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Canine Lymphoma

Veterinarians and Pet Care
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Canine lymphoma is a type of progressive cancer which tends to affect middle aged dogs. While this is one of the more common malignant canine cancers, why this cancer develops in the first place is not known although genetic and environmental influences are suspected.

Types of Canine Lymphoma and their Associated Symptoms

1. Multicentric Lymphoma – this type of lymphoma is the most commonly diagnosed canine lymphoma. Over 80 percent of lymphomas in dogs occur in this form and the first noticeable symptoms associated with this type of canine cancer are one or more lumps located beneath the dog's skin.

2. Alimentary Lymphoma – a less commonly diagnosed form of lymphoma in dogs, less than 10 percent of lymphoma cases in dogs are diagnosed as alimentary lymphoma. This type of cancer affects the dog’s gastrointestinal system, and symptoms associated with this disease include diarrhea, reduced appetite, weight loss and vomiting.

3. Mediastinal Lymphoma – this type of canine lymphoma occurs in the dog’s chest and lymph nodes, and less than 10 percent of lymphoma cases in dogs are diagnosed as mediastinal lymphoma. Symptoms of mediastinal lymphoma in dogs may include difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, increased thirst and increased urination.

4. Extranodal Lymphoma – this is a rare type of lymphoma in dogs which can affect the skin, eyes, nervous system, kidneys or lungs. Symptoms of extranodal lymphoma depend on what system is being attacked by the cancer and may include: one or more lesions on the skin, difficulty breathing, symptoms associated with kidney failure, loss of eye sight and seizures.

Treatment and Prognosis of Canine Lymphoma

Chemotherapy treatments, sometimes accompanied by surgery, are used to slow the cancer, improve the dog’s quality of life and in some cases may even result in a short-term remission. Fortunately, chemotherapy treatments in dogs do not usually cause drastic side effects such as vomiting, hair loss or diarrhea – most dogs do not even develop any side effects as a result of their chemotherapy treatment.

Sadly, the prognosis for canine lymphoma is poor. With no chemotherapy treatment, dogs which are diagnosed with lymphoma usually succumb to the cancer within 4 to 6 weeks of their initial diagnosis. With chemotherapy treatments, some dogs may live for 6 months to 1 year after their diagnosis if the cancer goes into a remission.

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