Pebble’s Personal Journey

Gorgeous, sweet ten-year-old Pebbles, an Italian Spinone, was first diagnosed with cancer almost three years ago and could have died within days due to the rapid growth of the tumour on her windpipe and lungs.

However, her owner was determined to give her girl the best chance of living a good life with help from our Oncology and Internal Medicine teams using a LOPP Regime, known as the gold standard of chemotherapy treatments for lymphoma in dogs.

Our team quickly realised Pebbles would be an ideal candidate for chemotherapy as she was not fearful of new places or people, could be examined without stress and loved outings and trips in the car to us.

Our Oncology team will always assesses the individual needs of every patient we see. We work with our clients to provide clear options and present the most suitable treatment course for every pet.

Her owner tells her story “Our story starts back in the summer of 2021. Pebbles, who was 7 at the time, was really struggling with the heat, more so than her older brother and much younger niece.  She declined very rapidly and upon a quick dash to the vet we found she had fluid on her lungs and because of this a simple scan was impossible to see what was going on. 

I immediately opted for referral and a full CT scan.  Pebbles was seen the next day and unfortunately it was discovered that she had a huge, incredibly aggressive T-Cell Lymphoma tumour in her chest cavity (hence her difficulty breathing).  From first symptoms to CT scan was 5 days – I cannot stress to you how quickly these things can progress.  Pebbles situation was pretty much worse case scenario, the tumour was inoperable and due to its aggressive nature, it was very well advanced, however, and this is the bit that shocked me, sometimes those types of cancer respond the most successfully to chemo.

Finding out your precious friend needs this level of treatment to survive is a truly upsetting and daunting prospect but it can be highly effective and, if administered correctly and sympathetically, doesn’t come with nearly the level of side effects experienced in humans.

The LOPP Regime, which is a 24-week protocol consisting of two different drugs, with two weeks on and one week off, is not for every dog, especially if the treatment is going to cause more stress than the benefits it gives. Every dog is different and will respond in different ways, taking note of their symptoms and general behaviour will really help when you discuss with your dog’s Oncologist vet about how the treatment is going so they can adjust the dosage accordingly.

My choice to start Chemotherapy with Pebbles was actually not a choice at all, without it she would have perhaps lasted a few days due to the rapid growth of the tumour on her windpipe and lungs.  But chemo gave us an additional two-and-a-half years with our girl. Something I will be eternally grateful for. Pebbles taught me more than anybody else ever could about how important it is to live in the moment and how to embrace every single day like it is your last. “

Sadly Pebbles is no longer with us to the devastation of her owner, but she is now urging other dog owners who are in the same position to consider whether chemotherapy might be the best option for their own pets, she said “Pebbles was given a year maximum to live if she responded well to treatment, she surpassed all our wildest dreams and gave us far longer and in that time her quality of life was much improved.”

Many years ago, cancer was often considered to be a terminal diagnosis with few options, especially for pets. However, over the last few decades, oncology has become one of the most rapidly developing branches of veterinary medicine. We are fortunate at AMVS as we are one of only a handful of multidisciplinary animal hospitals in the UK which can offer so many treatment options for our cancer patients.