I have lots of experience dealing with lymphoma in dogs and cats. I used to work for an internal medicine specialist for 3 years and then at my last hospital we routinely treated lymphoma. As others have said dogs and cats tend to do WAY better than humans as far as chemo goes. Out of the many dogs and cats I've seen treated, I've only seen one or two with negative reactions to the chemo (diarrhea and vomiting). In both cases we just switched the type of chemo used and this fixed the issue. Staging the cancer may help you make a more informed decision. Some lymphomas, while incurable, are quite treatable and you can send a dog or cat into remission. I've seen several dogs go into remission and live several happy years after a lymphoma diagnosis.
The most effective method is a multi-modal approach. This means giving a variety of chemo agents over the course of several months. Often it starts with frequent IV doses of chemo, then rest weeks, then oral, then IV, etc, so you wouldn't necessarily need to give a lot of medications and often a chemo drug is given once and not daily. I would talk to your vet more about it. She is so young and if otherwise healthy she may be able to fight it and go on to live many happy years with your family.
I am so sorry! I really have no experience with cancer treatment, by the time Arnie was diagnosed with lung caner it was too late for any treatment. Many prayers for all of you.
"....or even a year..." Keep in mind that for a dog with a life expectancy of 12 years, "a year" is about 10% of the dog's total life expectancy, or the equivalent of about 7 years for a person. Giving a dog an extra year is giving them a long, long time from THEIR perspective. And most dogs tolerate chemo very well; it does not make them violently ill like it does with people, mostly because the dosing is very different but also because dog's physiology is different than ours. There are many things I would not put a dog through, but I would try chemo in a heartbeat. And if your dog reacts very badly to it, you do not have to continue. What is the harm of trying a few doses to see how she does?
Here is an excellent article from a top hospital.
"Most dogs tolerate chemotherapy well, much better than humans typically do. Although some dogs do get sick from chemotherapy, serious side effects are uncommon. In general, fewer than 5% of dogs treated for lymphoma using chemotherapy will experience side effects that need to be managed in a hospital setting. The most common side effects include loss of appetite, decreased activity level, and mild vomiting or diarrhea that persists for one or two days."
"In general, 70-90% of dogs with multicentric lymphoma treated with UW-25 experience complete or partial remission of their lymphoma, with most dogs experiencing complete remission."
"The median length of survival of dogs with multicentric lymphoma treated with UW-25 chemotherapy is between 9-13 months. (The term “median” implies that 50% of dogs will survive beyond this time point and 50% of treated dogs will die before this time point.) "
I am a huge fan of acupuncture both for myself and Max. Tried it for Max as a last resort to help his pain from a severe calcification in his neck because I couldn't bear the thought of losing him but I could not allow him to live in that kind of pain. I was so impressed...it gave me my boy back.... that I started going for my back. I have a fusion in my lower back and shots were not doing it for me any more. I have had great success with it for pain relief.
That being said I don't know if I would feel comfortable using it as the only treatment for cancer. Depending on the stage and prognosis I would pursue vet medical treatment and use acupuncture as a means to control any pain or uncomfortable side effects from chemo.