Monday, 11/15/2021

Introduction 

Dogs are considered humans’ great companions. The relation between humans and dogs is acutely attuned to our emotions and happiness. The bonding pet parent shares with this furry friend is unique. For dog parents, the pet is a part of their family, and they are concerned about the pet’s health and well-being.

As a pet parent, we also ensure providing a healthy and happy environment for our bet. But to keep any medical emergency at bay, it’s good to know about some challenging health issues that may be fatal for the dogs if untreated.

November 7th is the National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day. This day intends to educate pet owners and the veterinarian community to create awareness about the disease. Let’s understand the signs, reasons, diagnosis, and treatment of this health problem on this occasion. In this article, we have shared some significant facts about the deadly disease. Let’s get started.

Terry Simons, a dog agility trainer loved her dog, Reveille. The dog was diagnosed with canine lymphoma. While gathering resources and attempting to save her dog, Terry realized that spreading awareness about this deadly issue was essential. 

She took an initiative to educate pet owners about this type of dog cancer, by forming CLEAR – Canine Lymphoma Education Awareness and Research.

Since then, the foundation has actively worked towards spreading awareness about this disease. They put sincere efforts into letting the pet owners know the possible options to treat and save their furry friends. 

Spreading awareness about this life-threatening issue among dog owners and veterinary practitioners is crucial. The intention is to prevent and treat this health hazard effectively.

The search for treatment options and resources usually begins when a pet dog is diagnosed with this issue. However, it is better to know about it beforehand. Isn’t it? Let’s figure out various aspects of this life-threatening issue among dogs.

The Meaning of Canine Lymphoma

This is a common form of canine cancer. Technically, it refers to a group of around 30 different cancers. These cancers originate in the lymphocytes – specific kinds of white blood cells that fight infections.

Practically, lymphocytes are spread across the dog’s body. However, they accumulate more in the organs supporting the dog’s immune system, like bone marrow, lymph nodes, and spleen.

The following are the four significant types:

  • Mediastinal Lymphoma
  • Extranodal Lymphoma
  • Multicentric Lymphoma, and
  • Alimentary Lymphoma

Each of these types has unique characteristics. The severity and the expected survival rate also differ based on the cancer type. Unfortunately, the research shows that the disease proliferates. The survival rate of a dog, if untreated after diagnosis, would be meager.

What are the Causes?

It is difficult to explain the exact causes of this form of dog cancer. However, experts indicate the role of various genetic and environmental influences. Some of the most crucial reasons are:

  • Exposure to chemicals and toxic substances
  • Exposure to electromagnetic fields and radiation

Both male and female dogs of six years or older are more prone to get this disease. In some cases, it is found in younger dogs also. However, spayed female dogs have a better prognosis. The experts are researching further to find out the possibilities related to genetics and chromosomal aspects.

Symptoms Among Pet Dogs

The symptoms of this health issue differ based on the type.

  • Multicentric Lymphoma

You can notice swelling in the dog’s chest, neck, and behind its knees. Initially, there may not be any other signs of this disease. However, additional indications, like fever, weakness, lethargy, weight loss, and dehydration, may pop up if the dog is not treated.

  • Alimentary Lymphoma

Dogs may frequently vomit, experience abdominal pain, lose weight, and suffer from diarrhea.

  • Mediastinal Lymphoma

Lesions may develop in the dog’s chest cavity, leading to cough and difficulty in breathing. Dogs may have swelling on the front legs, and thirst may increase, which may lead to frequent urination.

  • Extranodal Lymphoma

The symptoms of Extranodal Lymphoma depend upon the infected organ. Dogs may face kidney failure, fractures in the bones, respiratory issues, and even blindness.

The symptoms indicating this type of dog cancer may be wide-ranging. Veterinarians need to gauge the severity of the disease through proper diagnostic methods at the right time. Early diagnosis of this medical condition enhances the probability of recovery and increases the survival rate of dogs suffering from the disease. 

How Can You Diagnose?

Early detection and immediate treatment would be the key to faster recovery in any type of this dog cancer. Suppose dog owners notice any of the indications mentioned above. In that case, they must take the dog to a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

  • Ask Questions

Initially, the veterinarians should ask pet parents regarding:

  • The dog’s health history, 
  • The beginning of the symptoms in their dog, and 
  • Any changes in the routine after noticing the signs. 

Veterinarians should try to collect maximum information regarding the dog’s health, routine, symptoms, and changes after noticing the symptoms. This data helps vets to analyze the severity of the health issue precisely.

 

Credit: Image from Pexels by Tima Miroshnichenko

  • Thorough Physical Exam

Vets should conduct a thorough physical examination of the patient dog. Keen observation of the organs prone to cancer infection is highly essential. Proper analysis of legs, neck, chest and other parts of the dog’s body makes the diagnosis easy.

  • Diagnostic Tests

Veterinarians need to conduct some advanced tests to determine if cancer exists. Advance tests are also crucial to diagnose the type of canine lymphoma and assess the disease’s severity. The following are some significant tests required to diagnose this issue:

  • Analysis of fluid from lymph node

Analysis of the fluid extracted from lymph nodes helps vets to determine the type of this cancer in dogs.

  • X-Rays

X-Rays help accurately analyze the effect of cancer (if any) on the dog’s bones and other organs.

  • Ultrasound Tests

Ultrasound tests may help in identifying a tumor in the dog’s body. However, further detailed analysis like a biopsy is required to determine if the tumor is practically cancerous.

  • Diagnostic Imaging

Other forms of diagnostic imaging will help veterinarians assess the abnormal growth of tissues in any internal part of the dog’s body.

A combined result of information gathered from the pet owner, physical examination, and diagnostic tests will help vets decide on the existence of the specific canine cancer, its type, severity, and the expected survival rate of every individual dog.

Research shows that some dog breeds are more prone to this issue, including golden retrievers, boxers, bulldogs, and Airedale terriers. Go through this detailed blog to know more. 

The pet parents of these species need to be extra careful. It is necessary to book a vet appointment for a check-up at the earliest whenever they notice any symptoms of canine lymphoma.

Treatment

Veterinarians should understand the fact that lymphoma in dogs is difficult to cure completely. However, this form of cancer has been successfully treated before. The specific line of treatment largely relies on the type of lymphoma.

Let’s drill down some significant ways to treat this life-threatening disease among dogs:

  • Chemotherapy

Veterinarians usually recommend chemotherapy to dogs suffering from this medical condition. General vets should refer the patients to specialist vet oncologists for specialized treatment. Oncologists have expertise in designing the dosage and undertaking the treatment by assessing the dog’s breed, age, the severity of this issue, and other crucial factors. Oncologists follow many protocols while executing the treatment.

  • Medication

Prescribing medication for lymphoma in dogs requires adequate experience and expertise. Vets prescribe medication as a therapy or a part of a therapy to treat a patient. The pet parents must honor the recommendations of vets and refrain from using any drug, therapy, or supplements without consulting the specialist vets.

  • Radiation

Vets may provide radiation treatment along with chemotherapy or as a dedicated treatment, depending upon the severity of lymphoma. This is a specialized treatment, and general vets should consult an expert to provide this treatment to any dog suffering from lymphoma or any other form of cancer.

  • Surgery

The surgical procedure to remove the mass-like lesions developed in the dog’s internal organs is possible. Read this article to know more about a successful surgery on a dog to remove the affected part of a dog’s intestine. The technology is advancing, and the research may bear positive results. We can expect reliable surgical methods to make surgeries successful to get rid of lymphoma among dogs.

  • Targeted Therapies

Usually, the drugs prescribed along with chemotherapy may cause some side effects. Some research institutes are designing targeted therapies for canine lymphoma to eliminate the chances of any adverse impact. The drugs will act only on the cancer tissues, which will minimize the trouble due to the effect on the adjacent tissues in the dog’s body.

Diagnosing and treating lymphoma in dogs may be challenging. Dog parents should spend quality time with their pets regularly, feeding them, walking them, and playing with them. Following an ideal routine helps to recognize any abnormality at the earliest. Consulting a vet immediately after noticing the symptoms of lymphoma can save your dogs.

How To Observe National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day on November 7th?

CLEAR – Canine Lymphoma Education Awareness and Research takes many meaningful initiatives consistently to spread awareness about this fatal health issue among dogs. They educate and empower dog parents. Along with that, they encourage research to find cures to this medical condition.

Dog parents and veterinarians across the country can observe this special day – November 7 – the National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day – in many ways, such as: 

  • Educating Pet Parents and Their Families

As an honor to CLEAR’s initiatives, veterinarians can educate their clients and families on this challenging health disorder. An easy way may be to contribute to relevant online forums, post informative content on social media, and promote healthy and happy life for pets.

The vet community can plan an event or systematize the workflow on or before this date. They can ensure that the special day is observed for the beloved pets.

  • Scheduling a Vet Visit

Pet parents can schedule a visit to the vet clinic for a preventive checkup of their furry friends on this date. It’s good to know a vet nearby to take immediate care of your pet. If pet parents are new to a place, they can always take the help of our platform to search for the best-rated vet near them.

Our website is an online vet discovery platform. It bridges the gap between responsible pet parents seeking medical attention for their pets and veterinarians operating across the country. We offer the most convenient method to search for vets near you through a dedicated platform for a location-specific list of veterinarian clinics and hospitals.

  • Rescuing a Dog

Make this day memorable by adopting a dog. Aspiring pet parents can find many such dogs in animal rescue centers. They need a family like yours. Go ahead and adopt an old dog on this day and bring a new member to your family to share and cherish memorable moments.

The Final Thoughts

The National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day on November 7 brings an opportunity to know more about the fatal health issue. This blog intends to take the thought of trainer Terry Simons further.

We hope the details about the meaning, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of the worst form of cancer among dogs will be helpful. The ways to observe this special day mentioned here will surely inspire you to take on meaningful activities. 

Author

Rajashree Goswami

About Rajashree Goswami About Rajashree Goswami