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Dog With Lymphoma: How to Best Care for Your Pet

Harlequin Great Dane

Having a dog with lymphoma is a very scary feeling. If your dog has recently gotten diagnosed with cancer of the lymph node, you may be feeling scared and alone. You are not alone!

There are many people out there who have gone through this same experience. In this blog post, we will discuss how to best care for your pet during this difficult time. We will talk about treatments, food options, and ways to keep your dog comfortable and happy.

DOG WITH LYMPHOMA: WHAT IS IT?

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that develops in the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is part of the immune system and helps to fight infection. Lymphoma can occur in any part of the body, but it most commonly affects the lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow.

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There are two main categories of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Amongst these, there are a variety of different types of canine lymphoma: mediastinal lymphoma, b cell lymphoma, gastrointestinal lymphoma, alimentary lymphoma, multicentric lymphoma, cutaneous lymphoma, t cell lymphoma, extranodal lymphoma, etc.

HODGKINS LYMPHOMA

Hodgkin’s lymphoma is the more common type of the two, and it tends to affect younger dogs.

NON HODGKINS LYMPHOMA

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is less common, but it can occur in any age group.

Lymphoma is a very serious disease, but it is important to remember that there are many treatment options available. With the proper treatment, your dog can live a long and happy life.

ALIMENTARY LYMPHOMA

Alimentary or gastrointestinal lymphoma is the most common type of canine lymphoma. It begins in the stomach or intestines and tends to affect older dogs.

Symptoms of alimentary lymphoma include:

  1. Vomiting (Stomach issues)
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Weight loss
  4. Lethargy

The prognosis for alimentary lymphoma is generally good. With treatment, most dogs will go into remission and live for several years.

MULTICENTRIC LYMPHOMA

Multicentric lymphoma is the most common type of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It begins in the lymph nodes and tends to affect young to middle-aged dogs.

Symptoms of multicentric lymphoma include:

  1. Enlarged lymph nodes
  2. Lethargy
  3. Weight loss
  4. Poor appetite
  5. Fever

The prognosis for multicentric lymphoma is good. With treatment, most dogs will go into remission and live for several years.

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CUTANEOUS LYMPHOMA

Another type of lymphoma is called cutaneous lymphoma. Cutaneous lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in the skin. It tends to affect older dogs and can occur anywhere on the body.

Symptoms of cutaneous lymphoma include:

  1. Skin lesions
  2. Hair loss
  3. Itching
  4. Lethargy
  5. Weight loss
  6. Pain (Pain Management Tip)

The prognosis for a cutaneous lymphoma diagnosis is good. With treatment, most dogs will go into remission and live for several years. With the right treatment, lymphoma can be managed.

EXTRANADOL LYMPHOMA

Extranodal lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins outside of the lymph nodes on your dog’s body. It can occur in any organ, but it most commonly affects the skin, eyes, and brain.

Symptoms of extranodal lymphoma vary depending on the location of the tumor.

The prognosis for extranodal lymphoma is generally good. With treatment, most dogs will go into remission and live for several years.

MEDIASTINAL LYMPHOMA

Mediastinal lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in the mediastinum. The mediastinum is the area between the lungs. It is the most common type of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and it tends to affect young to middle-aged dogs.

Symptoms of mediastinal lymphoma typically include:

  1. Enlarged lymph nodes
  2. Coughing
  3. Difficulty breathing
  4. Lethargy
  5. Weight loss

The life expectancy and prognosis for mediastinal lymphoma is good. With treatment, most dogs will go into complete remission and live for several years with proper veterinary medicine at first onset of clinical signs.

DIAGNOSING DOG LYMPHOMA

If you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog in correspondence with one another, you should consider getting them checked for canine lymphoma:

  1. Enlarged lymph nodes
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. Weight loss
  4. Lethargy
  5. Vomiting
  6. Diarrhea
  7. Abdominal pain

These are just a few of the potential symptoms, so if you notice anything out of the ordinary, it is always best to consult with your veterinarian.

ENLARGED LYMPH NODES IN DOGS

The lymph node in dogs is located in different parts of the body. The most common place is behind the knee joint, along the chest wall, under the chin, in front of the shoulder blades, and in front of the elbow joint.

If you notice that any of your dog’s lymph nodes are enlarged, it is important to take them to the vet right away. Bone marrow and lymph node biopsies will likely be done in order to make a definitive diagnosis. (If you notice any swelling in the mammary glands, consider checking your dog for mammary cancer).

Enlarged lymph nodes are the most common symptom of lymphoma in dogs. However, they can also be caused by other things, such as infections. This is why it is so important to have your dog checked out by a veterinarian if you notice any enlargement.

Although there is not a definite genetic link to cancer, there have been more studies done showing genetic ties to certain cancers, like Osteosarcoma. When looking for a new puppy, be sure to avoid breeder scams, and choose from a breeder who health tests their dogs. (Is Embark a ‘Good Enough’ Health Test?)

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IS LYMPHOMA IN DOGS COMMON?

Most dogs will not develop lymph node cancer, but some breeds are more susceptible than others. The most common breeds of dogs that get lymphoma are:

  1. Golden Retrievers
  2. Boxer dogs
  3. Bullmastiffs
  4. Boston Terriers
  5. Beagles
  6. Shetland Sheepdogs
  7. Basset Hounds

Dogs who are between the ages of six and eight years old have the highest risk of developing the disease.

TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR DOGS WITH LYMPHOMA

There are many different treatment options available for dogs with lymphoma. The type of treatment your dog will receive will depend on the stage of their disease, their age, and their overall health.

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TREATMENT OF YOUR DOG’S LYMPHOMA

The most common treatments for your dog’s cancer in the affected lymph nodes is chemotherapy. This can be given as an injection or orally, and it works to kill the cancer cells.

SURGERY FOR DOGS WITH LYMPHOMA

Surgery is another option, but it is usually only recommended for dogs with early-stage disease. Surgery involves removing the affected lymph nodes.

RADIATION THERAPY TO TREAT LYMPHOMA IN DOGS

Radiation therapy is another treatment that can be used to kill cancer cells. It is usually given in conjunction with chemotherapy.

CHEMOTHERAPY PROTOCOLS FOR LYMPHOMA IN DOGS

Chemotherapy drugs can be used for dogs with lymphoma. Dogs treated with chemotherapy usually receive a combination of two or more drugs. The most common combinations are:

  1. Doxorubicin and vincristine
  2. Cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin
  3. L-asparaginase, vincristine, and prednisone

Your dog will be closely monitored during treatment as dogs tolerate chemotherapy differently.

SIDE EFFECTS OF CHEMOTHERAPY FOR LYMPHOMA CELLS

The most common side effects of chemotherapy are:

  1. Nausea and vomiting ranging from mild vomiting to extreme
  2. Loss of appetite (What Foods Help a Dog’s Upset Stomach?)
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Hair loss (Skin and Hair Solutions)
  5. Weight loss
  6. Fatigue

Affected dogs may also experience some side effects from the varying treatments themselves. These side effects will depend on the type of treatment your dog is receiving as well as your dog’s health going into the treatment.

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These side effects are usually temporary and will go away once treatment is completed. If you are concerned about any of the side effects your dog is experiencing, please consult with your veterinarian.

As with any cancer, lymphoma is a very serious disease. However, there are many treatment options available, and with the proper care, your dog can live a long and happy life.

OTHER DOG LYMPHOMA TREATMENT OPTIONS

There are many other potential treatment options for your dog, so it is important to discuss all of the options with your veterinarian. They will be able to create a treatment plan that is best for your dog based on their individual needs.

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ARE CANINE LYMPHOMAS PREVENTABLE?

Canine lymphoma is not a preventable disease, but there are some things you can do to help your dog stay healthy and reduce their risk of developing the disease. These include:

  1. Feeding them a nutritious diet
  2. Keeping them at a healthy weight
  3. Exercising them regularly
  4. Working to keep their immune system healthy
  5. Taking them to the vet for regular check-ups

A dog’s body is constantly fighting off cancer cells, and a strong immune system is vital in helping them to do so.

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent your dog from developing lymphoma, these tips can help give them the best chance possible.

Caring for a dog with lymphoma can be challenging, but it is also very rewarding.

HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR DOG HAS LYMPH NODE CANCER? [THE CLINICAL SIGNS]

Although an enlarged lymph node can mean other things, it should always be a red flag to get your dog checked out by the veterinarian.

The disease progresses fast, and the sooner you catch it, the better.

Other clinical signs that your dog may have lymphoma include:

  1. Weight loss
  2. Lethargy
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Fever
  5. Difficulty breathing

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, please make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

OSTEOSARCOMA
MAMMARY CANCER

HOW TO DIAGNOSE LYMPHOMA IN DOGS

The only way to definitively diagnose lymphoma is through a biopsy of the affected tissue. This can be done through a needle biopsy or surgical biopsy.

BIOPSY FOR LYMPHOMA IN DOGS

A needle biopsy involves taking a sample of the lymph node with a needle and syringe. A surgical biopsy involves surgically removing the entire lymph node.

Blood tests will also be collected to analyze white blood cells and assess organ function. Chest and abdominal x-rays may also be taken to look for signs of cancer in other areas of the body.

Once the tissue has been collected with the lymph node biopsy, it will be sent to a lab for analysis. The pathologist will look at the cells under a microscope and determine if they are cancerous.

If the biopsy comes back from the veterinary oncologist and it is lymphoma, they will determine what type and stage the cancer is.

FINE NEEDLE ASPIRATE FOR LYMPHOMA IN DOGS

A fine needle aspirate (FNA) is a less invasive way to biopsy the lymph node, but it is not as accurate or as much of a common form of diagnosis

BONE MARROW ASPIRATION

Some staging tests include doing an aspiration of the bone marrow. This is a way to check for the cancer cells in the bone marrow.

This can be a dangerous treatment option, as bones can become brittle during some cancer stages.

Lymphoma can be a very difficult diagnosis for pet parents to hear. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian. They will be more than happy to help you through this tough time. Thank

WHAT IS THE PROGNOSIS OF CANINE LYMPHOMA?

The prognosis and life expectancy for dogs with lymphoma depends on many factors, including the type of lymphoma, the stage of the disease, and how the dog responds to treatment.

In general, the earlier the cancer is caught and treated, the better the prognosis will be.

Dogs that respond well to initial treatment are also more likely to have a better outcome.

WHAT ARE THE FIRST STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU THINK YOUR DOG HAS CANINE LYMPHOMA?

If you believe your dog might have lymphoma, take a deep breath and know that although cancer is a scary word, lymphoma is a common cancer in dogs.

You should schedule an appointment as quickly as possible with your veterinarian.

The sooner you catch the cancer, the better the chances are for successful treatment.

Your veterinarian will likely recommend a course of treatment based on the stage of the cancer.

There are many different options available, and they will work with you to find the best option for your dog’s individual case.

At this point, there is no known way to prevent lymphoma in dogs. However,

early detection is key to ensure the best possible outcome for your dog. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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Dane lover and believer in ethical breeding, training and rescue practices. Positive + Balanced trainer, owner of rescue dogs and dogs from breeders. Love the dog in front of you.

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