Reo is a beautiful 4 year old Hungarian Vizsla. At the beginning of December Reo’s family noticed that the lymph nodes under her chin seemed enlarged. Concerned they took her to their local vet.
A sample was taken, and the family were shocked when the results returned compatible with lymphoma, and so she was referred to AURA.
Reo was still bright, happy and eating well, but she had started to retch overnight and her lymph nodes had grown noticeably in the past few days before her initial consultation with Dr Quentin Fournier. A sample of her lymph node was sent for flow-cytometry to try and better characterise her lymphoma. This was compatible with a high-grade diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, the most common subtype of lymphoma in dogs. A few cancer cells were also detected in her blood, which was consistent with a stage V disease.
The main treatment for high-grade lymphoma is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs kill the cells that are dividing. Rapidly progressive lymphomas usually respond very well to treatment, and chemotherapy is usually tolerated well in otherwise healthy patients.
Reo has started on her treatment known as a CHOP protocol. This protocol consists of the administration of 3 different chemotherapy drugs (vincristine, cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin) given weekly for the first 8 doses and then every 2 weeks. Alongside her chemotherapy Reo will also be on some medication at home to help assist her with any potential side effects she could experience.
We normally dispense cerenia & steroids alongside a chemotherapy potential. However we have recently started a clinical study looking at how else we can help patients with their side effects. Reo is one of our first patients starting in this new study.
This study involves giving the patients Aspartame (commonly known as a sweetener alternative to sugar that some people us in their tea, coffee or sometimes food). Chemotherapy drugs are processed through the liver and excreted into the gut. It has been proven for one commonly used chemotherapy drug used, Irinotecan, that the bacteria in the gut reactivates the chemotherapy and causes a reaction which can result in the patient having gastrointestinal issues. By giving a patient Aspartame, it blocks the enzyme from reactivating and therefore reduces gastrointestinal upset.
Our hope with this study is that Aspartame will help with side effects caused from other chemotherapies used, and not just Irinotecan.
It is important to note that our patients do not have the same degree of side effects to chemotherapy as humans, as the doses we give are not as high.
Our number one focus for treatment for all our patients is a good quality of life for as long as possible. Most dogs will go into complete remission (gross disappearance of the lymphoma), which will be long-lasting in a few, whilst most dogs will relapse at some point in the future.
As you can see the treatment is not stopping Reo from living her best life! The team will continue to monitor Reo, and work with her family to make sure that she continue to live life to the full.
From the families perspective ...........
We chatted with Reo’s Mum Helen, to hear how she came to visit AURA and how she feels Reo is getting on with treatment.
How did you first notice that something was wrong?
What happened when you visited your local vet?
How is chemotherapy treatment affecting Reo?
How are you finding your visits to AURA?