Tuesday morning I took Sage to the vet. She had thrown up a rock and we'd been watching her for the past day or so because she didn't seem to be eating much. I felt a lump in her throat and thought she had something caught here. The vet examined her and said the lump was a swollen lymph node and that there were swollen lymph nodes throughout her body.
He said the most common cause was lymphoma. He x-rayed to make sure there were no more rocks (there weren't) and ran labs on her blood and urine to rule out other possibilities (such as a rare infection caused by ticks) and then she went in for a biopsy on Wednesday.
This morning we got the call confirming it is lymphoma. Sage hasn't kept food down all week. So the treatment plan is to take her in today for anti-nasea injections and start steroids. The doctor explained the rule of thirds with the steroids: one-third of dogs will go into a complete remission (lasting 30 to 90 days), one-third will go into a partial remission, and one-third will not respond to steroid treatment at all.
Chemotherapy was an option, but we've ruled it out. It would be 6 months of chemotherapy and the doctor thinks she would get one good year out of it. It is expensive: $3,000 to $5,000 just for the chemotherapy. Not that any of this is cheap -- we've spent $1,000 so far this week on the exam, x-rays, labs, biopsy, etc. (We have a 6-month moratorium on getting any more pets after Sage. But if we start talking about it, will someone please remind me that we can't afford another pet!)
Remember my post about Sandy adding water to Sage's food and how we couldn't seem to stop her?