You may be feeling overwhelmed and scared if your pup has recently been diagnosed with Lymphoma. You are not alone. Canine Lymphoma is actually one of the most common types of cancer in dogs, and it can be deadly if left untreated.
In this blog post, we will discuss Lymphoma in dogs: its symptoms, treatment options, and ways to prevent it.
What Is Canine Lymphoma?
Dog lymphoma is a unique type of cancer that affects dogs. It is a malignant tumor that starts in the dog’s lymphatic system. The lymphatic system as a part of dogs’ immune system helps to fight infection. Lymphoma can cause tumors to form in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, bone marrow, and other organs.
Canine Lymphoma is the most common type of cancer in dogs. It is most often diagnosed in middle-aged to older dogs, with a median age of about eight years old. However, it can often occur in any age group. Male dogs are slightly more likely to develop Lymphoma than female dogs. There are indeed several different types of canine Lymphoma, which can differ in their clinical signs, prognosis, and treatment options.
Types of Lymphoma
We know, in fact, several different types of Lymphoma that can affect dogs, but the most common is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), which accounts for about 60% of all canine lymphomas. Other common types of dog lymphoma include follicular Lymphoma (FL), marginal zone lymphoma (MZL), and primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL).
Each type of dog lymphoma has its own unique characteristics, including the symptoms it causes, how it is diagnosed, and the treatments available.
What Causes Lymphoma in Dogs?
There is no one definitive cause of Lymphoma in dogs, but there are a number of factors that might contribute (and often do!) to the development of this type of cancer. Some of the most common causes include:
- Exposure to radiation / certain types of chemotherapy drugs
- Infections, such as those caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites
- Autoimmune disorders
- Gender (male dogs are more at risk than females)
There is also some evidence that suggests that exposure to environmental toxins, such as pesticides or herbicides, may increase the risk of Lymphoma in dogs.
Clinical Signs of Canine Lymphoma
Clinical signs of canine Lymphoma can vary significantly from dog to dog, and even from day to day in the same dog. The first sign of Lymphoma in a dog is often enlargement of the lymph nodes. This is often seen in the neck, armpits, and groin.
The other most common clinical signs of canine Lymphoma are weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia, and lethargy. Less common but still important signs include yellowing of the whites of the eyes (jaundice), difficulty breathing, coughing, increased urination and/or thirst, inflammation of the skin or eyes, and nosebleeds. Lameness (limping) can also occur if there is an involvement of the bones or joints.
The Most Common Symptoms Recap
-Lethargy or weakness
-Anorexia or decreased appetite
-Vomiting and/or diarrhea
-Hematologic abnormalities such as anemia, thrombocytopenia, and leukopenia
-Pale mucous membranes (gums) due to anemia
-Enlarged lymph nodes, especially in the head, neck, and chest regions
-Persistent fever not associated with any other known cause
How Is Canine Lymphoma Diagnosed?
There are several ways to diagnose canine Lymphoma. One is to perform a biopsy, in which a small sample of tissue is removed from the affected area for examination (and analyzed under a microscope). Another method is to test a sample of the dog’s blood for certain biomarkers that are associated with the disease.
A third, and increasingly common, way to diagnose Lymphoma is by using a technique called flow cytometry. This involves shining a laser on cells in a sample of blood or bone marrow and then measure the light that is scattered off of them.
Flow cytometry is becoming the preferred method for diagnosing Lymphoma in dogs because it is less invasive than a biopsy and can be used to confirm the presence of cancer cells even when there are very few of them present.
In addition, flow cytometry can be used to monitor the progress of the disease and to assess the effectiveness of treatment.
Stages of Canine Lymphoma
There are four stages of canine Lymphoma, each with its own set of symptoms and treatment options. Here’s a brief overview of each stage:
Stage 1: Cancer is confined to one lymph node or a small group of nodes. Symptoms can often be mild and easily mistaken for something else, such as a cold or flu. Treatment typically involves surgery to remove the affected lymph nodes, followed by chemotherapy.
Stage 2: Cancer has spread to two or more lymph node groups. Symptoms may be more pronounced and include weight loss, lethargy, and anorexia. Treatment typically involves chemotherapy.
Stage 3: Cancer has spread to major organs such as the liver, spleen, and lungs.
Stage 4: Cancer has spread to multiple organs and tissues. Symptoms are severe and treatment is typically limited to palliative care to improve quality of life.
Treating Lymphoma in Dogs
No matter what stage your doggy is in, there are treatment options available. If you think your dog may have Lymphoma, talk to your veterinarian about the best course of action for your pet. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve the prognosis for dogs with this disease.
Lymphoma in dogs is a serious condition, but it is treatable. With the right medical care, many dogs go on to lead happy, healthy lives.
If your dog has been diagnosed with Lymphoma, there are a number of treatment options available. The type of treatment that is ideal for your dog will depend on a number of factors, including the stage and type of disease, your dog’s overall health, and your personal preferences.
The Prognosis for Dogs with Lymphoma
The prognosis for dogs with Lymphoma varies depending on the stage of the disease. In the early stages, the prognosis is usually good, with around 50% of dogs surviving for one year or more. However, in later stages, the prognosis is much worse, with only around 10% of dogs surviving for one year or more. Treatment options are also limited in later stages and typically include chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
In most cases, dogs with Lymphoma have a good prognosis if they receive treatment, although cancer may come back at some point. The average survival time for pups with Lymphoma that are treated with chemotherapy is about one year.
However, some dogs live much longer, and a small number of dogs are cured of the disease. To conclude, no matter what stage your dog is in, there are treatment options
Living With Canine Lymphoma
Living with canine Lymphoma can be a challenge, but with the right care and support, you can manage it. Here are some tips for living with this disease:
- Stay positive. It’s important to stay positive and optimistic, even when things are tough. This will help you cope with the challenges of living with Lymphoma.
- Get support from your family and friends. Lymphoma can be a lonely disease, so it’s important to have people you can rely on for support.
- Get professional help if needed. If you find it difficult to cope with your dog’s diagnosis, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist can help you deal with the emotional stress of cancer.
- Make sure your dog is comfortable. Dogs with Lymphoma can experience a lot of pain and discomfort. Make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible by providing them with a soft bed, plenty of pillows, and anything else they need to be comfortable.
- Keep your dog’s weight under control. Lymphoma can cause dogs to lose weight, so it’s important to make sure your dog is getting enough food and staying at a healthy weight.
- Keep up with their vaccinations. Dogs with Lymphoma are more susceptible to infections, so it’s important to keep up with their vaccinations.
- Get regular exercise. Exercise can drastically help improve your dog’s overall health and well-being, so make sure you’re getting plenty of exercise yourself.
Is Lymphoma common in dogs?
It’s definitely not uncommon, moreover, dog lymphoma is the most common cancer in dogs.
How can I check if my pup has Lymphoma?
The best way to check if your dog has Lymphoma is to take them to the vet. They will be able to give you a thorough examination and tell you for sure if your dog has Lymphoma or not.
Can dog lymphoma be treated?
Yes, dog lymphoma can be treated. The key to successful cure is to catch Lymphoma early. You can find a variety of treatment choices, depending on the type and stage of your pet’s disease.
It’s important to work closely with your veterinarian to create a treatment plan that is right for your pet. Dogs with Lymphoma require close monitoring during treatment, as they are at risk for developing secondary infections
How much does the treatment cost?
Treatment for Lymphoma in dogs can be quite expensive, depending on the severity of the disease and the type of treatment required. Treatment options can range from administration of chemotherapy drugs to surgery, and costs can vary widely depending on the specifics of the case. In general, however, treatment for Lymphoma in dogs can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Will chemotherapy make my dog sick?
It always depends on the particular case. And the dog involved. However, generally speaking, chemotherapy drugs can make your dog sick if they’re not administered properly.
Chemotherapy is typically used to treat cancer, and while it can be effective in fighting the disease, it also comes with a number of side effects that can make your dog feel unwell.
The most common side effects include vomiting, appetite loss, diarrhea, and fatigue. If your dog is undergoing chemotherapy, be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully so that they don’t experience these negative effects.
How to tell if my doggy is in pain?
There are a few key ways to tell if your dog is in pain. One of the most obvious is if your dog cries or whimpers when you touch them in a certain area. Dogs may also avoid being touched in certain areas, or they may stand or sit very still as if they’re trying not to move.
Another common sign of pain is when your dog doesn’t eat or drink as much as usual, and you may also notice that their breathing is faster or slower than normal. If you think your dog might be in pain, it’s best to take them to the veterinarian for a check-up.
Should I put my dog down?
This is a difficult question, and it depends on the particular dog and the stage of Lymphoma. Some vets might recommend putting a dog with Lymphoma down as soon as Lymphoma is diagnosed, while others might wait until cancer has progressed significantly. Ultimately, it’s up to the pet owner to decide what’s best for their dog.
Lymphoma in Dogs: Our Final Thoughts
Lymphoma is a type of dangerous cancer that affects the lymphatic system in dogs. It can cause tumors to form in various parts of the body, including the liver, spleen, and bone marrow. Lymphoma is unfortunately one of the most common types of canine cancer, and it can be fatal if not treated.
While there is no cure for Lymphoma, there are treatments available that can prolong a dog’s life by months or even years. If you think your dog might have Lymphoma, take him to the veterinarian as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment.