Canine Lymphoma: How to recognize and treat this aggressive disease

Canine Lymphoma

Canine Lymphoma (Lymphosarcoma) is an immune dysfunction disease. It is a progressive fatal disease of dogs characterized by neoplastic transformation and proliferation of lymphoid cells, usually originating in solid lymphoid organs (lymphosarcoma) or bone marrow (lymphocytic leukemia). There are several forms of canine lymphoma including multicentric lymphoma, alimentary lymphoma, mediastinal lymphoma, and cutaneous lymphoma. Multicentric canine lymphoma involves the lymph nodes and the lymphatic organs. This diffuse form of lymphoma can cause enlarged, but painless lymph nodes on the neck, under the front legs, and in the groin area. In some cases these nodes can grow to the size of golf balls or baseballs overnight. Alimentary lymphoma occurs in the digestive tract. Symptoms may not be present until the late stages of the disease. Dogs that have alimentary canine lymphoma will become emaciated and they will also have diarrhea. Vomiting will be present. The vomiting and diarrhea is the result of growing tumors that cause obstruction of the processing and passage and present symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. Mediastinal lymphoma is a rare form of canine lymphoma. It develops in the center of the chest and it is usually associated with the thymus glands. Symptoms of this form of lymphoma include fatigue and difficulty breathing. Cutaneous lymphoma affects the skin but may also involve superficial lymph nodes. With this form of the disease, a number of raised lesions or pale plaques will be visible on the skin. Although specific symptoms depend on the form of canine lymphoma, general symptoms for all forms of the disease include fever, weight loss, and anorexia (loss of appetite). Treatment options for canine lymphoma include chemotherapy, surgery, and specialized compounds called “immune modulators.” Nutritional therapy includes adopting a low carb diet and a diet rich with Omega 3 fatty acids. While the typical canine lymphoma patient is a middle-aged dog, canine lymphoma can strike at any age. You should have your pet examined regularly in order to increase your chances of catching the disease in the early stages. It is important to keep in mind that if left untreated, canine lymphoma will lead to death.