Canine lymphoma is a condition that progresses over time and usually proves to be fatal. It occurs when lymphoid cells become malignant and spread throughout the body. Since these cells are present in virtually all areas of the body, the condition can occur virtually anywhere. It commonly originates in lymph nodes, intestines, stomach, or liver. . Other potential areas include the thymus, spleen, bone marrow testes, eyes, and skin.
Dogs of any breed can be affected by canine lymphoma. However, breeds such as Golden retrievers, Rottweilers, and Scottish Terriers are commonly affected. It can also occur at any age, although dogs certainly have an increased risk as they get older.
Vets don’t exactly know why lymphoma in dogs occurs. They assume that being exposed to pesticides and other harmful environmental factors may be to blame. Some dogs simply may just have a genetic disposition to developing the disease.
The most common sign of canine lymphoma is the presence of swollen lymph nodes. They can usually be felt or seen in certain areas of the body. Swollen lymph nodes that occur in the abdomen or chest won’t be able to be seen or felt however.
Dogs will also exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. As time goes on, they will have weight loss, trouble breathing, lethargy, and increased thirst and urination. Their skin may also become flaky, redden, or bump-ridden.
The vet will need to perform a thorough physical examination to see if canine lymphoma is the problem. Further tests including blood work and a urinalysis may also be necessary. In some cases, a biopsy of the lymph node or fine needle aspirate may be required.
There are various stages of lymphoma in dogs. For example, the first state is characterized by the involvement of a single organ or lymph node. As the disease spreads, the stages will become more advanced. Stage five occurs when the bone marrow becomes involved. Obviously, dogs in the latter stages of the condition will be much more difficult to treat.
Chemotherapy is the main method of treating dog lymphoma. Sometimes the drugs will be taken orally, while other times they will be injected. The are different chemotherapy protocols to choose from too. The particular one you choose will depend on how much money you’re willing to pay as well as the suggestions of your vet.
If canine lymphoma is left untreated, your dog will likely die within a couple of months. Treatment usually produces a remission which can last varying lengths of time. The average length of the remission is anywhere between six months and a year. Many dogs are able to achieve a second remission, which lasts less time than the first one. The condition is almost always fatal inevitably.