Lymphoma in dogs
Lymph sarcoma is the medical term for one of the most common cancers of lymphocytes in dogs. Lymphoma cancer usually occurs in lymph nodes, liver, spleen and some other organs and this cancer very rapidly progress. Therefore, it must be treated as soon as it is discovered. Otherwise, if it is left untreated, the dog dies. The usual treatment of lymph sarcoma includes chemotherapy, which can prolong the dogs life for several months and in some cases even for a few years. This condition more frequently appears in middle age or older dogs, and rarely in the younger dogs.
Causes and symptoms of lymphoma in dogs
While in cats, a strong connection between some forms of lymphoma and infection with feline leukemia virus exists; in dogs it is not the case. The cause for the appearance of lymphoma in dogs is still undiscovered. However, many experts consider that environmental factors, such as exposure to pesticides or strong magnetic fields may contribute to the occurrence of this disorder in dogs.
Like any other disease, lymphoma has its characteristic signs and symptoms, though the warning signs for lymphoma in dogs depend on the place when tumor appears. The swelling is a typical symptom for the tumor that occurs in the lymph nodes, but usually, it is the only symptom for this lymphoma. If tumors occur in the gastrointestinal tract, the most common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and lack of appetite. The shortness of breath and barely audible heart sounds are the ordinary signs of the mediastinal or chest form of lymphoma. The cutaneous or skin form of lymphoma usually manifests through single or multiple lumps in the skin or mouth. The bumps may itch or be red and ulcerated.
Diagnosis and treatment of lymphoma in dogs
Lymphoma can be diagnosed only through several tests that the dog must undergo. These tests include blood check, biopsies, x-rays, and ultrasound, as well as fine needle aspirates of the tumor, but which one will be performed depends on the location of the tumor. The dogs with lymphoma are treated with chemotherapy, because surgery and radiation are not very effective in such cases. The dog must use drugs orally or through injections. The most common drugs that are prescribed by veterinary oncologists for treating lymphoma in dogs are cyclophosphamide, vincristine, doxorubicin and Prednisone. The owner of the ill dog should do everything to prolong the life of his/her pet, because untreated lymphoma causes the dog’s death after four or six weeks.