Canine Lymphoma: Dogs' Life Expectancy

Lymphoma in dogs is an aggressive cancer that can metastasize very quickly. If the dog receives treatment and responds well to it, he may live up to one year after the lymphoma is detected. The cancer involves the lymphatic system and spreads at an alarming rate.  Surgery is usually not an option, so the prognosis is poor.

Lymphoma in Dogs

Lymphoma may occur as a malignant growth, located in different parts of the body. The cancer will involve the lymphatic system (the lymph nodes). The lymphatic cells may be present in different areas of the body including the skin, stomach, liver or spleen. Lymphoma can start on the skin, bone marrow or an internal organ. The cells will multiply rapidly, affecting neighboring cells and organs, if the condition is not detected and controlled. An early detection of lymphoma and a suitable treatment are decisive in establishing the dog's life expectancy.

Dog Lymphoma Treatment

Ideally, the lymphoma could be removed through a surgical procedure. However, the cancerous lymphatic cells may be affecting other areas of the body and the surgeon cannot possibly remove all affected lymphatic cells. Typically, surgery is only possible if the cancer is detected very early and is located in a specific area. This is not common, as the dog may not display any symptoms during the early stages of the disease.

The second choice in lymphoma treatment is chemotherapy, which will not eliminate or reduce the number of cancerous cells, but will stop these from spreading and affecting new zones in the dog's body. Chemotherapy may be combined with different pain medication or anti-inflammatory drugs. Chemotherapy may also be used in conjunction with radiation therapy, which is an efficient pain treatment but will not increase the dog's chances of survival.

Canine Lymphoma Life Expectancy

The life expectancy for a dog with lymphoma may depend on several factors including:

  • The stage of the cancer
  • How early the cancer was detected
  • Type of treatment administered
  • Response to treatment

Canine lymphoma is a forceful cancer and may be fully treated only if surgery is possible. Even if the surgery can be performed, the dog may have other cancerous cells in the body, which will develop further. In the best case scenario, lymphoma can be operated on and the dog can live a normal life after that, while the cancerous cells will never return.

If surgery is not possible and the dog receives chemo drugs, the best prognosis for the dog is to live up to one year, provided the cancer is not metastasized. If the dog doesn't receive chemotherapy, but rather steroid therapy with prednisone, the dog may live up to six months, but typically will die within two months. If the cancer is already metastasized, the dog has low chances of survival and may live up to four weeks.