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Dog Lymphoma Cancer

Veterinarian Reviewed on March 29, 2014 by Dr. Janice Huntingford

Dog Lymphoma Cancer

Signs and Symptoms

Lymphoma is a common type of cancer occurring in dogs. It can occur in the organs or lymph nodes and leads to a high mortality rate if left untreated. The most successful form of treatment is chemotherapy which may add months or years to a dog’s life.

Currently there is no specific cause outlined for this type of Dog Cancer in dogs. Theories persist, but facts are not available at this point. In cats, scientists believe there may be a link between the Feline Leukemia Virus and lymphosarcoma.

The location of the cancer will determine the symptomatic manifestations of the disease. Lymph node tumors may simply result in swelling, whilst intestinal forms can cause a lack of appetite, Dog Diarrhea and vomiting which results in a loss of weight. If the lymphoma is on the skin, you will notice lumps on the dog’s skin or possibly inside their mouth.


The diagnosis of lymphoma is accomplished by various tests. These include biopsies of the tumors, blood tests and aspirating fluid or tissue from the tumor. The location of the tumor will determine the type of tests needed for proper diagnosis.


The most common form of lymphoma treatment is chemotherapy. Since this is a systemic disease, the administration of radiation or surgery is an impractical form of treatment. The most commonly used pharmaceuticals are those that are used in chemotherapy for humans as well. Pharmaceuticals such as vincristine, cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin as well as prednisone are the most commonly used Pharmaceuticals. The protocol most often depends on who is administering the Pharmaceuticals. Canine oncologists should be consulted to find out the latest protocols to know which treatments are current, which are new and which would be best for your dog and its particular needs.

The long term outlook for lymphoma is not particularly good. While prednisone will reduce swelling and may reduce pain to a certain, bearable, degree, it will not prolong the life of the dog. If you are anticipating chemotherapy it is not advisable to administer oral prednisone before the chemotherapy is administered. When the symptoms are evident and no treatment is selected, the life span of the dog is usually four to six weeks.

If you choose to have chemotherapy administered to your dog, their life may be extended one year or sometimes slightly even longer. However, most dogs do tolerate chemotherapy quite well. During the times of administration, the quality of their life is usually good during that period. Chemotherapy can usually be administered by your local veterinarian. There is usually little need to travel to a veterinary college or a big university clinic for the proper treatment. Whilst one year may not seem like a very long time for the extension of your dog’s life, it is in fact almost ten per cent of their total expected life span. The life expectancy and remission rate may be well worth yours, your veterinarian’s and your dog’s efforts.

The comfort of your dog is a very important point to consider. Lymphoma can cause pain, shortness of breath (if in the chest area) and other problems. When you consult with your vet and have the tests performed it should allow you to know what stage of lymphoma your dog is in. It is important to have an early diagnosis and treatment if that is the road you choose to take.

Suggested products

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Additional Dog Cancer Pages

Dog Cancer | Dog Skin Cancer | Dog Lung Cancer | Dog Bladder Cancer | Dog Pancreatic Cancer | Dog Bone Cancer | Dog Cancer Prevention | Dog Cancer Diagnosis | Dog Gastric Cancer | Dog Mast Cell Tumors

Read also: Dog Nasal Planum Cancer
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Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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