Even the mention of cancer can unnerve anyone. And when it’s our precious canine, who is suffering from cancer, it can scare us. Lymphosarcoma or Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system in the dog. Lymphoma is one of the most common types of cancer in dogs. If your vet at the Virginia Beach animal hospital has diagnosed your dog with Lymphoma, you should read this blog carefully.
Understanding Lymphoma in dog
Each cell in our body is programmed to do a specific task and has a certain life expectancy. When damaged, normal cells either die or repair themselves. On the other hand, cancerous cells keep growing and cause harm to other healthy cells. Lymphoma is cancer that affects the white blood cells or lymphocytes and is commonly found in the lymph nodes. However, cancer can spread to other organs as well.
A dog can develop Lymphoma at any age. Studies have shown that dogs in the age group of 6 to 9 are more likely to get lymphoma cancer. Certain dog breeds like west highland white terriers, bulldogs, golden retrievers and boxers are at higher risk of this cancer.
Signs of Lymphoma
Most dog owners bring their dogs to Virginia Beach vet hospital when they notice swelling on their bodies. Lymph nodes are present under the neck, armpits, groin region, knee, and front of the chest. Lymph nodes can swell or enlarge due to inflammation of internal organs. Vets often check for lumps and swelling around lymph nodes during physical examination.
What causes Lymphoma in dogs?
Unfortunately, the cause of Lymphoma is unknown to the doctors. In humans, non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is similar to Lymphoma in dogs. In humans, Lymphoma usually happens due to severe immune suppression. However, there are no substantial pieces of evidence that show that immune suppression is the cause for Lymphoma in dogs. Although certain dog breeds are vulnerable to Lymphoma, the cases have not been linked to genetics yet.
Diagnosis of Lymphoma
Veterinarians run various tests and examinations on dogs while diagnosing Lymphoma. Without tests, it’s hard to tell if the tumor is benign or cancerous. During the initial assessment, the vet will first feel your dog’s body and look for the presence of lumps and nodes. If the vet suspects enlargement of any lymph node, they will take its sample and run diagnostics. The technique of taking lymph node samples is called fine needle aspirate. This procedure is done without sedating the pet and is not painful. The sample is then put on the slide and studied under the microscope.
Treatment of Lymphoma
It’s best to refer a board-certified veterinary oncologist if your dog has been diagnosed with Lymphoma. The first step of your dog’s treatment starts with a thorough evaluation of the condition. Then, the doctors will review the overall health of your pet. This helps the vets determine the best course of treatment for your pet, possible side effects, and other aspects. Lymphoma treatment often involves chemotherapy. Luckily, dogs are good at tolerating chemotherapy. However, they may experience nausea or other gastrointestinal discomforts.