November 7th is designated as Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day. And one of the most common causes of cancer in dogs is canine lymphoma. In fact, it could make up as many as 20 percent of canine cancer cases. A local vet talks about canine lymphoma below.
This condition is most often seen in dogs that are middle-aged or older, though any dog can be affected, and at any stage of their life. It does tend to be more prevalent in specific breeds. Bull Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Basset Hounds, Scottish and Airedale Terriers, and Bulldogs may be most at risk. Lymphoma can affect any organ in Fido’s body. However, it usually develops in spots that are associated with the immune system, such as the liver, spleen, lymph nodes, and bone marrow.
There are over 30 different types of lymphoma, all of which affect dogs’ bodies in different ways. The symptoms can also vary quite widely, depending on how far the cancer has progressed and what organs are affected. Some of the common ones include vomiting; diarrhea; increased water intake; trouble breathing; lack of appetite; weight loss; swelling, particularly around the throat, neck, and knee joints; and fever. Some dogs don’t experience any of these symptoms at all. Sometimes the owner will notice a strange lesion, bump, or lump. Of course, these things can be indicative of other health issues in our canine pals, and they all would warrant a call to the veterinary clinic to schedule an appointment ASAP. Much like with other health issues in dogs, early diagnosis and treatment are always beneficial. In the case of canine lymphoma, early detection can increase the chances of treatment extending Fido’s life and/or sending the cancer into remission.
And now for the good news. Lymphoma can be treatable. It’s actually one of the more treatable types of canine cancers. Modern veterinary medicine is making some truly wonderful advances in this area. Treatment-wise, chemotherapy is the most common form of treatment. Your vet may also recommend alternative treatments, such as holistic options; newer treatments; and/or surgery and/or radiation;. Of course, specific treatment options are always offered on a case-by-case basis after a full diagnosis has been made. Your vet will be able to offer specific options after Fido’s lab results and tests have come back.
Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us today!