Lymphoma in Dogs Part 1: A Common Canine Cancer

Posted by MyDogDoc on

Cancer is a word that no pet parent wants to hear, but knowing about it can help us to make the best decision for our canine pals.

  • Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system

  • It usually affects older dogs, but can in rare cases affect puppies

  • As the immune system is found throughout the body, this cancer can occur in any part of it

  • It most commonly affects the lymph nodes, causing them to swell

  • There is no cure for lymphoma, but treatment can help dogs to live longer and have a better quality of life

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that is, unfortunately, reasonably common in dogs. Cancers tend to affect a certain type of cell in the body and the type of cells affected by lymphoma are lymphocytes. These cells are important parts of the immune system and are found throughout the body.

What causes cancer?

Cells in our body usually reproduce to form new cells by dividing. Sometimes when cells divide something doesn’t go quite to plan - there’s a mistake. Normally the body will identify that mistake and the immune system will get rid of that cell. Cancer occurs where the body doesn’t recognise the sick cell and allows it to carry on dividing - suddenly we have a collection of sick cells, this is what we would call cancer.

What are the signs of lymphoma?

Because lymphocytes are part of the immune system one of the main symptoms of lymphoma is really big lymph nodes or glands, this is where our lymphocytes normally live until they are needed to fight an infection. Sometimes, we may not see the enlarged gland if it is in your dog’s chest or abdomen and it may be found as part of an investigation into why your dog just isn’t feeling so well. Also, we can see lymphoma of the skin; this is less common than the more typical form that affects the glands.

What happens if we think my dog has lymphoma?

If your dog has been diagnosed with lymphoma or your vet is suspicious that your dog has Lymphoma you will no doubt have started discussing the investigation process and the many different options for treatment with your vet.

While there are numerous treatment options available for lymphoma, it is unfortunately not a curable form of cancer in dogs. The aim of treatment is to maintain a good quality of life for however long the treatment works; this can be over a year in some cases but unfortunately in other cases can be only a few weeks.

The vets at MyDogDoc know just how worrying a diagnosis of cancer can be, and we’re here to offer an understanding ear and support you and your pet whenever you need us.

Cancer Dog Health Immune Immune System Lymph Node

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