Dog lymphoma or lymphosarcoma is one of the most common cancers in dogs. This type of cancer affects the lymphatic system of the dog, completely destroying the dog’s immunity. The cancer also affects the lymphoid tissue. The affected organs include the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and the gastrointestinal tract. Although dog lymphoma may occur at any time during a dog’s life, it is most commonly seen in older dogs in the age range of 6 to 9 years. Certain breeds have a higher disposition to lymphosarcoma. These are German Shepherds, Boxer, Scotties, Golden Retriever, Pointers, and Westies. There are no gender specific risks for this type of cancer, and both males and females are equally susceptible.
In most cases, a complete physical evaluation of the dog is required.
Dog lymphoma symptoms may be different for different dogs and are dependent on the organs affected by this condition. For a proper diagnosis, the doctor may have to obtain a biopsy of the affected tissue. The doctor may also search for tumors in various parts of the body. A complete blood count may be required to get the chemical profile of the blood serum. Dog lymphoma life expectancy is not very high, and for a dog that has this cancer, the life expectancy is greatly reduced. Older dogs may succumb to the cancer much quicker than younger ones. To check the gastrointestinal tract for any abnormal growths and tumors, the doctors may have to perform an ultrasound of the abdominal region. If the cancer spreads to the bone marrow, the prognosis is extremely poor.
Dog lymphoma treatment begins only after the condition has been diagnosed. The treatment is completely dependent on the organs involved in the condition and the extent of the spread of cancer.
Chemotherapy is the main treatment for this condition, and almost 80% of the dogs when treated in the early stages of the condition go into remission. Although a remission is not the complete cure of the condition, the symptoms are not seen during this period. There is a high chance of recurrence of the condition, and the dog should ideally be examined periodically to check for possible recurrences. The schedule of chemotherapy and medicinal treatment is decided by the doctor depending on how aggressive the condition is. Most dogs show minimal side effects after the chemotherapy. However, regular home care is required for the dog. Living with canine lymphoma is usually hard on both the dog and the family.