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Dog Lymph Problems

Lymphoma, characterized by growths on the dog’s lymph nodes, is one of the four most common cancers in dogs. In lymphoma, abnormal cells begin to grow on the lymph tissue and these growths are almost always malignant. Though a dog lymph gland problem could occur with any dog, during any stage of its life, it is most commonly seen that dogs in their middle age, or their older years, are more susceptible to it. The prevalence of one or more lumps, which can be felt just under the skin, is one of the biggest indications of the presence of the cancer. Normally, a vet will just physically examine the dog to find out whether there is a problem with the lymph nodes.

If a dog is suffering from a problem of the lymph nodes, the glands become swollen, enlarged and firm. Since the lymphatic system is a vital part of the immune system of a dog, any lymph system problems could cause serious setbacks for the overall immunity of the dog. There have been several researches trying to link cancers in the lymphatic system with leukemia. However, this is considered more of a genetic predisposition than an exposure to the virus, as almost all of the studies did not turn in any solid evidence of a relation with the leukemia virus. Till date, the cause for dog lymph cancer is not known. Dog lymphoma usually occurs at multiple sites in the lymphatic system. There may be several hundreds of malignant growths which occur all over the lymphatic system of the dog. In most cases of lymphosarcoma, there are incidences of metastases of the cancer. The cancer in the lymph nodes usually spreads to the liver. Other major regions where lymphosarcoma can occur are the alimentary canal, mediastina in the thoracic cavity, heart, eyes, kidney, the central nervous system, bladder, bones, and nasal cavity.
To diagnose dog lymph problems, the doctor usually does a biopsy or collects the aspirates from the lymph nodes. These are then sent to a laboratory to be tested for cancer markers. There are other tests which may simultaneously be performed to get a more effective diagnosis.

If lymphoma is not treated, the dog may live only up to four to six weeks. The major treatment method used is chemotherapy. Though dogs usually respond well to chemotherapy, the treatment could greatly reduce the dog’s quality of life. Many dogs also respond favorably to anti cancer drugs.

Read on swollen lymph nodes in dogs

 
  Submitted on August 4, 2010  
 
 
 
 
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