Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"
My dog Parker (a Pitbull who thinks he's a Lamb) is about 7 years old (I adopted him in '03 from my local animal shelter so I'm not sure of his age). He was diagnosed with Lymphoma in April '07. He has been through the Madison WI protocol twice. Reacted very quickly to the first round and went almost directly into remission, but in February '08 started to relapse. We started the same protocol again, which helped keep the lymph node swelling down, but he has had one resistant lymph node behind his knee. We have now tried Lomustine (CEENU) with Elspar, and Baytril with Prednisone 3 times, but it doesn't seem to be putting him into remission. He went for a follow-up yesterday, and my vet says 4 more lymph nodes have also become palpable. She is not an oncologist (I can't afford that), but consults with one. I am now thinking of trying these things you find when doing a Google search....Essiac Tea, and something called K9 Immunity Food and Supplements. Do you have any information as to the benefit of these? Could they actually cause him harm? And more importantly, can you tell me if there are any new chemo drugs that he might try? He's an amazing dog, very loving and intelligent with a huge will to live. I think this has been harder on me then on him, but when I adopted him I took on a responsibility to care for him the best I can. And he's a great guy. Any help or suggestions you can give me would be so appreciated.
Lili Duda, VMD, Section Editor of the OncoLink Veterinary Oncology Menu, responds:
If you are working with a general practitioner (GP) who is consulting with an oncologist, you should ask their opinion as to any alternative medicines and supplements they would like to try, and follow their advice regarding safety, interactions with current medications, etc. To date, there have been no alternative therapies that have proven benefit in treating lymphoma. In addition, some of the therapies can be very expensive. Rather than investing money in these unproven therapies, I would suggest that the money is better spent on obtaining a consultation with a board-certified medical oncologist. You might also consider looking at the Veterinary Cancer Society's website for any clinical trials that might be in your area.