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Lymphoma in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Because lymphoma is one of the most common type of cancer that can strike young or middle-aged dogs we wanted to take a moment and discuss what it might be like to own a dog that has been diagnosed with it as well as try to shed some light on what you as a loving owner can do to help during your dog’s treatment.

That said…

We should also point out that lymphoma is not a cancer that is just limited to the canine world because it can also present itself in felines as well, usually as a result of the Feline Leukemia virus.

In dog’s however…

Scientists believe that the condition is an inherited one, but the specific gene which carries it has yet to be identified. Not unlike other cancers, scientists do believe that environmental factors can contribute too.

But before we get too deep…

Let’s first begin our discussion by first defining exactly what lymphoma in dog is.

Lymphoma in dogs

Lymphoma is sometimes referred to as ‘cancer of the lymph nodes’ but this is not entirely true. More accurately, it is a cancer whose first clinical signs involve a swelling and pain in the lymph nodes, making this symptom something that your veterinarian will examine in order to make an accurate diagnosis.

T-Cell Lymphoma…

Is a second variation of the disease – but there are many others. Most types are detectable by examining the lymph nodes although a possible biopsy or MRI will be needed to confirm.

Lymphoma is also…

Called Lymphosarcoma or LSA for short. It presents as an overabundance of white blood cells (or Lymphocytes) which attack the internal organs and causes:

  • Fever,
  • Aches,
  • Pains,
  • Weight loss,
  • Lethargy,
  • And vomiting.

Now if your dog has had a diagnosis of Lymphoma he will be very, very sick. Without any treatment survival times are short.

As well as T-Cell Lymphoma (the most responsive to treatment)…

It’s possible that your dog might also contract a variety of other types of lymphoma including:

  • B-Cell Lymphoma, which means that the cancer is multicentric and has spread to all of the body’s lymph nodes.
  • Mediastinal lymphoma which typically attacks the lungs and organs and making it hard for the dog to breathe. This variant of lymphoma is also sometimes called Auxiliary Lymphoma.
  • As well as cutaneous lymphoma presents clinical signs as lesions on the skin… as you can see.

Ultimately…

It will be up to your veterinarian to determine what “type” of lymphoma that your dog has as well as plan out a potential treatment program for him or her.

Breeds affected by Lymphoma

There are many breeds affected by this disease but this list is by no means exhaustive. Pedigree bred dogs are more likely to suffer from this condition as they have limited genetic material to draw from and are therefore more likely to inherit it. That being said, known breeds to suffer are as follows:

  • The Airedale Terrier
  • The Boxer
  • The Basset Hound
  • The Beagle
  • The Beauce Shepherd Dog
  • The Bouvier Des Flandres
  • The Bulldog
  • The Bull Mastiff
  • The Chow Chow
  • The Cocker Spaniel
  • The German Shepherd Dog
  • The Golden Retriever
  • The Irish Setter
  • The Labrador Retriever
  • The Otterhound
  • The Poodle
  • The Rottweiler
  • The Scottish Terrier
  • The St. Bernard

This type of cancer is also reasonably high in mixed breed dogs.

Treatment options

Lymphoma in dogs can be treated if it is caught quickly enough. However, dogs with Lymphoma that is undiagnosed have a median survival rate of between 1 and 2 months.

Diagnosis will involve…

Blood tests and scans, and your vet will want to consult a veterinary oncologist. Some canine patients can be treated with cancer drugs, but it will depend upon which stage your dog is at as to whether or not these drugs are effective.

Treatment will vary…

Depending on the type of lymphoma, but it is likely that your vet will operate chemotherapy protocols as soon as possible. Chemotherapy can help many types of lymphoma and complete remission is fairly common if diagnosed early.

Unfortunately…

Chemo will kill the cancer cells by destroying the dog’s immune system, leaving him vulnerable to all else which is why you’ll need to be vigilant in his or her aftercare making sure to not any sign of sickness or infection.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have lymphoma (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!

Because…

The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

Which is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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