I just heard that Porter, one of the puppies we placed about four years ago has acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). His prognosis is very bleak and short-term in that the disease is so serious. He presented so late with serious symptoms which evidently is fairly typical. He was taking a good hike one day, a bit more tired afterwards, and at the emergency vet late the next day.
From what I've read, ALL is hard to treat. Diagnosis is confirmed by examination of blood smears and bone marrow aspirates. The most common clinical signs are lethargy, anorexia, splenomegaly, and pallor of mucous membranes. Prednisone is a common treatment; however, I also read about a clinical study in which three dogs were not treated, 3 dogs were treated with prednisone, and 3 dogs were treated with cyclophosphamide. Survival times in these 9 dogs ranged from 1 to 60 days. Twenty-one dogs were treated with vincristine and prednisone; of these, complete remission was achieved in 4 dogs and partial remission was achieved in 4 dogs, with survival times ranging from 8 to 241 days.
Drug treatment choices are best discussed with a veterinary oncologist. I am hoping that Porter will receive treatment that puts him in remission. I know that his owners will do whatever is necessary to make him comfortable.