November 7th marks Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day. For dogs, canine lymphoma is one of the most common cancers. In fact, it could make up as many as 20 percent of canine cancer cases. A local vet talks about canine lymphoma below.
While dogs middle-aged and over are at greatest risk, any dog can be affected, and at any stage of their life. It does seem to be more prevalent in specific breeds. Boxers, Bull Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, Golden Retrievers, Basset Hounds, Scottish and Airedale Terriers, and Bulldogs may be predisposed. Lymphoma can impact any organ in Fido’s body. However, it’s usually found in areas of the body associated with the immune system, such as the bone marrow, spleen, liver, or lymph nodes.
Lymphoma is pretty complex, with more than 30 different types, each of which affects dogs’ bodies in different ways. Symptoms can also vary quite widely, depending on the organs affected and how far the cancer has progressed. Some of the common ones include vomiting; diarrhea; increased water intake; fever; trouble breathing; lack of appetite; weight loss; and swelling, particularly around the neck, throat, and knee joints. Some dogs don’t experience any of these symptoms at all. Sometimes owners will notice a strange lesion, lump, or bump. Still, these things can be indicative of many different health concerns in our canine pals. And they all would warrant a call to the vet clinic to schedule an appointment ASAP. Just like with many other health issues in dogs, early diagnosis and treatment are always best. With canine lymphoma, the chances of treatment extending Fido’s life and/or causing the cancer to go into remission increase when it’s addressed early on.
There’s good news to be had, as well. Lymphoma can be treatable. It’s actually one of the more treatable forms of canine cancers. Truly wonderful advances in this area are being made by modern veterinary medicine. As far as treatment options go, the most common treatment is chemotherapy. Your veterinarian may also recommend radiation and/or surgery; newer treatments, and/or alternative treatments, such as holistic options. Of course, your vet will always offer specific treatment options on a case-by-case basis once Fido’s tests and lab results have come back and a full diagnosis has been made.
Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Please feel free to contact us, your local animal clinic in Fonthill, ON!