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Bone Marrow Cancer (Myeloma) in Dogs

4 min read



Your veterinarian may need to refer you to a veterinary oncologist for the latest information regarding treatment of this disease. Your dog may be hospitalized if there are high levels of urea - waste products and calcium in the blood. Also, if there is a bleeding disorder, or a significant bacterial infection, hospitalization may be required. A blood-cleansing procedure may be used, or blood may be withdrawn and replaced with an equal volume of fluids.


If possible, radiation therapy may be used on isolated areas, with the goal of curing the disease, or only to control signs and improve your dog’s condition. If there is a concurrent bacterial infection, it will be treated aggressively with antibiotics.


If your dog is being treated with radiation or chemical therapy, it will also need to be guarded against opportunistic infections that can result from the expected lowered immune response (known as immune compromised – a result of the treatment that is used to stop the growth of cancerous cells in the body). You will need to take care to prevent bacterial infections from occurring, such as those caused by puncture wounds from dog or cat fights. Dietary changes will be necessary if your dog is in kidney failure. Affected areas that are nonresponsive to chemotherapy, or single, solitary lesions may be removed surgically.


Living and Management


Your veterinarian will want to do a complete blood count and platelet count weekly for at least four weeks to assess bone-marrow response to the chemotherapeutic drugs. Blood tests with abnormal results will be repeated monthly to evaluate response to the treatment.


Protein analyses of the blood will be done monthly for several months until normal protein patterns are obtained. Once protein patterns have stabilized, monitoring will be periodically performed for signs of relapse. Abnormal skeletal X-rays should be repeated monthly every other month until they appear normal, and to evaluate your dog’s response to treatment.


Chemotherapy is intended to improve your dog’s condition, not to cure the multiple myeloma, but long remissions are possible. Relapse is an expected occurrence. The drugs that are being used will determine the side effects. Your veterinarian will go over what to expect, based on the types of drugs that are prescribed for treatment. Most patients develop mild low white-blood cell counts (leukopenia) during chemotherapy.



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