|Lucy as a puppy|
What is cutaneous lymphoma?
Many of you have probably heard of lymphoma which is a common cancer in dogs, the cutaneous form of lymphoma is very rare and only accounts for about 3-8% of all canine lymphomas. It is usually seen in middle aged to older dogs and it is divided into two forms epitheliotropic and nonepitheliotropic. Lucy had the epitheliotropic form, which is also known as mycosis fungoides. Clinical signs of early epitheliotropic lymphoma typically resemble that of inflammatory skin disease, which includes redness, scaling, itching, depigmentation, hair loss, ulceration, and crusting of the skin. I first noticed depigmentation and redness with Lucy. The skin lesions may be focal or generalized. Lucy’s skin lesions initially were focal around her mouth (which is a common location) and then spread to her nose and the skin around her eyes. Like any cancer metastasis to lymph nodes and other organs can occur. Nonepitheliotropic lymphoma is extremely rare in dogs but is the more common form in cats. Clinical signs typically include multiple, ulcerated, skin nodules.
|You can see the redness and the depigmentation around her muzzle, nose and eyes|
The prognosis for both forms of cutaneous lymphoma is poor. Recurrence is very common. Generalized epitheliotropic lymphoma is often treated with chemotherapy as well as steroids. Focal mycosis fungoides can be treated with surgery or radiation with or without chemotherapy. Focal mycosis fungoides has a slightly better prognosis. (source http://www.vet.uga.edu/vpp/CLERK/Nesbit/)
|Dreyfus took great care of her right up until the end|
|And she took great care of him!|
Prior to her diagnosis I said I would never put her through chemotherapy or radiation. After her diagnosis I did both. Why? Her cutaneous lymphoma was focal and I thought we could improve her quality of life as well as extend it. Did she suffer through any of these treatments? No, I was with her the whole time. Quick note about chemotherapy in dogs and cats, they receive much lower doses than humans and therefore tolerate it much better and often have very few side effects. When I realized that her condition wasn’t improving and she started eating less and less I knew it was time.
|The last photo of Lucy|