National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day is observed every year on November 7th. This day helps to generate awareness about canine lymphoma, and nudge every pet parent to check their dogs regularly.
According to the Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF), there are approximately six million new canine cancer diagnoses each year. Here are some important facts to keep in mind when watching out for the signs and symptoms of Canine Lymphoma:
- Lymphoma is one of the most common tumors in dogs. It can occur in the lymph nodes, spleen, liver, and other organs. It usually affects middle-aged and older dogs. Symptoms are typically related to where the tumor is located. With tumors that develop in the lymph nodes, there will be swelling around the ears and neck. Dogs that have been affected with gastrointestinal lymphoma will have numerous symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, followed by weight loss. Lymphoma that affects the chest includes signs like shortness of breath and muffled heart sounds. Skin lymphomas have numerous symptoms. These include single or multiple lumps in the skin or mouth. The bumps may be raised, red, and may be itchy.
- Contributing factors may be environmental contamination like pesticides, herbicides, and genetic abnormalities, as well as possible dysfunction of the immune system.
- There are four distinct forms of lymphoma in dogs. Multicentric, when it originates in numerous places, alimentary, when it occurs in the digestive system, mediastinal, when it occurs in the chest, and lastly, extranodal, which may involve the kidneys, central nervous system, or skin.
- Canine lymphoma is diagnosed through blood work, biopsies, and ultrasound. Treatment may include chemotherapy combined with drugs. This sometimes may have adverse effects on your dog like vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or lack of appetite. Hair loss may occur as well. Your veterinarian will advise you as to the most appropriate cancer treatment for your dog.
- Since canine lymphoma is relatively easy to diagnose today, there’s no reason for pet parents to delay visiting their veterinary oncologist. With multicentric canine lymphoma and chemotherapy treatment, more than 90% of all dogs will have a positive outcome and improve. All dogs will have individual treatment plans regarding drugs used, dosage how often they are used, and the duration of treatment.
- Dogs with mediastinal lymphoma may undergo the use of combination therapy with or without radiation therapy. Skin lymphoma can be managed with radiation, surgery, and complete system chemotherapy. With treatment, dogs can live from a few months to a few years.
Taking your dog to the veterinarian for regular check-ups, and at the first sign of a lump or even a small bump is important in keeping your dog healthy. Consult with your veterinarian for advice. Early detection is key!