Healthy dog quickly becomes sick with possible cancer

I just want to take a break from photography blogs to talk about what's going on in my life currently because, well, it just sucks!

Back in 2021, I had been begging my husband to get another GSD (german shepherd dog). He finally gave in, and in October of 2021, we got Trooper at 8 weeks old. He went through training as a pup and he became my best friend. He knows he can cuddle me and give me those big puppy eyes and get whatever he wanted. He loves going hike with me and my husband and is always up for going to Lowes and Black Rifle (for the puppicino, of course).

He was seemingly a very healthy, energetic dog until November of 2023. He went from devouring his dry dog food to not eating at all. He quickly lost a lot of weight and it was very visible. After trying all the tricks I could think of including chicken and rice, he still refused to eat. December 1, I brought him into the local vet. They did a physical exam and determined that something wasn't right with his abdomen. Ultrasound and Xray confirmed that his spleen was enlarged and his urine and blood work were all off. We did a couple more tests to see if we could exclude certain diseases like Addisons and all of those were negative. The Dr. put him on a round of steroids. After only a few days, he was eating again and starting gaining weight and energy back. After about two weeks, he was completely back to normal. I took him back to get blood work done and everything went back to normal in his lab results.

After things were going back to normal, the veterinarian decided that we may be looking at a autoimmune disorder of the spleen since he responded well to the Prednisone. She told us that once he got off the steroids, it may or may not return and that would indicate whether or not it was autoimmune. I was hopeful we had found the answer and the cure, possibly.

Middle of January comes and Trooper had been off the steroids now for about two weeks. One day, he just stopped eating all together and refused even the chicken and rice which was he favorite. We tried everything from treats, to different kinds of meat, cheese, eggs, but he wanted nothing to do with any of it. He also was really thirsty and would only drink water from the sink not from a bowl. So called the vet and she quickly put him back on steroids. We went over a week on the high dose of steroids but nothing improved. He still wasn't eating, was very lethargic, and was just wasting away slowly. We went to the vet a week later and they did more tests and all his numbers on his labs were so off and even worse than the first go around. He was down 10 lbs from the last visit weighing in at only 55 pounds.

Nothing was helping and 2 days later, I gave up and took him into the emergency vet. Med Vet was so helpful and they ran a couple more extensive tests after they saw that his calcium was high on both lab results. Turns out that his ionized calcium is also high and that points to cancer being the most possible solution. I was in disbelief because he is only two years old. He was just healthy a few months ago and responded well to the steroids just a month prior. The Dr. there says she is leaning towards lymphoma of the spleen and I will have to take him to a specialist to get that verified and see if we can treat it.

So here I am calling around to get quotes on a specialist ultrasound and possible oncologist. The emergency Dr. told me that we will see him respond to the steroids until the cancer takes over and then he will become non-responsive to the steroids. He is currently responding to double the dose he was on prior to the emergency visit. He actually is so hyper and eating like crazy and back to being himself.

I don't know what the future holds but I was told the prognosis doesn't look great and we would need to prepare for a possible bad outcome. Until then, we are trying to see what to do and who to see about this. I keep thinking they may be wrong somehow, someway especially when you see him happy, healthy looking, and back to being his hyper self when he takes the steroid treatment.

I'm sure I will update eventually ...