Our dogs truly become a part of our families. When our children are ill, they are our main focus and we aren’t at ease until they recover. For the majority of us, our inner aches and empathy is strong with our dogs as well. Our hearts go out to them as we see the signs of old age approaching and do what we can to keep them active and comfortable. But when it’s something more serious, specialists are often called upon.
This is true with canine lymphoma. Lymph nodes are present throughout the body, and therefore this cancer can occur in any of the node locations. It’s derived from white blood cells called lymphocytes. These normally function as part of the immune system, protecting the body from infection. This is the most common form of canine cancer and can affect any dog at any age, but more often affects dogs in middle and old age. There is a higher than average risk for this with Rottweilers, Scottish Terriers, and Golden Retrievers.
There are thirty types of canine lymphoma and symptoms depend on the type and location of the of the cancer. Multicentric occurs first with firm, enlarged, non-painful lymph nodes. Dogs usually have a loss of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, and swelling. Other symptoms depend of the location of the cancer and the organs involved.
Now remember not to panic when your dog has a rash, fatigue, or diarrhea – you must change your dog’s diet to a low carb grain free diet.
It’s always important to identify the reason behind any symptom. Those that don’t go away with time and assistance need further investigation. The diagnosis of lymphoma involves a biopsy and your dog is either heavily sedated or given a general anesthesia for the procedure. Sometimes it also includes a urinalysis and x-rays, or an abdominal sonogram. Treatment really depends of the location and the severity of the cancer. It may involve surgery, but usually involves chemotherapy. Some are followed up with radiation and, or other medicine. Side effects are minimal for most. Few lose any hair.
Immune therapy has been used for hundreds of years for humans. A dogs immune system is very receptive to this kind of therapy. Many dogs experience remission, cancer is reduced or undetectable. At some point most dogs will relapse, the cancer returns. Treatment can begin again and a second remission is possible. In time the cells become more resistant. In general, the treatment extends your dog’s life by an average of nine to thirteen months, but 50% will survive longer. Some decisions so very difficult to make, but it is important to keep in mind the comfort and quality of life for your pal. To learn more about health food for your dog, please visit heathydogma.com.