Lymphoma is one of the most common cancers in dogs. Even so, it’s a word no pet owner is ever prepared to hear from their veterinarian. If your dog has received this diagnosis, you should be encouraged by the fact that there are a number of canine lymphoma treatment options available, including TANOVEA®-CA1 (rabacfosadine for injection).
Canine lymphoma typically develops in the lymph nodes and can spread to other areas of the body and organs like the liver and spleen. There are many different forms of canine lymphoma and each case is different in terms of how quickly the disease progresses. Some cases develop slowly and are easier to treat. Others progress rapidly within days or weeks and can very quickly become life-threatening.
There are several canine lymphoma treatment approaches available, including TANOVEA-CA1, generic chemotherapy, radiation, and/or surgery. Your veterinarian can help provide a prognosis, and develop a treatment plan based on your dog’s type and stage of lymphoma. While sadly there are no cures, the goal of any dog lymphoma treatment is to put the cancer into remission for as long as possible and create the best possible quality of life for your pet.
Doing All You Can for Your Best Friend
If your dog has been diagnosed with lymphoma and is undergoing canine lymphoma treatment, it will be a challenging time for you and your dog. But, it’s important to stay positive and enjoy every day with your dog as much as you can. Dogs are very receptive, and if they sense that you’re down and upset, this may elicit a similar emotional response from them. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to please your pup, and even under such unfortunate circumstances, they can still have a good quality of life. The following are some simple steps you can take to help ensure the best possible outcome when dealing with a canine lymphoma diagnosis:
- Talk with your veterinarian
First and foremost, stay in close communication with your veterinarian and/or veterinary oncology specialist. Not only is it important to ensure you are staying on top of your role to support your pup’s treatment, but veterinarians can be a great source of comfort in what can be a very stressful time. They can reassure you that your loved one is getting the best possible care and can also help you understand what to expect from your dog during the course of canine lymphoma treatment.
- Exercise your dog as directed
When your dog is being treated for canine lymphoma and facing an uncertain future, there can be a tendency to want to stay at home with them by your side, so you can keep them comfortable and savor every moment. However, exercise is good for dogs in general and can even be helpful for those fighting cancer. Your veterinarian will recommend a type and amount of exercise that will help your dog stay as healthy as possible during treatment. Plus, getting outside to go for a walk or playing fetch with your dog is good for you too – both as exercise and as a stress reliever.
- Stay Alert & Observant
As we mention in our blog about the signs of dog pain, dogs rarely “complain” about anything besides the occasional whining to go outside or when they’re hungry. So it’s important that you stay alert and make note of any changes in your dog’s day to day behaviors and tendencies, and report any unusual observations to your veterinarian. Often, these subtle changes can give you insight into the specific ways that your dog is experiencing discomfort or pain from the lymphoma and/or treatment. Being able to recognize early signs of discomfort can help your veterinarian better assess the prognosis and treatment approach as well as help put your dog at ease.
- Feed as much as is tolerated and approved by your veterinarian
Your dog’s appetite may vary significantly while undergoing treatment for canine lymphoma. Take advantage of their hungry times and feed them as much as they will eat (with your veterinarian’s approval, of course). Dogs fighting cancer need to be well-nourished to keep their strength up. However, unless your veterinarian recommends it, don’t go out of your way to make them eat or make any major changes to their daily diet – such as adding “people food” to their bowl – if you’ve never done that before.
- Help with mobility
Treatment of any serious medical condition, including canine lymphoma, can cause weakness in your dog. This can make it difficult for them to get into and out of the car, climb stairs, or even to stand in some cases. Talk with your veterinarian about the best and safest ways to provide mobility assistance when your pet is struggling. Whatever method you use, be attentive and patient. For most dogs, the inability to get around on their own is a new experience and one that takes some getting used to.
- Limit changes to their home environment
Although dogs will adapt to changes in their environment over time, try to limit any major changes to your home and their environment. Since they are already experiencing some unfamiliarity associated with the lymphoma and any treatment they’re receiving, sticking to their normal home/environment routines as much as possible could help keep additional stress to a minimum. Moving homes, in particular, can be very stressful for your dog, and yourself, during an already stressful period.
- Find lots of ways to have fun together
Ideally getting cancer treatment will help put dogs into remission for as long as possible. However, the reality is you don’t know how long you’ll have with them. Take the time to do some of those “special occasion” things that they love. Walk that trail they enjoy. Go for a drive with the windows down. Have a gentle playdate with their favorite furry friend. Watching them have fun will be a positive experience for you as well.
- Stay positive and encouraging
Dogs are very intuitive creatures, and they can sense your mood. While it can be difficult to keep your spirits up when your dog is facing a serious health challenge, do your best to maintain a hopeful outlook, as that will have a positive effect on them during their dog lymphoma treatments. Dogs are people-pleasers, and your encouragement can give them the energy they need to make it through difficult times. As noted above, these steps will benefit you and your family as much as they do your dog during what can be a very emotionally difficult time.
Find Out if TANOVEA-CA1 is Right for Your Dog
Learn more about TANOVEA-CA1 for the treatment of dogs with lymphoma at our website: tanovea.com. Did you know that you can also find a veterinary oncology specialist in your area on our website? A veterinary oncology specialist can help you choose a canine lymphoma treatment plan for your dog and can work with your normal veterinarian to ensure the best possible care is provided for your loved one during this difficult time.
Important Safety Information: TANOVEA-CA1 is indicated for the treatment of lymphoma in dogs. The most frequently reported adverse reactions included decreased white blood cell count, diarrhea, vomiting, decreased or loss of appetite, weight loss, decreased activity level, and skin problems. Serious and sometimes fatal pulmonary fibrosis has occurred. Do not use in West Highland White Terriers and use with caution in other terrier breeds. Please see the package insert for full prescribing information, warning and precautions.