About Elliott

Elliott is a 13.5 year old Catahoula Leopard Dog mix.  He was probably born out on the street, or in a junkyard (based on location and circumstances of his rescue); I adopted him when he was nearly two years old and provided him his first-ever home.  He had no significant health issues until three years ago when he developed hypothyroidism; his first signs were lethargy and a reluctance to exercise so I took him in for blood tests and x-rays of his hips, shoulders, and elbows.  The blood test showed hypothyroidism, the x-rays showed good joints but incidentally showed a very small liver.  Elliott had a laprascopic biopsy of his liver which revealed chronic active hepatitis (CAH).  One of his liver enzymes had been mildly elevated for some time but he did not have (and never has had) any symptoms of this liver condition.

Elliott’s CAH was monitored over the years with blood tests, abdominal ultrasounds, and a repeat biopsy was done in 4/09 which showed no significant progression of the disease and no secondary copper accumulation, an issue in some dogs with CAH.  I maintained him on a bunch of antioxidant supplements including Denamarin, Oxstrin, and Cell Advance.

Two months ago (4/10) his abdominal ultrasound showed a sludge-filled gall bladder.  This can be a sign of an developing mucocele, so we planned to repeat the ultrasound soon.   Two weeks ago (6/12/10) I brought him in for a recheck; the ultrasound showed nothing new and the gallbladder actually looked better.  That Friday, 6/18, my mother came to visit and brought him a bunch of new (junk-food-type) treats.  He was happy, ate well, and had a great day.  The next day, Saturday–one week after his ultrasound–he started drooling and smacking his lips, and vomited later that day.  I gave him anti-nausea medication which he promptly vomited.  On Sunday I fasted him and he looked a little better, so I fed him a small meal Monday morning and went to work.

When I got home, he had vomited all over the apartment.  That night he spent drooling and clicking his teeth, so I set the alarm early and took him in to work with me (I work at a specialty animal hospital).  I thought at worst his liver had suddenly got worse, at best he had pancreatitis or gastritis from all the junk food on Friday.  His internist immediately noticed that his peripheral lymph nodes were enlarged (under the jaw, front of the neck, in the armpits, in the back legs) and took him up to ultrasound.  He had huge abnormal lymph nodes in his abdomen, his spleen was big and ugly, and his liver also looked abnormal.  This was exactly 10 days after his full exam showed nothing.

They aspirated all of the lymph nodes and made slides.  When I heard the internist page the oncologist to the lab (where the microscope is), my stomach flip-flopped.  The internist came to me a few minutes later and told me that Elliott had lymphoma, stage IV, and flow cytometry later confirmed it was high-grade B-cell lymphosarcoma.

It’s not clear to me if he has true multi-centric lymphoma, or if he has liver & spleen (hepatosplenic) lymphoma that has spread.  The treatments are the same though the prognosis is worse for the latter.  Given his exact circumstances, I suspect hepatosplenic but the question is academic.

After discussing things extensively with his oncologist, we are going to try the gold-standard CHOP (aka Wisconsin-Madison aka UWM) protocol of Cytoxan, vincristine, doxorubicin, and prednisone.  His underlying liver disease means that he may not tolerate the vincristine or doxo but we will try.



  1. Do you have the results of his genetic testing yet?

    • The test is run only once a week, and results may not be back till Friday 😦

  2. I’m so glad you started a blog and put the link in your FDMB signature. I was just wondering about how your baby was doing and was going to post on the board to ask. Tons and tons of prayers for you two.

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