Lymphoma in Dogs – What can be Done?

Like humans, dogs are susceptible to a wide range of problems. Some of those issues are readily treated but others may be quite serious. One of the more serious problems that can affect a dog is cancer and although there are a variety of types of cancer, lymphoma is one of the more common. In fact, it is estimated that up to 20% of all malignant tumors found in dogs are lymphomas.

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymph nodes, both in humans and dogs. It can affect any organ in the dog’s body, including the liver and spleen. There are treatment options available for canine lymphoma but if it is not treated, it could quickly become a problem that is fatal. Lymphoma can be a very aggressive type of cancer that could quickly overtake the dog and his treatment is not given, they may get sick very quickly.

It is not fully known why lymphoma forms in dogs. There is a lot of research that shows that there is a link between certain infections and lymphoma in cats but the same does not seem to be true with dogs. Some people have stated that it may be genetic but there is still much testing that needs to be done before a specific cause of this type of cancer is known. What is known is that dogs may be more susceptible to lymphoma as they get older or if their immune system is compromised. There may also be certain breeds that are more likely to get this type of cancer, including basset hounds, boxers, golden retrievers and St. Bernard’s.

In most cases, any symptoms of lymphoma are not going to be seen prior to the time that the tumors begin to develop. Tumors are not uncommon in dogs and they could be benign but when they are in certain areas, it is more a sign that it could be a problem with cancer. This is especially true when there are other symptoms present along with the tumors, such as vomiting and diarrhea, a lack of appetite and weight loss.

In order for a treatment option to be considered, a diagnosis must be given by a veterinarian. Blood tests are often given as a way to diagnose but there may be biopsies from the tumors, ultrasound and x-rays that are used in the diagnosis as well. In addition, there are different stages of lymphoma that range from stage one to stage V, with stage V being the most severe.

Some dog owners decide that it is best not to treat a dog that has lymphoma. Those dogs have a life expectancy of approximately six weeks. There are some treatment options available, however, including certain drugs and chemotherapy. This is something that needs to be discussed with a veterinarian and it is a personal decision that the pet owner must make.

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