I’m Dr. Clayton Greenway with healthcareforpets.com and we’re answering questions this morning. This is a long one, “I have a ten-year-old German Shepherd approximately two months ago he started having diarrhea. Would last for several days and then a stool would form solid again. He’d be fine for five days and then the same thing would occur and this cycle continued until now his lymph nodes in his neck are quite swollen and have not reduced in size. The vet believes he has cancer but no tests or stool samples have been done do you have any suggestions?” This is a big question and can be a real issue, there could be something quite serious going on here. It looks as though there’s a lot of concern but not a lot of tests have been done. You got to remember for us veterinarians we do have to test to figure out exactly what’s going on with your dog just giving a really detailed history is sometimes not enough, it’s helpful but it’s not enough to really figure it out. The thing that really concerns me about this is that this question is from Cliff. Cliff’s dog has enlarged lymph nodes and dogs I mean this is a 10 and a half year old German Shepherd. They can get something called lymphoma and lymphoma is a type of cancer where you will see enlarged lymph nodes. There are other ways that it can present but that’s the very common way it does in dogs and it’s very easy typically to diagnose. The first thing you do is something called cytology. It’s you perform a fine needle aspirate, you poke the lymph node with a needle, spit that out on a slide, you send it to the lab and often they’re able to diagnose lymphoma simply from that so there are other ways that you might have to look for it. Sometimes doing x-rays, ultrasounds, things can get very expensive. The one nice thing about lymphoma is, it’s very treatable, they tend to have a good response to it, but you’re gonna want to talk to your veterinarian about that. This could obviously turn into a very complicated case. The diarrhea could be related to lymphoma, it could be that the lymphoma has made it to the digestive tract and so we’re going to want to treat diarrhea as a symptom of the lymphoma or in and of itself it’s something different. So other tests for the diarrhea could be performed like fecal testing, parasite testing, looking for a certain bacteria that might be running through the gut but this is something where there’s really no two ways around it, you’re gonna have to start doing some testing I know we all want to try to avoid the cost, but in some case it’s just that important and keep in mind that if you’re at home and you’re really worried about your dog I have to say that my clients are much more settled when they do go ahead. Spend the money figure things out, and then they can make the right decisions even if it means they’re not going forward with something complicated and expensive they know what’s happening with their dog so they can make other decisions, potentially final decisions if they need to and be settled with it so I would really recommend Cliff that you work with your veterinarian and make sure that they’re providing options that they’re not just giving you a huge estimate. Ask for maybe some simple tests and share with them you’re feeling about your finances and work with them to make sure that you get the information you need without breaking your bank. Ok I really appreciate the question thanks for coming to healthcareforpets.com where we’re dedicated to your pet’s health, keep those questions coming.