Basenji - Lymphoma Diagnosis and GI Issues
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    Dear Basenji Owners,

    I've been reading through these forums for some time, and have finally decided to post. We have a wonderful female Basenji, who just turned one in April. Throughout her short life she has struggled with GI issues, including chronic diarrhea that would pass and then return. She also has had allergic reactions twice, kennel cough once, and an eye infection. Her immune system has always seemed weak.

    A few weeks ago, we took her to an internist, and they ran blood panels. Her results indicated proteinuria. Then they did an ultrasound, and found a section of her intestine that appeared to have abnormal growths. A needle biopsy and lab testing of the lymph nodes and the intestine section did NOT confirm malignant tissue, but based on cellular composition and structure a diagnosis of lymphoma was made.

    We chose to proceed with a moderate dosage of prednisone instead of chemo and surgery. To date, our pup is also on Flagyl, Prilosec, and Benazepril (for the kidney related symptoms). Her kidneys have stabilized but the diarrhea has continued. Energy levels were decent and appetite was good.

    Two weeks ago I left on a trip, and the pup remained with my wife. Unfortunately, the next day she experienced hourly diarrhea with significant blood in the stool. The doctor prescribed a GI antibiotic: Tylan Powder. The day I returned (5 days later) the symptoms vanished. A week later stool is still messy with some blood at the end (a result of straining to poop further) but not nearly as bad as it was.

    The lack of a confirmed malignant tissue biopsy continues to bother me. We have been proceeding in full acknowledgement of the cancer diagnosis, yet I have read in these forums very similar situations that seem to be entirely GI related (stomach irritation, food sensitivity, stress sensitivity, etc.). Her current meal is Royal Canin GI kibble (prescription) mixed with boiled chicken and potatoes (and she gobbles it down). Perhaps we should try a change to her diet to at least help with the diarrhea? Maybe we are missing something on the diagnosis?

    Any input would be very much appreciated. Thank you

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  • Does your pup get better on the medications and then start to back slide when you ween her off the Meds?

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  • In my opinion, it's not cancer until you have a firm diagnosis with a biopsy. My dog has suspected osteoscarcoma (bone cancer) and then though testing (mri, xrays, etc) they felt that he didn't. Finally, I had surgery done to stabilize his spine (he was paralyzed) and they did a bone biopsy. The biopsy shocked us all when it came back as malignant.

    Your girl could have IBD, she could have ulceration and yes she could have GI lymphoma. You won't know for sure until you have the biopsy done. If she were my dog I'd do the biopsy and take it from there.

    I'm sorry you are going though this, especially with such a young girl :(.

    last edited by CrazySenji
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  • Was she tested for ISPID and/or EPI? https://www.basenji.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=166&Itemid=292#ImmunoProliferative

    I too would wonder about the cancer diagnosis and prednisone can/does cause many, many side effects.

    Most important have you talked to the breeders?

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  • Also have you tried adding Probiotics? And what exactly is in the Royal Canin GI kibble? Is there any corn or beet pulp? Personally I don't consider any of the so called prescription foods very good or helpful.

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  • I have to say that I lost a four month girl to almost the same symptoms. Right down to the odd intestine part where it almost looked like it had telescoped or accordioned. Ultrasound revealed odd "dents" on her spleen and the intestine thing. We went to four excellent vets including Ryan Hospital at U Penn. we couldn't figure it out - no abnormal cells when they drew from the lymph node. We even went through most of those same Meds. She would get better- bloody diarrhea and diarrhea would go away but would come back after we weened her off the Meds. We heard this : these could be signs of cancer but we have never seen it in such a young puppy. We had to let her go the last time we went in because her systems were shutting down. The vet at U Penn asked if she could do a necropsy because they really wanted to know what took her little life. She had lymphoma. I hope and pray that your diagnosis turns out to be different. my puppy went down hill fast after we weened her off the prednisone.

    last edited by Kebasmom
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    Thank you all for your responses. I really appreciate the feedback, and it is actually nice to hear what you have to say and not be alone in this. I'll try to respond in order:

    @ Kebasmom: we have actually not weened her off the meds at all (its been about a month and a half now). She has been fairly consistent in her messy diarrhea. The extreme episode we had with her I believe was stress related when I left on a business trip abruptly (and then it resolved when I returned). Actually, she also had an extreme episode when she had the biopsy done, and then had similar problems: very messy poop every 45 minutes with lots of blood. Both times she resolved after.

    @ CrazySenji - the biopsy was done (section of the intestine and the lymph nodes) and there was NO confirmed malignant tissue, but cellular makeup was consistent with cancerous tissue.

    @ Tanza - I am not certain if they tested or IPSID or EPI. EPI does not sound like her. But IPSID does. Part of the problem has been that the doctors are 99% focused on the lymphoma diagnosis. I can understand that is what the evidence shows, but without a confirmation on the biopsy I am still hesitant to take that as 100% confirmation.

    Also, upon reviewing the ingredients for the Royal Canin GI, it does include beet pulp and various forms of chicken. And further to that end, we are in regular touch with the breeder (who is really excellent), and it seems that the other pups have experienced various forms of illness. Unfortunately, one of the pups died from lymphoma at age 6 months (I know that is a major indicator for my pup), but three of the others show no signs of cancer and instead have suffered GI issues since birth. I also found out today that those three pups have been weaned off of chicken and onto a Venison and Sweet Potato kibble diet which has seemed to resolve many of their issues. Perhaps a chicken allergy is possible? We have been giving her chicken in various forms since she was very young.

    Thank you all again, and we appreciate your responses.

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    Also @ Kebasmom: unfortunately what you describe sounds very similar to our little pup. I'm so sorry for your loss and appreciate you sharing.

    I want to be realistic about what is happening, and I can see the road ahead of us. Still, you never know...

    Thanks

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