning against it as so many of you have pointed out, it delays the inevitable and can cause such discomfort for the animal. Such a horrible choice to have to make as we all want to do everything we can to help our dogs fight this horrible disease.

May 06, 2016
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Brinkley
by: Anonymous

My four year old Golden named Brinkley started to cough and had this gagging on and off. He was eating and drinking but I decided to bring him to the vet whobI trust dearly. Brinkley had X-rays, blood work and it all came out fine. The doctor did say not all but a couple of lymph nodes were swollen. He gave me an antibiotic for ten days which we just started but I've been sick to my stomach and unnerved by the unknown.

Mar 30, 2016
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Lymphoma Sucks
by: Anonymous

Our 8 year old Golden passed today, 16 weeks after being diagnosed with advanced lymphoma. It started in his liver and gut, and we first became aware of his disease after he started vomiting and didn't want to eat.

We chose not to pursue chemo because it would not greatly prolong his life and his quality of life would suffer from constant trips to the vet. We started him on Prednisone a few days after his diagnosis and were granted 3 1/2 months with a happy, playful, hungry pup.

A few days ago he became weak, needed help getting up, and finally didn't want to eat. His breathing became labored and his hair started to fall out. He would try to rally and be his normal self, but finally he became too tired and he decided it was his time to go.

For other pup parents who do not wish to try chemotherapy, I would recommend asking your vet about Prednisone. It really helped our dog to live out the remainder of his days as his normal self.

Mar 15, 2016
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Clover
by: Clover's Momma

My sweet Golden, Clover, was just diagnosed with a mass cell tumor on her nose (inoperable area) and lymphoma. While Clover is almost 11 years old, it still pains me to think that life is nearing the end for my sweet old girl. Clover was my 15th birthday present and has been my best bud ever since.

I am really struggling on what to do for my poor sweet Clover. How did you all make the decision to undergo chemo, go the homeopathic route or just ride out the rest of their time? I do not want her to suffer or be in pain, but I also don't want to spend the rest of the time we have left together carting her back and forth from the vet.

Mar 03, 2016
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Young Golden Cancer
by: Lynn

It's with a crazy heavy heart that we had to put down our English Creme Golden today, who was only 2 y/o. Massive liver and lymphoma. Liver was most likely cancerous too. Although prevalent in Goldens, a two year old??? On top of that from a high priced breeder. I go from sobbing to anger, and not sure it will stop anytime soon.

Jan 20, 2016
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So sad
by: Nancy

Our sweet 12 year old golden/Saluki mix was diagnosed with lymphoma yesterday. Other than the enlarged nodes she is not showing any signs of disease. My husband and I have decided against chemotherapy. I am still researching other treatment and hoping that we can keep her pain free and happy with whatever time she has left. That's what we've done for the past 12 years. My heart goes out to all of you other pet owners who are having to deal with this sadness.

Dec 26, 2015
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Sarge
by: RFarr

Our chocolate lab Sarge (age 4yrs, 9mo) started to have a raspy bark a week ago, it almost sounded like he was choking if he tried to bark. A few days later he had what looked like conjunctivitis, with eye drainage. We took him to his vet 2 days before Christmas and she prescribed an eye ointment for conjunctivitis but recommended blood work to rule things out.

Over Christmas my heart knew it was going to be bad news, his breathing started sounding labored, still raspy throat, his eyes were getting worse and the right eye started showing a bright red spot. I sensed his vision was affected. This morning the vet called to tell us he has lymphoma and it has spread, including to his eyes.

We questioned why when he just had his yearly check up in Feb, they never knew he was getting sick. She said it often comes on quick and fast, back in Feb, he showed no signs.

I have cried all day, he is too young and I am not ready to let him go. We chose prednisone therapy but his vet believes he only has about 4 weeks left, 8 weeks if were lucky. My heart is breaking, our crazy, wild, rambunctious Sarge is dying and it's tearing me apart inside. I do not want to watch him suffer so if it comes to this I pray for the strength to let him go.

Mar 24, 2015
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My Middy
by: Anonymous

My pit mix is the love of my life, and was diagnosed the end of August 2014. I have had her on Prednisone and Tramadol since then.

I only give her 10 mg of prednisone a day and 50 mg of Tramadol once a day and now twice a day. Her breathing has become very labored but just wanted to give all the newly diagnosed fur babies a little hope because mine has survived almost 9 months so far. I know it is drawing near to the day but these 9 months I can never regret.

Good luck and God Bless you all. Hope you find this as a little bit of good news. When she was first diagnosed I thought I only had weeks and feed her everything she wanted, she gained 20 pounds over the first 3 or 4 months so just know they could have longer so enjoy and love them as much as you can!

Jan 17, 2015
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Fighting Annie Update
by: Anonymous

Annie's results came back yesterday confirming that she has the slow growing indolent lymphoma. Our vet is not an oncologist but is consulting with others. We are uncertain of the treatments and success rates if we didn't do the chemo which for this is a lifetime protocol. I have read such conflicting information about this. Does anyone have any information or experience with Indolent Lymphoma?

Jan 17, 2015
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Daisy girl
by: Burdell Hanna

Our Daisy girl was diagnosed with Lymphoma just this week 1-14-1015 and we are heart broken, can't stop crying, want to go homeopathic, don't want her to suffer at all. Just can't believe this dreadful news, she need everyone's prayers. We know how all of you out there feels now.

God bless!

Jan 14, 2015
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My 12 yr old Golden, Diabetic and now diagnosed with Malignant Lymphoma
by: D's Mom

To say we are devastated over the diagnosis is an understatement :-(

We found out on a Thursday night, husband & I both spent the weekend crying and giving her extra love. We have moved to acceptance and what are we doing about it? Of course as bad as we want her with us, we just can't let my sweet baby suffer. She is showing no signs at all of illness other than the swollen lymph nodes. She is eating, going potty, playing and acting completely normal.

We had our first Oncology visit today. We are going with the multi-drug chemotherapy treatment, which will consist of weekly treatments for 9 weeks, then every other week until the 6 month mark. While the Dr says that dogs tolerate chemo very well and have an 85% remission, I know there is no guarantee. We started our first chemo injection today. I will move forward with weekly treatments, as long as she does ok. If I see that she's isn't tolerating it well and becomes miserable I will put a stop to it.

My concern is only for her and her quality of life. She is the sweetest, smartest, very silly always keeps me laughing. I am hoping and praying that she can tolerate it and go into remission while having a good quality of life.

If you have a fur baby going through chemo, I would love to hear your experience. Good luck to all and our four legged babies.

Jan 10, 2015
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Fighting Annie/8 yr.
by: Anonymous

I'm so glad that I found this site with stories like mine, unfortunately.

March 2014, the vet noticed Annie's lymph nodes slightly enlarged. They have always been very soft and very slowly growing. I have brought her to the vet for check ups and they were never really concerned but finally in December 2014 when the fine needle aspirate came back positive for lymphoma, we went to seek counsel with a specialist.

Annie is the best dog ever! She is a member of the family and I would do anything to keep her going healthy and happy. The specialist wanted to start chemo right away since she thought we were catching it so early. So early??? It's been since March! We had blood tests and another aspirate to determine B cell or T cell. Different treatments and one appears to have a longer remission.

That's where we are torn. From everything that I have read online and here, the Chemo sounds difficult and stressful and what do you really get out of it? 4+ months of hell to have 6+ months of a happy dog again to have to go through it all again? She is so happy right now. Starting chemo will make her so sick and take my sweet Annie's delight away.

I'm devastated and constantly googling. I feel for anyone who has ever had to go through this. The chemo would be for US, not her. But I'm hoping for T-cell indolent lymphoma, in which case would give me more to hope for. Less aggressive chemo and longer remission. I just don't know... so, so sad.

Jan 03, 2015
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My 7 Year Old Golden - Ginger
by: Raisin man

Well, like many of you who search and find this page after the fact, my golden retriever Ginger has contracted what we believe is lymphoma. She has a large mass just behind her right front quarter, and her left lymph node is swollen and pretty hard. There is a small lump in her back left abdomen. The left shoulder/neck lymph node swelling was noticed around 12/23/14 by my mom who was visiting for the holidays.

In the last 10 days it has gotten larger and I can really see that it is wearing her down. We are giving her some supplements with her normal diet but the reading I have done does not give me much hope.

Like many of those who have lost a beloved golden, I can honestly say she has been my best friend during times when it seemed no one else could understand my troubles. I am heart broken but the statistics are tough to beat. In the end, we are are going to meet the same fate, but it is hard nonetheless.

I would be interested to hear more stories of your goldens as we honor their memory during and after the fight!

Nov 18, 2014
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3 year old with lymphoma
by: Chritine from Texas

My Golden, Babygirl, was diagnosed November 15, 2014 with Lymphoma. She is not exhibiting any signs at all of the cancer. She plays, eats, drinks, etc as normal. However, the large lumps under her jaw and groin are obvious. I am taking her to the oncologist Wednesday morning in Dallas to find out the extent of her cancer. I am hoping (and praying) we are able to treat her with Chemo and extend her life. She is a part of our family.

I am astonished at the statistics of goldens who develop cancer, I have read it is almost twice of any other breed (60%). This is the most loving, caring and intelligent breed I have ever come across and it is shameful nothing has been developed to help these wonderful animals!


Oct 17, 2014
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So Sorry about Mason
by: Susan

My golden retriever Copa Cabana was diagnosed in August of this year. She is still going strong. We tried chemotherapy for 4 visits but unfortunately she was not one of the dogs that do not have a hard time with it. She did. So I made the painful decision to stop the treatments and it's been about a month since we stopped. She is on a heavy dose of prednisone (40 mg/day) which, while it helps her, has thinned her skin so she is experiencing wounds on the inside of her paws (she always laid like a frog) so that inside of her foot is hitting the floor when she lies down. She does pant quite a bit but that is also from the prednisone. She is also taking pain meds, Tramadol and that helps too.

However, on the good side she is walking 1/2 mile a day and, while that isn't a lot for a healthy golden, it is good for an ill one that is going to be 12 years old. She is eating, sleeping.

I wish you the best of luck with Mason. My vet said that lymphoma has one of the highest rates of remission of all canine cancers if the chemo can be tolerated. Let me know how Mason is doing - and you as well.

Oct 17, 2014
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Maizie
by: Craig

Our beautiful, happy, loving 4 year old was diagnosed yesterday, October 16th.

To say I am heartbroken is not even close to the emotions I am feeling. She seems healthy, no symptoms to this point.

On Wednesday I was playing with her rubbing her head and found lumps on her neck. I did some research and found one on the back of her leg, so I immediately knew it was not normal, took her to the vet and it was lymphoma. We have our first oncology appointment today, not sure what route we are going to take.

Aug 22, 2014
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Golden retriever with lymphoma
by: Anonymous

Our 9 1/2 year goldie was diagnosed July 7th with lymphoma. We started chemo 2 days later. The first 2 treatments went well. After the 3rd however, he was very ill. After 2 days of IV fluids and nausea meds he was still so weak and would not eat or drink. He was miserable and after a week we made the decision to put him down. If we had to do it over we would not have started chemo. But at least we know we tried. Best to you all in your decisions.

Aug 20, 2014
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My beautiful Copa Cabanna
by: Susan

was just diagnosed with lymphoma. She had a tumor on her spleen and liver. Four weeks ago had her spleen removed and tumor removed from her liver - both biopsied and came back as benign. Two weeks later she crashed and had another surgery to remove one of the lymph nodes. Came back today as medium stage lymphoma.

We have to wait to have her stitches removed next Thursday to start chemo. I have always fed my dogs a grain free diet, with a mixture of dry food and veggies. Have given them supplements and salmon oil to keep them healthy.

My 7 year old competition show dog died from cancer almost 4 years ago, broke my heart and now his sister is here at 11-1/2. I'm so sad and hope I am doing the right thing.

I look to some of you and see your dogs experienced this tragic disease at such a young age and here I am sick over Copa and hoping she will be one of the ones who go into remission.

I do read that this cancer has one of the highest remission rates so I am hopeful. I am praying for Copa and will pray for you and yours as well.

Aug 11, 2014
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Teddy
by: Anonymous

Our precious Teddy, 3yrs 4 months old, just diagnosed with lymphoma Aug 1, 2014. Broke my heart! He is starting prednisone tonight.

Blessings to all of you, thanks for sharing your story.

Aug 10, 2014
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3 year old Golden diagnosed with Lymphoma
by: Tracy

Hello,

Our 3 year old Golden Cami was diagnosed with lymphoma earlier this week. We took her to the vet because she stopped eating and was showing signs that were consistent with a respiratory infection. Unfortunately the symptoms of a respiratory infection are the same as lymphoma. We were in disbelief until the lab results came back confirming the diagnosis. How could our young, healthy, and very energetic baby have this?!

I am also 9 months pregnant, due in two weeks, and after the vet cautiously recommended that if we chose to pursue chemo that we should keep the dog away from the baby (due to the unknown transmission of chemo via saliva...I still think this is overly cautious, but we also don't want to risk anything with the baby), we knew we wouldn't be able to pursue that method of treatment. We also were concerned that if she started having accidents in the house that her urine and feces would be toxic.

We currently have her on prednisone, and she is responding well. She has always eaten the best food (half Honest Kitchen, half Orijen), now she is getting boiled chicken too. She also gets yogurt, scrambled eggs, and occasionally bacon. I think her diet is very good, I'm reading The Dog Cancer Survival Guide and we're adding supplements to her diet too. We added K9 Immunity Plus yesterday. I'm looking into other supplements too.

Unfortunately, she is now starting to show side effects from the prednisone, most notably excessive thirst and incontinence. She urinated twice in her sleep last night so I will be picking up some doggie diapers today which hopefully will help manage the problem. Does anyone have any additional advice about this?

I'd love to hear from anyone else going through this and learn what is working (or not working) for your dog.

Also, my deepest sympathies if you find this page because your dog has also been diagnosed with lymphoma.

Lots of love.

Jun 26, 2014
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Golden just diagnosed with Lymphoma
by: Kathy B

Our beautiful, intelligent, and ever so sweet 7 year old golden retriever was diagnosed yesterday with Lymphoma! He has been the best dog we've ever had and we are just devastated. His energy level is so low, he doesn't even raise his head when we talk to him, but that beautiful tail still thumps to show his love.

I'm waiting now for the vet to call to let us know exactly what we are dealing with and what are our choices for courses of action. I don't know that we want to do chemo. He has always had such a wonderful spirit and we can't stand the thoughts of him suffering. (I know this sounds crazy, but he "smiles" all the time and he hasn't been smiling lately!)

If anyone has advice, we would appreciate it. Thanks!

Sep 04, 2012
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Have Hope!
by: Lori D

My seven year old golden, Heather, was diagnosed with lymphoma in April 2012. The diagnosis was preceded by gastric issues that were being treated with antibiotics. It wasn't until April that she showed signs of swollen nodes. We started her on a conservative round of chemo - cytoxan one week, one week an infusion, one week off, but always on Prednisone. She was in remission for four months and the quality of her life is wonderful! Just found out one month ago she was out of remission and we repeated the conservative round of chemo. She is back in remission and doing great.

As long as she feels good and is our happy Heather she will be with us. We are prepared to let her go when she is not. Please concentrate on the QUALITY of your pup's life. Heather has done so very well on a little bit of chemo and a lot of love. She really has not been sick. Keep in mind that YOU are in control of the cancer - the cancer is NOT in control of you. You are making the decisions for your dog.

Jun 25, 2012
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Cancer Sucks
by: Michelle

We had a golden named Max who was also diagnose with Lymphosarcoma. He was 10 and was recently put down. Just all of a sudden started getting getting skinny and stopped eating one day.

When we brought him to the vet he was given steroids and they kept him for about 3 days to monitor him with fluids and meds. He left there happy, eating and was full of energy. Two weeks later he had the worst diarrhea he could have. He got another round of meds and it just kept coming back.

Totally not fair to him, but decided it was time. He was so happy till the end. My husband said it was the worst thing he had been through. We both decided to get another golden right away.

Best decision for us, what a joy all over again.

Apr 19, 2012
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Labrador with Lymphoma
by: Anonymous

My Yellow Labrador CoCo just tunred 6 years-old in March. She had all the syptoms described and was diagnosed yesterday with lymphoma. I am a wreck. I did not expect to grow so attached or feel like this. Not only that I just assumed she would live a long life.

I am devastated and very, very upset. We took her to the animal hosptial yesterday, where they did an ultrasound to confirm. When I saw the masses in her abdomen I wanted to scream. I will meet with the oncologist today to discuss our options. Of course chemo was mentioned but will only give her 3 to 6 months. We talked about that last night and have decided to bring her home today for a few days for my family members who love her soooo much to see her one last time, and then have her euthanized within the next couple of days. I don't know if I can do it. But I do believe in my heart it will be for the best. I don't want her to suffer.

The hospital gave her a shot of steriod and an IV to hydrate her and give her energy. I know it will give us an appearance of hope, but from all of the reseach I have done so far, the prognosis is grim. I also spoke with a coworker who went through the same thing with her pet. She said that it was the most selfish thing she could have done, because with all the Chemo, medications, and Vet visits, her dog suffered and died anyway.

I love my CoCo with all my heart. I am so sad right now. She is the most adorable and sweetest dog. Anyone who is an animal lover and especially a dog lover, would fall in love with her. So much personality; so sassy. I love it!! And I am going to miss her energy. She helped with my healing process when I was going through a very difficult time a few years ago. Always greeted me at the door; tail wagging; toy in mouth. And when I can't sleep at night, she will always get up and go with me for a ride to the store. My partner in crime...LOL! I am going to miss her sooooo much. Keep us in prayer as I will all of you pet owners who are going through the same thing with your pets.

Nov 14, 2011
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It breaks my heart
by: Anonymous

Our dog, Buddy, was diagnosed 4 days ago with diabetes. I had him at the vet again today to have swelling around his neck checked. The vet took a needle biopsy and sent it to the lab to be checked. He thinks it is cancer and we should know in 4 days.

I am to keep him comfortable, give him his insulin and not worry too much about the diabetes at this time until we know exactly what we are dealing with.

Aug 11, 2011
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Wheaten terrier 4 and 1/2 with lymphoma
by: Anonymous

Our soft coated wheaten terrier was diagnosed on July 3rd. We opted for prednisone and he did great for the first four weeks. I am seeing him slow down this week and I am a wreck. He is still eating, drinking and going for very short walks. It is heartbreaking as he is only 4 and a half years old. I know he only has limited time and it is so hard to see a once playful, mischievous pup now look at me with those sad eyes. I only hope I know when it is time and don't wait too late....

Aug 09, 2011
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Waiting to find out
by: Anonymous

I am praying for your Golden.

I have a 13 year old named Sandy. He is a member of our family. He goes everwhere we go.

I noticed swollen lymph nodes last Friday. He had a biopsy yesterday and the vet found a tumor way back in his mouth. It has been sent to a pathologist, and we will get the results this Friday.

We are so worried, we are sick. He doesn't seem to feel bad, but I know how fast that can change with cancer.

I just found this web site and your story. I am so sorry. I will keep Mason and your family in my prayers. I know with the time God spent creating animals, he loves them as we do and he can heal them. Good Luck!

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