Lymphoma is a particularly aggressive form of cancer that is found in many mammals, including dogs. In most cases, canine lymphoma is usually diagnosed in middle-aged dogs, but the disease can afflict any age dog. Unfortunately, the survival rates for lymphoma in dogs are very low but research in recent years has yielded a number of treatments that significantly extend the life of a dog with lymphoma.
While lymphoma is one of the most common forms of cancers to affect dogs, its causes are unknown so it is a very difficult condition to prevent. Environmental factors including herbicides and pesticides, exposure to magnetic fields, and even diet have all be related to the development of lymphoma in dogs. Lymphoma tends to affect the lymph nodes and some internal organs such as the liver and spleen and left untreated the life span of a dog with lymphoma is usually less than 2 months.
There are 4 types of canine lymphoma.
1. Multicentric lymphoma
This type of lymphoma focuses primarily on the lymph nodes and lymphatic organs and can be recognized through the formation of enlarged lymph nodes in the neck, groin, and under your dog’s front legs.
2. Alimentary lymphoma
Generally affecting the digestive tract, this form of canine lymphoma is one of the most difficult to diagnose. Symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea may not appear until the late stages of the disease.
3. Mediastinal lymphoma
This lymphoma mostly affects the chest and thymus gland leading to symptoms such as difficulty breathing, fatigue, and lethargy. Mediastinal canine lymphoma is rare.
4. Cutaneous lymphoma
Finally, this form of lymphoma attacks the skin and lymph nodes causing raised lumps and lesions on the skin.
All forms of canine lymphoma are associated with similar symptoms including fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, hair loss, frequent urination, and the formation of lumps particularly in the neck. If you suspect your dog is suffering from canine lymphoma, visit your vet immediately. Chemotherapy is the preferred treatment method for canine lymphoma although new treatments including the use of stem cells and new drug combinations are being developed.