Lymphoma In Dogs: An Extensive Guide

lymphoma in dogs
lymphoma in dogs

Lymphoma is one of the critical diseases that is profound in dogs. After hearing this, you must be wondering what the disease is? Well, it is nothing but common cancer that can be much terrifying for dogs and the owners. Basically, this affects the lymphoid system. Aslo, the major cause of this disease is due to the disturbance of the white blood cells called lymphocytes and specifically refers to the diverse group of cancers in dogs. In order to protect the body from any

infectious viruses and bacteria, the lymphocytes act as a part of the immune system to protect the body.

However, through this article, we are going to describe you the entire description about the probable symptoms, types, causes, and also the available treatment process.

So properly read the article and save your dog’s life by the methods mentioned here.

What Is Lymphoma: An Overview

As the disease is quite deadly, it may affect any organ in the body. However, it mostly affects the organs that work as a part of the immune system. Moreover, if you are aware of the Lymphoid tissue. Then you must be knowing that this tissue is found in many parts of the body including the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and bone marrow. According to the location of the body, the Lymphosarcoma is classified

Probably there are 30 types of dog lymphoma which severely affects dogs in their behavior. So, here we are going to describe about the five main types of lymphoma. However, the most common type of lymphoma that you are going to find in most of the dogs is Multicentric lymphoma.

So among all the types, there are some forms of lymphoma that increase rapidly and can be quite threatening without having proper treatment. Alternatively, there also exist some forms that occur very slowly and are operated as chronic, inactive diseases.moreover, if you find this disease in your dogs, do not waste time and have a proper treatment. Lymphoma can be much aggressive and leads to a high mortality rate.

5 Different Types of Lymphoma

The types of lymphoma vary according to the aggressiveness, survival rates, and clinical signs. So we are going to mention you all the types of the disease along with a little description of the disease.

Multicentric lymphoma

The first one that tops the list is multicentric which means the disease is going to affect the external lymph nodes. It is one of the very common types of lymphoma that is present in approximately 80 to 85 percent of the dogs. If your dog is affected by this, then there will be rapid enlargement of the lymph nodes.

Mediastinal lymphoma

The second one is mediastinal which means that the disease is going to affect the organs within the chest, such as lymph nodes or the thymus gland. This type is very rare and is found in very few amounts of dogs. Moreover, if this affects your dog then you will find that the area of the chest has become enlarged, caused by high-grade malignant T lymphocytes.

Gastrointestinal lymphoma

The third one is gastrointestinal which means that dogs are going to be affected through the stomach and/or intestines. Neglecting the disease can cause to a serious issue and may damage the entire intestine.

Cutaneous lymphoma

The fourth one is cutaneous which affects the skin. One can easily identify the symptoms very easily. So we recommend you to immediately visit the veterinarian in such a case and have proper treatment.  

Extranodal lymphoma

Last but not least, the last one is extranodal that affects the chest, skin, liver, eyes, bone or mouth and also the central nervous system. So, this lymphoma will target a specific organ and may damage it entirely if not taken into observation from a very early stage.

Reasons Behind The Causes Of Lymphoma in Dogs

Although no one till date could exactly specify the causes of lymphoma in dogs. However, there are several causes that might lead to lymphoma. Like a strong magnetic field, the most relevant causes of lymphoma include viruses, bacteria, chemical exposure, and physical factors. Although the researchers are currently investigating the areas to determine more definitive causes. Leaving the ones mentioned above, there are also some of the environmental factors that can cause the disease. Malignancy is one of the typical diseases that is a piece of growing evidence to suggest that exposure to pesticides. According to the research of a few years ago, using chemicals or herbicides like 24-D can be a leading factor of causing lymphoma.

So be very careful if you are having a pet. We suggest you not to spread any chemicals as because it can be harmful to your dog and might cause serious malignancy. The disease can also occur from using chemicals like paints and solvents. Also, staying within an industrial area might also cause the disease to trigger. The percentage of lymphoma in dogs can also be due to strong magnetic fields. However, there is no exact proof of the same.   

Additional reasons that might cause lymphoma is the feeble immune system. So, this type of problem must not be overlooked as because, an decrease in the immunity can be a leading factor of the disease to occur in both humans and dogs. Changing of chromosomes can lead to canine lymphoma. However, the exact virus is still unknown. Still, in case of short-term cultures of canine lymphoma tissue, there are certain viral particles that came into observation.

Risk Constituents For Lymphoma In Dogs

Although now you are much aware of the disease, still in this paragraph we are going to mention some of the common breeds who are much prone to lymphoma. So, after having a deep research, it has been found that breeds like Rottweilers, Scottish Terriers, Bullmastiffs, Boxers, Basset Hounds, Airedales, Saint Bernards, Bulldogs, and Golden Retrievers are much prone to the disease.

Although, the lymphoma may occur to the dogs of any age. However, the disease is most prone to middle and old age dogs. Though it is not related to the sex of the dog, usually neutered females tend to have a better prognosis.

General Symptoms of Lymphoma in Dogs

You are going to get different symptoms that makes it quite difficult to have a proper diagnose at first. However, we are going to provide you with the most common symptoms that are proven to be effective in understanding the disease.

Multicentric Lymphoma

If this lymphoma is affecting your dog, then you will find that lymph nodes get swollen. Generally, the size of the lymph nodes increases 3-to-10 times their normal size. Although the swelling up of the lymph nodes are not painful, still beneath the skin the rubbery lump moves freely. Other common symptoms include lethargy, fever, anorexia, weakness, and dehydration as the disease progresses.

Alimentary Lymphoma

The dogs who are facing from alimentary lymphoma will have a very common symptom and will cause regular vomiting, abdominal pain, anorexia, diarrhea, and weight loss.

Mediastinal Lymphoma

The breeds who are facing from mediastinal lymphoma will have severe breathing problem. The breathing problem may arise due to a great mass inside the chest or due to the addition of fluid within the chest. The dogs who are going to get affected by the disease will gradually face from swelling of the face or the front legs. Also, there will be an increase in the thirst and urination.

Extranodal Lymphomas

The symptoms depend on the organs that are affected in case of extranodal lymphomas. However, the affecting of the skin is the most common type that is found with dogs facing Cutaneous lymphoma. The general symptoms of cutaneous lymphoma are uncommon, increased protuberances or more ordinarily dispersed scabby lesions. The disease may also be caused in the mouth resulting in affecting the gums, lips, and the roof of the mouth.

If the problem of the extranodal lymphoma is present within the lungs then there will be respiratory issues. Renal failure occurs when there is extranodal lymphoma in the kidneys. Where as if the disease is present in the eyes then the dog may face blindness. If it is generating within the bones then there can be severe pain or fractures.
How To Diagnosing Lymphoma In Dogs?

Diagnosing lymphoma in dogs is very easy. Once the veterinarians suspect cancer, they try to have a diagnose by taking a specimen of the affected organ. Fine-needle aspiration is the most profound tool that is used to diagnose lymphoma in dogs. Through the cytology exam or by a histopathologic tissue evaluation, the veterinarians extorts a sample of a dog’s lymph nodes or organs to be assessed. Additionally there are many other tests that the veterinarians use to perform like blood tests, biopsies, X-rays, and ultrasounds. According to the location of the turnor, the tests are performed.

According to most of the top most veterinarians, biopsy is the best way to diagnose lymphoma. Basically having a biopsy removes the piece of the lymph node by having a minor surgical procedure. Tru-cut needle biopsy, incisional wedge biopsy, or removal of an entire lymph node are the most common methods to have a biopsy. In order to determine the treatment plan and long-term outlook during diagnosis, a stage is generally assigned to the dog’s lymphoma. So we are going to give the details of the stages which are developed by the World Health Organization. So follow this very carefully, before moving on to the treatment part.

Stage I: Involvement of single lymph node

Stage II: Presence of Multiple lymph nodes in the identical region

Stage III: Presence of Multiple lymph nodes in various regions

Stage IV: Involvement of liver and/or spleen (may or may not have lymph node involvement)
Stage V: Bone marrow or blood involvement and/or other organs  involved

besides liver, spleen and lymph nodes

Dogs can be categorized into two substages: One if there are no signs of illness, then the dogs fall in the category of substage A. The other one with the signs of illness, falls in the category of substage B.

Affordable Ways Of Treating Lymphoma In Dogs

Here you are going to get 5 effective ways by which you can remove the issue of lymphoma in dogs. So follow these five steps and keep your pet away from this deadliest disease.

  • Pet Your Pup

There are many cases where it is quite difficult to find the exact cause as because many dogs use to behave normally even after facing lymphoma. The only sign that will specify you that there is something wrong is the enlargement of the lymph nodes. So if you have started observing this symptoms then do not delay and take your dog for a fast and a proper treatment. Just under the dog’s chin or shoulder or behind the knees, you are going to get the Lymph nodes.

  • Ask Veterinarians For Referral To A Board-Certified Oncologist

If there is any problem that the physician finds, then they are going to refer you to the veterinary oncologist. Basically, having an appointment with a veterinary oncologist do not mean that you have a specific treatment plan. Rather having a consult will help you to acknowledge the effective ways if your pet were to be treated for the disease or not. Also, they are going to specify about the necessary tests that will help you to remove the problem of your pet from the root causes.

Moreover, the Veterinary oncologists has a more experience by handling many cases of the lymphoma. There suggestions are quite valuable as they have all the  up-to-date information and are considered much better than the general practitioner

  • Purchase Pet Insurance

It is much beneficial to have a pet insurance as it can provide you with relief from the cost of the cancer treatment. However, it is helpful at times when you find the cost is much higher than expected. Also, in general terms you are aware of the fact that the diagnostic test and the cancer treatment are much costlier and can vary from numerous hundred to several thousand dollars. It has been observed most of the times the owners face discomfort with the cost impact and cannot proceed on with the treatment. However, having an insurance can be much help as it allows them to pursue the treatment to the ultimate level.

4. Don’t Start Treatment With Prednisone/Steroids Without Having An Appointment With Medical Oncologist Unless Absolutely Necessary

Most of the times at the time of diagnosis, the veterinarians usually prefers prednisone as the most valuable medicine. Basically. It is a potent anti-inflammatory drug that helps in killing off a particular proportion of cancerous lymphocytes. However, there are two things that might come to concern. One basically has to pass through prednisone administration but there may be interferences with the other tests that the veterinary oncologist recommends. So while processing out the tests there are many things that comes in action such as lab work for cancerous lymphocytes in circulation, etc.

Also the other parts that come into action are imaging tests such as X-rays and abdominal ultrasound exams. So, we prefer not to use the prednisone as because it becomes much difficult for the oncologist to interpret the datas correctly. This in turn will be hazardous for you as you will not be able to know the accurate stage of the lymphoma.

Another method that most of the times is used to treat lymphoma is the use of steroids. However, it is an effective way of resolving lymphoma but it causes problem some way or the other. Once you are applying the steroids, the dog will have no effect of the chemotherapy. Moreover, the duration of response will be much shorter and the treatment will not go on properly. This can lead to death of your pet. However, these are applicable for few breeds only. It is unusual for the ones who requires more immediate treatment and are facing from severe consequences due to lymphoma.

5. Don’t Feed Your Dog With Any Supplements, Vitamins, Nutraceuticals, Or Diet Changes Until Having A Proper Consult

Every human has a nature to use the Internet in order to resolve the issue at the earliest. However, this can be quite dangerous at times. You may find out information that will ask you to use homeopathy or other “natural” substances in order to remove lymphoma from dogs. Without checking whether the data is accurate, the sites publish them. According to FDA regulation, the absence of negative side effects does not mean that you can rely on each and everything for safety.

As mentioned above, there are certain supplements that can have a adverse effect along with the chemotherapy.  Also, there are ample amount of evidences that can be a leading factor in promoting cancer growth. Although it is a true fact but it does not mean that it does not have any possible benefits. So it becomes essential to take help of the physician or the doctor, before implementing any types of supplements or vitamins.

Ending Notes

lymphoma in dogs

So, we hope this article will help you to eliminate the worries of lymphoma. Also, we think we have given you an exact idea what lymphoma is. So, get the best knowledge about the symptoms, causes,treatment for your pet by reading this article properly. However, don’t forget to consult with the veterinarians. Moreover, if you have further queries or questions then do leave comments in the comments section.

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