Lymphoma in Dogs – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment Options
Dog lymphoma is a disease that occurs when the lymph tissue is damaged by cancer cells. As this lymph tissue can be found in any organ or part of your pet’s body the disease can grow and affect almost every organ of the dog. Lymphoma can be found more commonly in middle-aged dogs.
Symptoms of Lymphoma in Dogs
The most visible symptom is swelling of the lymph nodes. Depending on the area that is affected the dog will show symptoms in that area. Probably the most common areas affected by the disease are gastrointestinal tract and chest. If your dog shows loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss it may suffer from gastrointestinal tract lymphoma. If you notice shortness of breath in you dog it may be suffering from chest lymphoma.
In our days there are many types of cancer and also many causes. Lymphoma in dogs can be diagnosed with a biopsy of the affected lymph nodes or organs. The stage of the disease is very important when it comes to treatment and prognosis. To discover how bad the disease is, there can be performed also tests like bone marrow biopsy, x-rays, ultrasound, blood analysis. You’ll never know the cause of the condition. The best thing you can do is to focus on the treatment. Untreated dogs die usually after 2 months from the discovery of the disease. If the disease was discovered early, immune modulation in most cases offers the greatest chances of recovery. Early diagnosis gives your dog 50% chances of survival.
The best treatment you can get only from a veterinarian. As in humans with cancer, lymphoma in dogs is treated with chemotherapy. Although only a small percentage of dogs are hospitalized due to side effects, nausea or infections may occur due to chemotherapy. Ask your veterinarian for more information on side effects and emergency hospitalization. If your dog is in later stages of the disease it is very likely that it won’t respond to this treatment type. Fatty acids, like those found in fish oil, may help slow down the growth and spread of cancer tumors, and also prevent weight loss and muscle wasting.
Studies have shown that dogs rarely die of cancer. They usually die of liver or kidney failure. These conditions are cancer’s side effects and they can be avoided by controlling the pet’s diet in most cases.
The treatment of lymphoma in dogs can be effective in most cases. However, this is one of the diseases that will likely recur in the future. A second treatment with chemotherapy can be given, but the effect will last even less that the last one. Although the disease seems curable it keeps on coming back. You should also know that this chemotherapy treatment protocol can be very expensive. No matter how many treatments you administer to your pet if the disease keeps on coming back your dog may pass away in a couple of years from diagnosis.
If you have any doubts and you think that your dog might have this deadly disease called lymphoma don’t hesitate and visit immediately a veterinarian for a full diagnosis.