Lymphoma in Dogs: Signs, Symptoms, and How You Can Help
Lymphoma (lymphosarcoma) is a kind of cancer in animals characterized by the growth of malignant lymphocytes - a type of white blood cell (leukocyte) in most vertebrate immune systems that includes natural killer cells, within structural organs such as the lymph nodes, liver, bone marrow, and spleen. The condition can also affect the eyes, skin, and gastrointestinal tract - the intestinal tract's pathway from the mouth into the anus.
Signs and Symptoms That Your Dog Has Lymphoma:
Lymphoma is one of the most prevalent types of malignant tumors that occurs in dogs. The reason is hereditary, although environmental influences are also implicated. Cancer is divided into low and high grade categories which are also based on its location.
Multicentric, mediastinal which affects organs in the chest such as lymph nodes or the thymus gland, gastrointestinal or lymphoma of the stomach and/or intestines, and extranodal are the four location classifications (involving the kidney, central nervous system, skin, heart, or eye).
One main symptom of Lymphoma to a dog is enlarged lymph nodes. If you feel that your dog has lymph nodes, a rapidly moving cancer in dogs, it is highly recommended to visit your vet immediately and ask for an aspirate. Lymph nodes commonly found in front of the dog's shoulder, under its jaw, behind the knees, or in its thigh. Some other signs include weight loss, lethargy, loss of appetite, having trouble breathing, increased thirst and urination, and fever.
Diagnosis of Lymphoma in Dogs:
Although a needle aspiration of an afflicted lymph node might raise speculation of the illness, biopsy of impacted lymph nodes or organs validates the diagnosis. Other areas of the malignancy are shown by X-rays, blood work, and bone marrow biopsy. A variety of blood tests are now available to help in the diagnosis of lymphoma.
A biopsy may include removing tissue from the afflicted spot and examining it for cancer cells, or it may involve collecting cells straight from a lymph node using a needle and inspecting them with the use of a microscope.
Treatments for Dogs with Lymphoma:
Dogs with lymphoma will require the services of a cancer expert known as a veterinary oncologist. The oncologist will provide therapy suggestions depending on the cancer's stage and severity.
Chemotherapy is the most common recommended treatment for dog’s lymphoma. Chemotherapeutic medications are often given to puppies by vein in order to destroy cancer cells and prevent them from growing. Although most dogs handle these treatments well, they may have some of the same side effects as humans do from chemotherapy, such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, and baldness.
Radiation therapy entails the absorption of gamma rays into the Lymphoma tissue in order to stop malignant cells in their path. For your canines, radiation therapy is harmless, but they may have skin irritation in the affected area. An anti-itch medicine may be provided, or they may be prescribed a cone to wear to avoid scratching and additional skin irritation, both of which can be problematic.
If the lymph nodes or the tumor haven't been removed using the other stated treatments, your dog must already undergo a surgical procedure.
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