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What Is Canine Lymphoma?

canine lymphoma

Most of us are familiar with lymphoma, a type of cancer. We know to make an appointment with the doctor when things don’t feel quite right. But how many of us are familiar with the signs of lymphoma that can occur in dogs?

Canine lymphoma is a type of cancer that is similar to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans, and even involves similar types of treatment. As a dedicated dog parent, learn more about this disease, how to recognize the symptoms, and most importantly, how it can be treated.

What Is Canine Lymphoma?

“Lymphoma” is a term that doctors use to describe multiple types of cancer that originate from the lymphocytes: white blood cells that help fight infection. Lymphoma can affect any organ in both dogs and humans, but the ones that help the immune system are where it is most commonly found.

Types of Canine Lymphoma

There are thirty known types of lymphomas in dogs, with different levels of aggressiveness, types of symptoms, and survival rates. But the most common types are:

  • Multicentric

    This is the most common type of canine lymphoma; roughly 85% of cancer in dogs ends up being multicentric. It affects lymph nodes, which could appear swollen and be accompanied with fever, lethargy, and refusal to eat or drink.

  • Alimentary

    This kind of lymphoma affects the dog’s intestines. Thus, every symptom will come from the intestinal area: vomiting, abdominal pain, weight loss, and diarrhea.

  • Mediastinal

    The rarest of canine lymphomas, this type affects a dog’s ability to breathe. Dogs with this form of cancer may experience difficulties with breathing, along with facial swelling, increased thirst, and more frequent urination.

  • Extranodal

    Extranodal lymphoma affects specific organs, from lungs, kidneys, skin, eyes, or the nervous system. Given the variety of places where the disease can occur, this means that symptoms will vary. A dog with this type of lymphoma could experience raised nodules or scaly-looking lesions on the skin, but these can also occur around or inside the mouth as well.

What Causes Canine Lymphoma

The unfortunate truth is that we don’t know a whole lot about what causes cancer in dogs. However, there are genetic studies that identify certain breeds of dogs that are more at risk than others. As is the case with humans, the causes of cancer could be genetic, environmental, or a mix of both. Because our dogs share the same environment we do, they’ll be exposed to much of the same factors as we are in our air, home, water, etc.

Also as with humans, your best chance of preventing cancer in your dog is a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise, a balanced diet, and regular preventative checkups.

Treating Canine Lymphoma 

Even dogs can benefit from chemotherapy to treat cancer. The type of chemotherapy with depend on the type of cancer, the severity, and other factors regarding your dog’s health. Other treatment options may be radiation or surgery. Your vet will make a recommendation after your dog’s examination and diagnosis.

Finding A Veterinarian In South Florida

No dog parent wants to hear that their dog is sick. At All Aboard Animal Hospital, we understand that your dog is not “just” a pet; they’re family members. A cancer diagnosis can be scary, but our team of compassionate, experienced doctors are well equipped to provide your friend with the best care possible. Once your dog is diagnosed, we will discuss the treatment options available to you, as well as payment plans and other ways to keep your companion comfortable. Regular preventative checkups with a veterinarian are the best way to prevent cancer and promote overall health. Call us today at 954-785-7780 to schedule an appointment.


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