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Hi and thanks for taking the time to read this.

I have a 12 yr old male lab who 5 years ago had a hemangiocytoma, 2 yrs ago had an external melanoma, and 1 year ago had a melanoma in the same spot as the prior one but internally...ya poor guy. All these were removed with wide margins taken out.

Two weeks ago my dog was standing up and then just slid down to a lying position. I thought it was his arthritis acting up suddenly although this never happened before. Upon further investigating I found all his external lymph nodes swollen. He had blood work done and the vet said he was anemic, x rays done that showed his mediastinal nodes also swollen. His lungs were clear and his temp was a bit elevated. He didn't see anything resembling cancer in his hind legs on xray. The vet suspected lymphoma or melanoma. He gave me Pred. and SMZ in case it was just an infection and the nodes would go down, they didn't. That same day of vet visit, my dog suddenly got a nose bleed, never had one before. He got several others although not as bad the next few days off and on. Now he hasn't had one in a week. I called the vet and scheduled tick and fungal titers, all came back negative. He is now on Doxycycline just to see if it would help, it hasn't. A couple days ago he started sneezing and today he has a crusty yellow discharge on his nostril and top of nose. His appetite is so so and ever since he "slipped" two weeks ago he's not been walking good and has a hard time getting up. This happened so suddenly, 2 weeks ago he suddenly slipped, then couldn't stand/walk good, appetite is down, nose discharge....

I would like to know if anyone has any ideas on if this could be something else besides cancer. The vet offered to do a biopsy of several nodes, which I'm still debating. I don't want to put him through more cutting and sedation if it is cancer, just to find out what kind of cancer it is. But then I'm also worried that it might not be cancer and some other virus or infection that wasn't picked up on, which may be treatable. I would really appreciate any help! Thanks!
 

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But then I'm also worried that it might not be cancer and some other virus or infection that wasn't picked up on, which may be treatable. I would really appreciate any help! Thanks!

This was my first thought... distemper comes to mind.

Distemper affects the respitory system and the nervous system.

Other than that I can only wish you good luck :)



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Eek I hope its not distemper. Does your dog have all his vaccines? Have you thought of taking your dog to another vet for a second opinion?
 

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Unfortunately it does sound like your vet is doing all of the right things. I would put distemper very low on the list.

I would highly suggest a fine needle aspirate of some lymph nodes. It really is tolerated extremely well by dogs and is usually not terribly expensive. This should definitely tell you if this is cancer or not.
 

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Thank you everyone for your help. I didn't think about distemper so thank you for bringing it to my attention. He's had vaccines and also the symptoms seem a bit different though. He's so tired, he hasn't gotten up on his own today and didn't even want to walk when we did get him up.

Dr. Marie, the fine needle aspirate is probably what I'm going to end up doing, I just don't know how I will even be able to get him into the vet at this point since he's so tired. I will call the vet tomorrow to see what to do.
I do have a question, if you could help me that would be great. The needle aspirate will tell me if it's cancer or not but if he's neg. for tick and fungal and if it isn't cancer, what other conditions might be causing these symptoms?

Thanks again everyone.
 

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Hi leosmama...there aren't a whole lot of other options unfortunately other than tick borne disease or cancer. For a bunch of lymph nodes to be swollen by far the most common is cancer. There is occasionally a systemic bacterial infection that can do this but this is not very common.

If this is lymphoma (the most common type of cancer to do this) it is usually quite simple to diagnose with the fine needle aspirate. There are good chemotherapy regimes available and dogs tend to handle them well.

I hope everything goes ok!
 

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Thanks again Dr. Marie. If it were lymphoma, wouldn't his white blood cell count be extremely high? His was normal so that's why I guess my hopes were up. Also, I was reading up on IMHA and the symptoms I came across are in line with his - lethargic, swollen nodes, low rbc, orange feces, increased breathing/pulse, enlarged liver. Could this be a possibility or would that only cause one or two swollen nodes, not all like his are? Thanks again for your expertise!
 

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Actually, many dogs with lymphoma have a totally normal white cell count. Often the only symptom is enlarged lymph nodes.

Hmmm...IMHA usually causes only very mild swelling in the lymph nodes and very severe anemia. It really doesn't sound like this.

Sorry for the delay...I only check this board every few days. If you ever need to contact me directly you can go to my website with the link below.

I hope your dog is ok!
 
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