Re: Thymoma - asking for information
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I had a rabbit several years ago that was diagnosed with a thymoma. I had noticed the nictating membrane on both eyes was frequently visible and took him in thinking it was an eye infection. While he was there, the vet noted he was also having a little trouble breathing when he was put on his back. X-rays confirmed a mass in the upper thoracic. I had noticed several months earlier that he seemed to have a large dewlap for a male, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. The vet told me that thymomas come in two flavors - lymphocytic and nonlymphocytic. One responds to prednisone, the other doesn't. My rabbit was put on prednisone twice a day for 10 days and once a day thereafter. Fortunately, his thymoma was the type that responded. His eyes and breathing were back to normal within days. He was on prednisone for the remainder of his life, and he lived 1-1/2 years after his diagnosis. I suspect that he passed away from some sort of cancer; he slowly lost weight and lost the ability to lose his back legs despite eating normal quantities of food the last year of his life.
One of the other volunteers I work with at my local animal shelter also had a rabbit diagnosed with a thymoma that was put on prednisone. He lived for three years after diagnosis and passed away from other causes.
My beloved 11 year old bunny Yogi has been diagnosed with possible thymoma two months ago. It was an absolutely devastating news and I had very difficult time dealing with it. I decided to not go the chemotherapy or radiation route at his advanced age but I am now considering steroids. He has been doing OK for the past two months since his diagnosis but 2 days ago I noticed that when he is grooming and his body is twisted to one side, his right eye becomes more pronounced, almost bulging but when he straightens his body it looks fine again, maybe it's just a little bit bigger. I called his exotic vet right away to discuss our options so that he doesn't suffer unnecessarily and he suggested starting steroids (which he considers an alternative to euthanasia).
I heard very different stories about steroid use in bunnies so I was wondering if those of you who had the misfortune of going through that could share your experiences with using steroids for thymoma, whether it was helpful and if there were any side effects. I’m really not ready to say goodbye to Yogi yet but not knowing how quickly it will be progressing, I don’t want to put him in a situation when he will be suffocating and not able to breathe so it would be really helpful if you could also share your experiences with the speed of progression of that illness, whether it progresses really quickly and one day I might find him unable to breathe or whether it will be slowly getting worse and worse and I will be able to catch it in time and decide when it is time to put him to sleep :(
I know his time with us is very limited but I want to do what is best for him during that time so I would appreciate it if you could share your experiences and help me make the decision that would serve him the best.
Thank you very much,
Beata and Yogi
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