Canine Lymphoma 101: Symptoms, Stages, and Treatment

Canine lymphoma is one of the progressive canine diseases that could prove fatal to dogs if left unchecked. It attacks the canine immunity and causes lymphoid cells to spread, usually from the solid lymphoid organs (condition known as lymphosarcoma), or in the bone marrow (a condition known as lymphocytic leukemia). How lymphosarcoma happens is still left undetermined; as with any cancer symptoms, the frequent causes are various chemicals and pollutants such as cigarette smoke, assorted infections, and genetic factors.  At any rate, the first manifestation of the disease is the detection of lumps: the areas around the peripheral lymph nodes can indicate swelling, even as the dog may not show signs of disease yet.

Whatever the trigger, pet owners must act right away. Take note that lymphosarcoma strikes at any age, it spreads rapidly, and it infects a number of organs, ultimately resulting in cardiac or renal failure. And if the dog survives, complete recovery is never guaranteed – only the longest possible period of remission, or quality life. Hence, upon detection, the following procedures (as the average life expectancy of a canine lymphoma pet is around two months) – urinalysis and blood sampling, as well as aspiration or biopsy of one of the lymph nodes to confirm, and be able to carry out the necessary medication.

Upon biopsy, further findings could be ascertained, such as what kind of lymphoma is ailing the pet. The first kind is multicentric canine lymphoma, which attacks the lymphatic system. Its initial signs are marked, but painless swelling on the neck, front legs, and groin – the speed by which these growths progress can be as instantaneous as overnight. The second type of lymphosarcoma – alimentary lymphoma – is tricky, since symptoms appear only in the later stages, and by then, the dog may have been already emaciated, experiencing vomiting, and diarrhea. The third type is a rare kind of cancer called meditational lymphoma. It originates in the chest area, around the thymus glands. Dogs that have this cancer tire easily and find difficulty in breathing. Fourth type is cutaneous lymphoma – alongside with the more superficial lymph nodes, it also affects the skin. This cancer shows in a group of lesions that mar the skin. And although each lymphosarcoma has a distinctive set of signs, the general symptoms are fever and loss of appetite that leads to rapid weight loss.

It is also important to know the different stages of lymphosarcoma, and how they can be distinguished. Only one affected lymph node is notable for patients under stage 1. For stage II, several lymph nodes are affected, but only in a selective area. Stage III has already all the peripheral lymph nodes in an entire area affected. For stage IV, the lymphosarcoma may already have metastasized into the liver, spleen, and specific chest areas, alongside with all the peripheral lymph nodes. And finally, for stage V, the cancer may have already seeped into the bone marrow.

Canine Lymphoma can only be treated through the following options: surgery, chemotherapy, and immune modulators (specialized compounds). Prognosis could be positive, especially when aided by low carbohydrate diet and meals rich in omega-3. Ultimately, a proactive stance could do the trick – constant vet consultation could prevent the onset of such kinds of cancer.

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