by Debbie Cullingworth
(Temecula, CA, USA)

Reader Question: Are There Any Alternatives to Chemotherapy For Dogs With Lymphatic Cancer?


My Jack Russell, Suzi is 13 years old and has been diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, has anyone had to deal with this and how do you treat it without chemo?


Vet Explains Chemo Does Not Harm Dogs with Lymphatic Cancer

Hi Debbie,

I’m sorry to hear about your dog’s diagnosis. Unfortunately, lymphoma is a very common type of cancer in dogs.

Without appropriate treatment, most dogs with lymphoma survive for about four to eight weeks after diagnosis, but a variety of therapeutic options are available that fit almost any situation. For owners who do not want to pursue chemotherapy, treatment with oral prednisone alone can greatly improve a dog’s quality of life, although not necessarily its survival time.

Many people are worried that chemotherapy will make their dogs feel sick, but in fact this does not occur very often. Most canine chemotherapy patients continue to eat is active, an only rarely experience gastrointestinal upset or significant hair loss. If concerns about the side effects of chemotherapy are the reason you have decided against it, you might want to reconsider. Dogs that receive standard chemotherapy protocols are typically “disease free” for several months to about a year, but some do significantly better or worse than average.

Nutrition also plays a role in treating lymphoma. Diets that are relatively low in carbohydrates but high in protein, fat, and essential fatty acids are best.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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