Animal Clinic of Kalispell - June 2019



TREATING TETON Overcoming Great Mountains

If you follow our Facebook page, you’ve probably seen the updates we’ve been posting about my dog, Teton. At the end of March, Teton was diagnosed with lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph system.

Early remission is a great sign, but if a number of weeks pass and they aren’t improving, we re-evaluate. Our goal is to make sure a pet has the best quality of life. If chemotherapy isn’t improving their quality of life, we won’t continue. Fortunately, in most cases, the dogs I’ve treated do respond well and are able to enjoy up to another

While my son was home for spring break, he noticed Teton had lost weight, wasn’t acting quite like himself, and had a couple of bumps under his jaw. When my wife and I returned from our vacation, I drove Teton straight to the clinic to run some tests. It’s never great to tell someone their dog has lymphoma, and it really wasn’t great to hear, but it was a great that we caught it super early. I started him on chemotherapy immediately and Teton responded well and was in remission after only one week.

great 12–18 months. I have been fortunate to actually cure a few dogs in my career that have had lymphoma! Hopefully that will be Teton, but if it isn’t, at least I can give him a good life until the end. I’m an incredibly pragmatic person. Life is precious because it doesn’t last forever. I have that same attitude with my own life and with my dog’s life. It sucks that my dog has cancer, but it’s not unusual for a 9-year-old male golden retriever to have lymphoma. All we can do is take care of him the best we can.

Teton has been running around with the other dogs in the backyard less than two hours after his treatment.

There’s no “good” cancer, but I am relieved that it’s lymphoma, because we have good chemo option available to treat it. Hearing the word chemotherapy understandably scares clients, because we know how sick it can make some people. The good news is that dogs aren’t like that. It’s very rare for dogs to lose their hair or even vomit. Even the dogs that do react, they usually are only sick one day after chemo and are fine once we start them on some nausea medication. I expect them to have an excellent quality of life throughout their treatment. Teton has been running around with the other dogs in the backyard less than two hours after treatment. As I mentioned, not all cancers respond to chemotherapy. There have been cases when I’ve advised clients not to start their dog or cat on chemo, and instead help them be as comfortable as possible during their last days. Even after starting a pet on a protocol, we might not finish it.

At the moment, I’m optimistic about Teton’s future. Dogs on chemo usually do quite well, until

the day they don’t anymore. Sometimes they take a bad turn in just two months, but we’ve been doing chemo treatments for several weeks now and Teton is still his wild, counter-surfing self. I’ll be happy to talk about how Teton’s doing to anyone who comes by the office, but if you want regular updates, be sure to follow our Facebook page at . I’ve been posting updates after chemo each week, so there are lots of great pictures of him to enjoy.

—Dr. Jevon Clark 406.755.6886


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