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