Lymphosarcoma in dogs is a very serious condition. It occurs whenever cancerous cells affect lymphoid tissue and lymphocytes. This type of tissue is found in many different areas of your dog’s body. This means that the disease can affect virtually any part of the body such as the spleen, gastrointestinal tract, bone marrow, and liver.
Professionals don’t exactly know what causes canine lymphosarcoma. One of the main theories is that it occurs because of constant exposure to UV rays. Other suspected causes include bacterial and viral infections and exposure to certain toxins such as cigarette smoke.
Lymphosarcoma in dogs can occur at any age. However, it’s usually a problem for canines between the ages of six and nine years old. It should also be noted that certain breeds have a predisposition to developing this type of cancer. Some of them include Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and German Shepherds.
The signs caused by canine lymphosarcoma can vary dramatically. In milder cases, your canine will lose his appetite and be tired in general. If the condition is worse, symptoms such as diarrhea, breathing difficulty, vomiting, weight loss, and excessive urination and thirst are common. These latter signs are caused when the gastrointestinal tract is affected.
Lymphosarcoma in dogs can also cause problems with their skin. It may turn skin and become flaky or scaly. Lumps may also develop in the skin. You may notice that your dog is constantly scratching because of his itchy skin. The condition may also cause problems with the gums or footpads.
In order to diagnose canine lymphosarcoma, the veterinarian will need to perform a range of tests. Some of the most important are a urinalysis and complete blood count. It’s also important that a biopsy be done of the affected tissue.
Your dog may also need to undergo an abdominal ultrasound or chest x-ray. The vet will need to determine exactly what organs and lymph nodes are involved. As mentioned, the bone marrow can also be affected by lymphosarcoma in dogs, so a bone marrow aspirate may also be necessary.
The main method of treatment for canine lymphosarcoma is chemotherapy. Many dogs successfully go into remission after beginning a course of medications. However, some only experience a temporary remission. This period of remission typically lasts for half a year. If your dog successfully has a second remission, then it should last twice as longer. Eventually though, most of them succumb to the disease.