Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Daniel Update

Our 11-year-old greyhound, Daniel, has not been feeling well since early May.  He initially went to our regular vet because he was under the weather and nauseous.  He has been known to eat weird things (we used to have to keep a very close eye on cat toys and baby socks), and I thought he may have had an intestinal blockage.

I love this photo so much that I use it as my Facebook profile photo.

X-rays revealed no foreign objects in his digestive tract, but did show that he had an enlarged spleen.  Off we went that afternoon to the specialty vet for an ultrasound, to make sure that we weren't dealing with a mass of some sort (which is what took our Emma in October).  The ultrasound showed a slight thickening of his stomach in one spot, two things behind his stomach that appeared to be large lymph nodes, and no mass in his enlarged spleen.  The radiologist took needle samples of his spleen and liver, and these samples were sent for pathology review.  We received results of the biopsy the next week ... benign.

Daniel does the best he can to deal with cleaning lady day.

Daniel continued to feel kind of lousy, and he was losing weight.  My 70-pound dog was down to 63 pounds ... and his normally slim greyhound figure was now marked by prominent ribs and bony hips.  Daniel has kept his enthusiastic appetite, so I significantly increased the amount of food he was getting, hoping to stop the weight loss.  Back to the vet we went for more tests.

My sweet boy, sitting in the sunshine.

Waiting for test results, and missing phone calls and messages had me on edge for weeks.  None of Daniel's symptoms or results pointed toward any one diagnosis, so we began to rule out things one by one.  With a negative biopsy on the first sample, we sent blood samples to test for various tick-borne diseases ... which can cause spleen enlargement and anemia.  Pending the results of the tick tests, Daniel was put on a two week course of Doxycycline, just in case.  Tick tests were negative, and we were no closer to an answer.

Such a sweet face!

The vet suggested that we do another ultrasound to see if his spleen and/or stomach looked different than they had two months before ... they didn't ... no significant change at all.  More biopsy and blood samples were taken and sent for analysis.  The biopsy, again, was negative.

Sleepy boy.

Right before we left on our trip in mid-July, I authorized some additional tests on extra samples that the doctor had taken of Daniel's spleen during the second ultrasound.  It's called a PARR Assay, and it tests the spleen samples at the microbiological level, looking for genetic markers for various types of lymphoma.  I got a message on my cell phone last week from the doctor ... Daniel's tests showed that the sample was positive for T-cell Lymphoma.

He's so tolerant.  :)

On Friday, while we were in Fairbanks and had Internet access, I looked up the phone number for the oncologist that we saw while Maggie was being treated for lymphoma.  Dr. Sheafor and I communicate very well, and I knew that she was the perfect person to consult about Daniel's condition.  We made an appointment for this past Monday morning.

My friend Gale sent me this photo, and the two below, while Daniel was staying at her house while we were in Alaska.

Dr. Sheafor examined Daniel and reviewed all of his test results.  She explained that  T-cell Lymphoma is usually a much more aggressive disease than what we are dealing with.  She didn't doubt the test results ... instead, she said that Daniel's history fits with one of the uncommon low-grade lymphomas of the spleen. 

Daniel wanted to play with ALL of the toys in the toy box.

Daniel now has a treatment plan, CCNU chemotherapy with prednisone, and I have hope that this will make him feel better.  I will take Daniel to see the oncologist every three weeks, for 4 - 5 treatments, then we will try to stretch the interval to every 6 - 8 weeks.

Same as it was with Maggie, who was on CCNU three years ago for a different type of lymphoma, Daniel is handling treatment very well so far.  The prednisone is making him hungry and thirsty ... the hungry part may allow him to put on some of his lost weight, and the thirst makes him drink more and he needs more frequent turnouts.

He had quite a collection ... and a whole lot of fun.

The hard fact is this ... Daniel has cancer.  While this is crappy news, it could be worse.  It appears to be a type of cancer that may respond to treatment ... I am grateful for that.  It's comforting to finally know what we are dealing with, and to have a plan in place with a doctor that I trust. 

(I'm telling Daniel's story in such detail, because it may help someone else in the future ... as they search the Web, trying to find out what could possibly be wrong with their dog.)


  1. I am so sorry that you and your family and Daniel are going through this. He certainly is a lovely dog.


  2. Sweet Daniel! I am so sorry but I do know you are relieved to know what is wrong. I know you are giving him the best chance and all the love he deserves. Keeping you in my prayers!

    hugs, Linda

  3. *sigh* I am sending good thoughts that it is HIGHLY treatable and he will have many many more days to play with each and every toy. Sweet boy.

  4. From one greymom to another, I'm sorry. Do you ever visit the Greytalk forum? Lots of really great people. Hugs to Daniel and you. Mary Ann

  5. Mary Ann, I'm not on Greytalk very often, but I do check in over there from time to time. (hopefully you'll see this. I wanted to send a private reply, but your email isn't visible.)

  6. You're such a good doggie momma!

  7. So sorry that Daniel has been sick, but he's a lucky dog to have such a caring family! I hope he is feeling well again soon!

  8. I hope he responds well to the new treatments. At least you finally know but it sure took a long time. Poor Daniel.
    I wish you all the best,

  9. I`m so sorry Daniel has to go through this but hopefully he will be in good shape very soon.

    He is SO adorable. What a face!


  10. I wish Daniel all the best for a long and healthier life. Cancer is a hard diagnosis to take.

  11. I'm glad you finally know what you're dealing with, and can start a treatment that will help him to feel better. You had good luck with Maggie, and I'm hoping for the same with Daniel. It looks like he had a fun time while you were away!

  12. Thinking of your family and Daniel. May many positive vibes be directed your way!

  13. Oh, Connie- I know how hard this is for you- He is certainly your "baby". I will keep all of you in my prayers...I think God loves our pets, too. I am glad you have a plan of is so much better than being in limbo- xo Diana

  14. Cancer is a bitch, and - to make a bad pun - I hope that Daniel manages to make it HIS bitch. My parents had to have their dog put down last year as my dad's cancer worsened - she got too protective of him and started attacking any strangers who approached him, including the nurses who came on daily visits. We do pour such an amount of feelings into pets, don't we, and they give it back in scores, so I hope Daniel will soon be out of this and ready to keep giving you love and enjoyment for many years to come.

  15. Like I've said before, Daniel is very lucky to have you! And I think that now he's been diagnosed and there is a plan of action, he is going to get better! Sending prayers your way!!! :) donna

  16. I sincerely hope and pray that Daniel responds well to his treatment.

  17. You and Daniel are in my thoughts and prayers! My dogs are such an important part of my life so I can only imagine how you're feeling.

  18. I know from experience how hard this must be on you all, I hope he handles everything well, but he looks like he is happy and well loved! I just cannot believe how many dogs I "know" now that have passed away from cancer. Our last Weimaraner died from cancer when he was 6 and it was just horrible... My thoughts are with you all... - Susan

  19. Oh, poor Daniel. I am so sorry to hear about the cancer. I know it will be hard on all of you going through this.

    I'm hoping he responds well to his treatments and the cancer will disappear.

  20. My heart goes out to you.
    I pray he will respond
    to treatment.
    It is so very hard when they are sick.
    My prayers are with you.
    Carole R.
    Burlington MA

  21. Well, Connie... you already know Bailey responded very well to the lymphoma treatment and three years later is still going strong. My first indication of her illness was lost weight and being mopey around the house.

    Sending healing thoughts daniel's way..

  22. Kelli @bellascraftymomAugust 2, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Praying for Daniel to feel better and have happy pain free days for the rest of his life.

  23. He has such a lUvable face, how could anyone NOT fall head over heels--so, what sad news.
    Hope he responds very well to treatments, and has mAny mOre years to wrap his paws around your heart!

  24. I am happy that there's finally a diagnosis so a proper treatment can begin but I am so sad that it is this diagnosis. I know you will do everything to make sure Daniel gets the care he needs.

    Thinking of you,
    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage


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