What is lymphoma?
This is a condition also known as lymphatic cancer. Lymphoma is a term that is used to cover various types of cancers that stem from lymphocytes.
Lymphocytes are an example of white blood cells found in the blood.
They are used to fight disease-causing organisms in the body and turn protect the body from diseases.
The lymphocytes are found in the organs of the body that require the highest immunity but can be found anywhere else.
Lymphoma can happen in all dog breeds but is highly prone to some particular breeds. Here are the breeds that are at high risk of getting lymphoma: German shepherds, Bulldogs, Scottish terriers, Bullmastiffs, Saint Bernard, Airedale, Boxer dogs, and basset hounds. This does not mean that these dog breeds have to get lymphoma but because they are more prone, it is advisable to go for more health checkups on the same.
Below is what you need to know about lymphoma in dogs and other helpful information about the condition.
What are the types of lymphoma?
There are approximately 30 types of lymphoma that affect dogs but only four are mainly talked about.
This is because they are the four common types of lymphoma that commonly affect dogs.
It is hoped that in due time, there will be genetic tests and analysis that can help single out whether genetics play a role in these cancerous growths and other predispositions.
Below is more on the types of lymphoma:
1. Multicentric lymphoma
This is the most common type of lymphoma that affects dogs.
This type of lymphoma tends to affect the lymph nodes in the dog.
The most obvious symptom of those types of lymphoma is the enlargement of the lymph glands in your dog.
2. Mediastinal lymphoma
This type of lymphoma is considered rare as compared to other commonly observes types of lymphoma such as multicentric lymphoma.
It affects both the mediastinal lymph glands and thymus glands.
The lymphoma causes the thymus and lymph nodes in the chest to enlarge.
This condition is caused by malignant and toxic t-type of lymphocytes in the body.
3. Alimentary lymphoma
This is the second most common type of lymphoma that affects dogs.
it is mainly characterized by intestinal problems because these particular conditions affect the intestines.
4. Extranodal lymphoma
This type of lymphoma attacks one type of organ.
This means it could affect the skin only or even the central nervous system.
The most common one is that of the skin. It is known as cutaneous lymphoma.
What causes lymphoma in dogs?
With lymphoma being a type or some type of cancer caused by the growth of cancerous cells, the main cause of lymphoma is not entirely known.
It is the same way that the growth of cancerous cells in humans is not easily explainable.
It is also good to note that dogs are usually exposed to the same carcinogenic substances that humans are exposed to because we share a similar immediate environment.
How is lymphoma treated?
Like most types of cancer, the variant on what type of treatment to be used on your dog depends on what stage it is and how severe it is. Here are the common types of cancer treatments in dogs:
1. Chemotherapy — This is the most preferred type of treatment.
It is the same thing as chemotherapy in humans with the only difference being the side effects of the treatment.
The side effects of the treatment are not as severe as those in humans.
For example, hair loss in dogs is not as strongly experienced as in humans except in some breeds.
2. Radiation therapy
3. Surgery — For surgery to be performed, there has to be a safe way of removing the tumor through surgery thus this is usually advisable in the early stages of lymphoma.
How do dogs live with lymphoma?
It is common to think that your dog’s life is over after receiving news but that is usually not the case.
After the diagnosis, it is always important to have a lengthy discussion with your vet about the diagnosis and what can be done.
Better treatment process
If cancer has not spread as much and your dog is undergoing chemotherapy or other forms of treatments, it is important to try and make life easier for your dog on their way to recovery.
Here are some of the things you could do to make sure your dog has a comfortable treatment process:
- Ensure they are comfortable. Make their spaces comfortable as possible.
- Make sure to get them on the right medication and make sure to follow up to ensure your dog is taking the medicine as prescribed.
- Try and find other ways of encouraging their appetite rather than depending on medication alone.
- Get to note what they will eat and ensure you stock up on that to encourage them to eat despite their loss of appetite.
Ease the pain, permanently
In intense and more severe stages of lymphoma and other types of cancer, there is usually the option of choosing whether to end your dog’s life to minimize the pain they are undergoing or to allow them to live out their life until their last breath.
Whichever choice is made has its consequences.
1. If the choice is made to let your dog live out their remaining life for as long as possible; you may see your dog suffering and have no control over it.
They may start to lose weight and become very lethargic.
They may show discomfort in moving from one place and may stop being as full of life as they used to be.
If this choice that you make, one must be ready for all of this or even a more positive outcome.
It is just important not to rule out the worst-case scenario.
2. If the choice of putting down your dog is the one made, the family should consult the vet and specialist who performs the tests to make the necessary arrangements and to give everyone ample time to say goodbye.
It is good to make this your last option hence it is important to do the necessary research required for such a situation.
From the above, lymphoma is a dangerous type of cancer that affects dogs.
To reduce the chances of your dog getting it, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and go for regular health screenings at the vet.