High Grade Lymphoma in Dogs

High grade lymphoma refers to a type of cancerous growth affecting the lymphoid system in your dog's body. The lymphoid system is spread throughout your pet's body, with tissues in the lymph nodes, the spleen and various other places as well. It is generally responsible for helping to regulate and implement your dog's immune system, keeping the white blood cells operating to fight infections and viruses that enter your dog's body. Read on for a brief overview of this condition in your pet and how to diagnose and treat it.

Types of Lymphoma in Dogs

There are many different types of high grade lymphoma. They are classified according to the part of the body that the cancer affects. The different types of lymphoma are referred to in these ways:

  • Gastrointestinal (affecting the stomach, liver, and related systems)
  • Multicentric (affecting the lymph nodes)
  • Cutaneous (affecting the skin)
  • Lymphoblastic (affecting the bone marrow)
  • Mediastinal (affecting the area surrounding the heart)

Symptoms of Lymphoma

The symptoms of lymphoma will vary according to the type of high grade lymphoma affecting your dog. Generally, they include enlargement of the lymph nodes, diarrhea and vomiting, lack of appetite and subsequent weight loss, increased thirst and urination. Because all of these symptoms are very similar to many other conditions that affect your pet in a number of ways, it's important to note all of the various symptoms that you see in your pet.

Take your list of symptoms in with you when you take your pet to be diagnosed by a veterinarian.

Diagnosing Lymphoma in Dogs

There are a variety of tests that will be necessary to confirm whether your dog is suffering from high grade lymphoma. Because the symptoms will not allow your vet to make a diagnosis via a physical examination alone, he will need to conduct a blood test to assess the levels of various hormones and chemicals in your pet's system. A urinalysis is also helpful in diagnosing the condition, as is a full set of chest and abdominal x-rays. Depending upon where the lymphoma is in your pet's body, he may require additional testing as well.

Treating Dog Lymphoma

If the high grade lymphoma is localized in one part of your pet's body, surgery may be the best option for treatment. The lymphoma can be localized in certain areas, and if it then it can oftentimes be removed through surgical excision.

In other cases, you may need to have your pet go through a chemotherapy treatment. Unlike chemotherapy in humans, the side effects in animals tend to not be as severe. Chemotherapy only results in dangerous side effects in fewer than ten percent of animals that go through the experience, and it helps to reduce the lymphoma in the majority of patients.

Radiation therapy is a third option for pets suffering from high grade lymphoma as well. This type of therapy requires additional trips to the vets office and is best for treating localized cases of lymphoma that cannot be addressed by surgery.