Sunday, August 10, 2008

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia

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.


meganbell said...

Our 6 year old (7 in two weeks) golden retriever Cody was diagnosed officially today with ALL. We are heartbroken. He is a beautiful, loving dog that has given us such joy. However, it is just too soon for this dreadful diagnosis. The oncologist started Cody on Prednisone and we gave him his first dose tonight. We are hoping that it will reduce his symptoms and give him a better quality of life. The Oncologist said that if we did nothing he would probably have 2-3 weeks to live. She said realistically the Prednisone could extend it to 4-8 weeks. Most importantly, we want Cody to be comfortable and she said that the Prednisone should alleviate some of his symptoms. We will see. Cody is a high energy, athletic golden retriever and we do not want to watch him suffer. Cody had the following symptoms when we brought him to the vet: diarhea, vomiting, lethargy, panting/pacing all night, and increased thirst.

I wish you luck with Porter and if you find out his treatment, please let us know. We are hoping that the Prednisone will give us a few extra weeks with Cody while giving him a better quality of life.

Tracy Pudlo said...

I wish Porter remission and hope he is doing better.
We had a 8 year old and a 17 month old lab. Our 17 month old, Emma was diagnosed with Acute Lymphosytic Leukemia on 7.2.2008. Same symptoms as you are mentioning. She was a very active pup to one that was in clear distress.
Leukemia is a horrific disease. She was put on Prednisone immediately andresponded well. The cancer specialist was surprised how well she was doing hich put hope into our hearts.
We then started Emma on Chemotherapy - that was 8.8.2008. From there she declined rapidly an crossed the Rainbow Bridge on 8.11.2008.
Not a day goes by that I don't think of her and hope to help others in this situation as much as I can.
Here is hoping for a cure to this nasty disease and the best to Porter.

Anonymous said...

Our almost 9 yr old pug, Ivy, limped a little on her rear left leg when first getting up and we thought she hurt it jumping off our couch. Our immediate exam with the vet surprised even the vet when the bloodwork came back looking like leukemia. This was on 9/6/10. On 9/8 her bone marrow confirmed Acute lymphatic leukemia and by now she was clearly in some pain. We started her on prednisone and pain meds but had to put her down on 9/10 due to increase in pain. She was panting and crying almost all the time. We had to give up on the prednisone helping her. She went from a happy and alert and frisky best friend on 9/5 to a desperately ill one on 9/10. I dealt with cancer a few times in my family but never saw anything that moved so violently and rapidly. I also hope that a cure is found for this horrific disease.

Anonymous said...

Our sweet 6 yr old (7 in July) lab girl was diagnosed with ALL yesterday - in the blasto stage the vet said. SHe just wasn't seeming herself and then when she didn't want to eat, we knew something was wrong. Her WBC count was 120,000! She, praise the Lord, is doing well. Just seems tired and not eating well or producing much stool. We'll make her last few weeks good ones and are so thankful to have shared our lives with her. Still seems unreal and we can't stop crying about it. Can't imagine life without our sweet Clara.

jane adams said...

On 6/13 I noticed my collie (just under 5 years old) was drinking excessively and urinating frequently with some incontinence. He was diagnosed with hypercalcemia. Subsequent testing was low platelets (75,000), clear xray, clear abdominal ultrasound, normal, though dilute bone marrow aspirate, core bone marrow blasts unrecognizable as to source with ALL diagnosis. Put on prednisone on 6/21 and was better for 24 hours. Evening of 6/22 and morning of 6/23 he was obviously feeling very bad and was only happy lying down with his head in my lap. I took him in and had him put to sleep with an angel of a vet who made his last few minutes as comfortable as his wonderful short life had been. this is a HIDEOUS disease that kills them so fast and so young it takes your breath and heart away.

Leukaemia Symptoms said...

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