Tail Wagging Tips For Helping Dogs With Lymphoma

Man high fiving his dogLymphoma 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 several canine lymphoma treatment options available, including TANOVEA®-CA1 (rabacfosadine for injection) from VetDC.

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 and can very quickly become life-threatening.

There are several forms of canine lymphoma treatment available, including TANOVEA-CA1, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Your veterinarian can help provide a prognosis, and develop a treatment plan based on your dog’s type 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 canine lymphoma and is undergoing canine lymphoma treatment, it will be a challenging time for you and your dog. However, here are some steps you can take to help produce the best possible outcome, including:
1. Talk with your veterinarian
First and foremost, stay in close communication with your veterinarian. Not only is it important to ensure you are staying on top of your part in the treatment, but veterinarians can be a great source of comfort in what can be a very stressful time. They can reassure you that your pet is getting the best possible care and can also help you understand what to expect from your dog as the treatment progresses.

2. 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 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. Plus, getting outside to go for a walk or playing fetch with your dog is good for you as well, both as exercise and as a stress reliever.

Dog Running on Beach - 9 Signs of Canine Lymphoma

3. Feed as much as is tolerated and approved by your vet
Your dog’s appetite may vary significantly while in 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 battling 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 – such as by adding “people food” to their bowl – if you’ve never done that before.

4. 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.

5. 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 both.

6. 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 also people pleasers, and your encouragement can give them the energy they need to make it through difficult times.
Helping Your Dog with Canine Cancer - TANOVEA-CA1
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. Furthermore, just knowing that a new treatment option, such as TANOVEA-CA1 is available and may help your dog fight this type of cancer – and hopefully slow its progression – may be helpful as well.

Find out whether TANOVEA-CA1 Is Right for Your Dog
Learn more about TANOVEA-CA1 for the treatment of dogs with lymphoma at our website: https://vet-dc.com/. Did you know that you can also find a canine lymphoma veterinarian in your area on our website? A veterinary oncology specialist can help you choose the best treatment plan for you and your pet.

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.


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  1. We took our dog to the vet about a month and a half ago, she needed her shots. Previous to this, I had noticed she was moaning a bit here and there, she had never done that before. I tried telling the vet about it but my roomate kept telling me not to worry about it. Well, for the past two weeks, she is not only moaning, but every breath she takes, you can hear a moan and it isn’t a little moan. Her stomach is swollen, most of the time it’s hard. She has had x-rays, an ultra sound and they said she has a massive tumor that is bleeding a little. How dangerous is this for her, should we put her to sleep, I’ve been crying my eyes out, I don’t want to put her down, but it kills me to see her in so much pain, not knowing what I can do to make her not feel that pain. Financially, I’m on ssi, I can’t afford any major surgery’s. I can’t even afford the meds for her. Please give me some suggesstions

    • Hello Darla –

      I am so sorry to hear that you and your dog are going through such a difficult time. Unfortunately, there is little advice we are able to give you as we are not veterinarians and have not examined your dog. Were they able to make a diagnosis of a particular type of cancer? There are many things that can occur intra-abdominally in dogs, and the prognosis depends, in part, upon the type of tumor it is.

      I understand that pursuing treatment is not feasible for you currently due to your financial situation. What I would suggest is that you talk with your veterinarian about things you might be able to do to keep her comfortable until either you are ready to have her euthanized, or her body gives up the fight on its own. They might also be able to prescribe medications or suggest other palliative care options that will help her be more comfortable.

      Knowing when to let our pets go is not easy. They are far better than humans at accepting their physical limitations, and continuing with joy and hope even when they don’t feel great. The best advice I can give you is to listen to what she is telling you. Is she still enjoying the little things, like walking and playing? Is she still interested in food? Car rides? Has she lost her wag, or does her tail still thump with joy? When the “bad days” outnumber the “good days”, that is when you have to decide if it’s time to let her go. I’m sorry I can’t be of greater help.

  2. My girl (Coco) is half GSP/half Brittany. She has hard lumps on her back that were spreading. Vet diagnosed Lymphoma; she has also had a cough that now, after reading about different types of lymphoma I wonder if the cough was an early sign that I did not recognize. Am going to try prednasone (excuse misspelling) to reduce inflammation. Have another GSP who has heart and kidney issues so budget is tight. Want to do best I can for both girls but can’t afford expensive chemo. What do you suggest?

    • Our golden lab/retriever was dx in November with lymphoma. She finished her chemo treatments a couple of weeks ago and aside from one really serious reaction she tolerated chemo well. Almost two weeks ago we noticed that she was bleeding from her nose. We rushed her to the vet who prescribed vitamin K. She did well for about a week. She had a great day on Thursday but developed a constant nosebleed that night…she could not lay down and sleep because she needs to breathe from her mouth. We thought the time had come to put her down so we made appt with vet…when we were getting ready to go she jumped up and was quite excited to be going for a ride. She was pretty good at vet and he felt that the gurgling noise we were hearing was blood draining down the back of her throat. He prescribed Another med to help clot her blood and Sudafed. She continues to want to go for walks and rides but will not eat so we are having a hard time giving her the meds. We are so not sure what to do…we don’t want her to suffer but we don’t want to put her down if she still is enjoying life. I am sorry this is so long. I have not been able to find information on what happens after chemo so if anyone can help us understand we would appreciate any info and advice. Thanks for reading.

      • Hello Marge. I’m so sorry to hear about your dog. I just emailed you with some information. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to assist you.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that both of your dogs are dealing with difficult medical conditions – it is hard enough to be facing illness with just one beloved friend, but to have them both ill is incredibly overwhelming. I will say, though, that both Coco and Fergie are very lucky to be so well loved.

      You are correct that chemotherapy is not inexpensive. The actual cost, regardless of what drug(s) you and your veterinarian decide to use to treat your dog, varies greatly depending upon the size of the dog, your location, the type of vet, etc. One does have to consider the overall cost when they decide whether or not to proceed with treatment, and it is a significant financial commitment.

      I would encourage you to sit down with your regular veterinarian or a veterinary specialist (oncology or internal medicine) and discuss what options might exist. We are not able to make any recommendations, only a veterinarian that has examined your dog can do that, but they might be able to offer you some alternatives. Palliative care may help mitigate the signs of illness that Coco is experiencing. Palliative care is not intended to induce remission, but rather, to increase the quality of life she has by using medical therapies to treat the effects caused by the disease. Basically, helping her feel better for as long as possible. While chemotherapy to treat lymphoma is the “gold standard”, it is not something everyone is able to do.

      If you have any specific questions I would be happy to try to answer them. I know it’s an overwhelming amount of information to digest. One other option would be to request a virtual consult with one of Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center oncologists by visiting http://csuvth.colostate.edu/acc/onlineforms. They may be able to help you understand the options that are out there for Coco. Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you, and I wish you the best with both of your girls.

    • Just wanted to add – Coco is 13 and Fergie (2nd GSP) is 15. They are both loving, wonderful companions. I feel really confused about all the information and that both girls are now ill. Really appreciate any assistance/education you can provide.

  3. Having trouble finding a vet near Asheville, NC. Our Golden Retriever was diagnosed yesterday and he is the joy of our lives! We’re praying so hard. He’s such a good boy & remains so happy & upbeat. We can’t stand the thought of losing him!!

    • I am so sorry to hear about your golden’s recent diagnosis, I know it’s a hard road to be facing with a beloved family member. I just emailed you with some information. Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to assist you.

  4. Hi. I feel fortunate to have clicked on your site from google. You give some very good info. Our wonderful almost 11 year old yellow lab Bella was 95% diagnosed yesterday. I am still crying. I am looking into Tanovea now that I know about it. I have been battling cancer for exactly 1 year as well. My Mom passed away 7 weeks after my diagnosis. Chemo for me was horrible. Awful. I fear it for my Bella. I’m almost 4 months post op now & half way thru radiation. My husband is being checked out for Alzheimer’s. This really is challenging, life. I hope your treatment works for our dog because she is our bright spot in our days right now . ❤️

    • Hi Lisa, we’re glad you found valuable information on our site, we’re happy to be a resource for pet owners. We are so sorry that you are in a situation to need to research lymphoma in the first place though. After all that you’ve been through, it breaks our hearts to hear that your companion has been diagnosed with lymphoma, nobody should have to go through the hardships that you’ve been faced with. We wish you, your husband, and Bella the best of luck and we’re rooting for you in each of your battles. Please contact us if you have any questions about TANOVEA-CA1 or need more information, or if you need any other resources we will try to assist you however we’re able to.

  5. Just wanted to ask if this has been used with Jack Russell’s. I know they are in the Terrier groups but just wanted to ask.

    • Thank you for your inquiry. TANOVEA-CA1 has been used in many terrier breeds including Jack Russells, and the adverse events reported are similar to those seen in other breeds of dogs. I am unaware of any reports of pulmonary fibrosis in any Jack Russell Terriers after TANOVEA-CA1 use (PF is the reason for the cautionary statement about terriers, as they are genetically predisposed to forming idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis).

  6. I see that you say that you can’t use Tanovea on Westies and to use caution with other terriers. I have a Scottie and I’m wondering if it’s the same restriction. Please let me know.

    • Hello Erica-

      Thank you for your inquiry about TANOVEA-CA1. Terrier breeds in general are genetically predisposed to developing idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and westies are disproportionately represented in the population of dogs that develop it. The reason that TANOVEA-CA1 is prohibited in westies is that it is suspected to have caused pulmonary fibrosis in a handful of dogs that have been treated. This is considered an idiosyncratic reaction, and the few patients that have experienced it are of a variety of breeds.

      We are not aware of any westies being treated with TANOVEA-CA1 (none were permitted to enroll in our clinical trials), and there have been no reported cases of TANOVEA-CA1-related PF in westies, but their genetic predisposition puts them at risk, therefore our label prohibits its use in westies and westie mixes.

      The use of TANOVEA-CA1 is not prohibited in Scotties. Due to their inclusion in the terrier group they may have a potential genetic predisposition for the development of pulmonary fibrosis, and our label bears the cautionary statement “Use with caution in other terrier breeds.” Your veterinarian would have to discuss with you whether the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks of treatment with TANOVEA-CA1.

      Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions, or there is anything else I can do to assist you. Thank you.

      Abby – VetDC

      • Hi Everyone I just come across all your messages and I too have a lovely boy Snowie he is a 7 year old American staffy full of energy and life until about 2 months ago a lump was on his testicals so minor suddenly after a year being smaller than a mole grew into a huge throbbing lump size of a egg I took him to vet immediately and they recommended desexing and removing lump in one shot he recovered with no problems on the scar for 3 weeks until the 4th week after surgery he developed dark purple blue bruising around groin area and all his skin was inflamed and very hot to touch rushed to vet they said being almost 4 weeks now after surgery there might be infection and swelling and sent me home with 10 days antibiotics and 14 days anti inflamintorys today is 6th on the medicine andhe has really gone downhill vomiting watery thick bubles and dribbeling extremely high temperature shaking shooking quietly even tho he next to medicine didn’t do anything none of the swelling in groin has come down and today being 5 weeks after surgery he has almost the size of a rock Melon swelling internally in groin area he has swelling in throat and vet wanted to change medicine to stronger and come back to check if cancer after infection gone but his struggeling to walk get in car walk up retaining wall steps and his temp was 39,4 at vet sure it’s higher now he has night sweat all over body and seems to be losing a lot hair when you pat him dark purple bruising was in the groin area and he struggeling to pee like boy so he squatting he also now tonight showing one eye really dark rolling back and closing eye a lot the only positive thing is he put on 1.2 kilo in the last week hasn’t lost weight he still wants food I can’t afford chemo already last month cost me more than I could afford but I’d do it for him cos his my love all the sample testing they want to send to lab cost so much when I could be using it on medication to get him better but due to swelling and his random behaviour since his desexing 5 weeks ago I just don’t know what to do I don’t want to lose him the vet said without sending of to lab sounds like could be lymphoma cancer all the pain is in the swelling in groin how can I take that pain away ? Antibiotics not working 7th day tomorrow please anyone help me with wat to do I can’t afford another $230 on antibiotics for 14 days and revisit and more in 7 days. And I don’t want to leave him in pain I just want to make him Comfy as he is struggeling to get comfy due to all swelling😔

        • Hello Amanda –

          I am so sorry to hear about Snowie’s problems. It sounds like he is very lucky to have you and to be so deeply loved. I hope that you and your veterinarian are able to decide upon a course of treatment that will give him some relief. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help.

  7. Just found out that my beautful sweet wonderful dog has cancer.she is our best friend .i love so much.im just trying to find help for her.i am disabled an dont have alot of money but i will do anything for her.please if anyone knows of any place to help me i would be so grateful.

    • My snuggles was digonised with lymphoma just over a year ago he still with me , loss weight but eating well . Vet put him on steroids one a day I do cut back to half one a day for a few weeks, feed him well potatoes milk meat mix together, I give him boiled eggs along with his dog nuts , give him steroid half way through his feed leaves it easier on his stomach, snuggles was only a few months to live at the time ,

      • Hi Barry, we are very sorry to hear about your dog’s cancer diagnosis – news like that is always heartbreaking. It sounds like you are giving him the very best care you can at home. Thank you for telling us about him, and I hope he has many more tail-wagging days with you and your family.

    • Hi Robin, we are very sorry to hear about your dog’s cancer diagnosis – news like that is always heartbreaking and never easy to process. We recommend that you consult with your veterinarian on treatment plans for the specific type of cancer that your dog has been diagnosed with. Your veterinarian can discuss payment options with you if money is an issue. Additionally, you can do a google search for “veterinary assistance programs” and review the options presented in that search as there are many programs around the U.S. that provide financial assistance for pet care. We hope that you are able to find some valuable programs that help your dog in their fight against cancer. We wish you and your family all the best during this difficult time. – VetDC