Like people, lymphoma in dogs is a type of cancer It can affect dogs, especially if they are of average age, having between 6 and 9 years of age.
It is a systemic disease (affects the whole body) and progressive that originates in lymphocytes, a series of white blood cells that help the immune system fight infection.
its diagnosis not only helps to understand the health status of the animal but also allows owners to make the most opportune decisions being duly informed.
Types of canine lymphomas
While there are numerous types of canine lymphomas that vary based on their clinical signs and survival rate, there are four of the most common canine lymphomas:
- Multicentric lymphoma: This type of lymphoma affects the lymph nodes, causing in most cases their enlargement, also called lymphadenomegaly. Some of its symptoms go through fever and dehydration, among others.
- Linfoma extranodal: It is a lymphoma that specifically affects a specific organ. The most common is the one that affects the skin, which is called cutaneous lymphoma and manifests itself with scaly lesions that can also be seen on the mouth, lips, teeth and palate.
- Intestinal lymphoma: In this case, the lymphoma goes to the intestines, where symptoms also manifest: abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss.
- Mediastinal lymphoma: Produces lymphadenomegaly of the mediastinal nodules, that is, in the middle of the thorax. This compresses the lungs, causing coughing and dyspnea or shortness of breath.
What Causes Lymphoma in Dogs?
This type of cancer arises as a consequence of the uncontrolled and malignant proliferation of cells that are part of the lymphatic system. And while there is a certain genetic predisposition, observed in dog breeds such as the Golden Retriever, the German Shepherd or the Boxer (among others), today it is not known for sure why it occurs.
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However, there are experts who suggest as a possible origin the lifestyle that dogs share with their owners. Under this premise, furry animals would be exposed to the same environmental factors that cause cancer in people, such as chemicals and viruses, among others.back to menu ↑
Stages of canine lymphoma
The development of canine lymphoma can be classified into up to five stages, with their corresponding increase in severity:
- Stage one: It is observed that a lymph node has been affected.
- Stage two: Here there is already more than one lymph node affected, in addition to being located in different parts of the body.
- Stage three: It is the stage where it is most common to receive the diagnosis of canine lymphoma since all the lymph nodes are affected by cancer.
- Stage four: The progression of lymphoma can affect organs such as the heart, liver or spleen.
- Stage five: The damage is so widespread and severe that it has reached the bone marrow. At this stage, dogs do not respond well to chemotherapy, steroids, and other medications administered.
Diagnosis and treatment of lymphoma in dogs
A canine lymphoma can be diagnosed by performing a biopsy, by which a tissue sample is removed from the affected organ. This then goes through a histopathological evaluation of the tissue or by a cytology examination. Sometimes other tests such as flow cytometry may also be necessary to confirm the diagnosis when in doubt.
Even when canine lymphoma has been diagnosed, some veterinarians recommend doing so-called “staging tests” to calculate disease progression using blood and urine tests, x-rays, abdominal ultrasounds, and a bone marrow biopsy.
Regarding its treatment, the most effective to combat canine lymphoma is intravenous chemotherapy, which varies according to the type of cancer diagnosed, in addition to radiotherapy and resorting to surgical intervention. It should also be noted that the side effects of chemotherapy in dogs are vomiting, diarrhea and decreased appetite and activity levels.back to menu ↑
The prognosis for a dog with lymphoma
This forecast varies depending on the stage of cancer in which the dog received the treatment.
In the same way, it must be appreciated that sometimes the disease alone returns address, since the symptoms may disappear partially or completely even if the cancer is still inside the body. Regardless, this referral offers the animal a substantial time frame in which it can also enjoy an excellent quality of life.
Despite this, around 80-90% of dogs respond favorably to treatment.
Remember that if you have any kind of query about your dog’s health you can go to Clinicanimal, where your pet will be cared for by the best experts.