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Dog lymphoma

Canine Lymphoma:

Lymphoma refers to a type of cancer that develops in the lymph nodes, liver and spleen of the body.

It can occur in other internal organs as well. Without treatment the cancer can progress rapidly and can also be fatal. Lymphoma in dogs is usually treated with chemotherapy, which can prolong the lifespan. Middle aged and older dogs are more prone to developing lymphomas.

Causes of Lymphoma in Dogs:

The exact reason as to why lymphomas occur is still not known. There is no link between lymphomas and other infections in dogs. Some researchers believe that exposure to chemicals in pesticides or radiation may increase the likelihood of lymphomas, but there is no strong evidence to back this up. A genetic disposition has also been suggested with regard to lymphoma in dogs, but further research is still underway to prove this point.

The location of lymphoma tumor determines the kind of symptoms that occur. Swollen lymph nodes in dogs may be the only symptom if lymph nodes are affected. Tumors in the gastrointestinal tract may cause loss of weight, nausea, diarrhea and appetite loss. Lymphoma of the chest area causes breathlessness and heart sounds. On the skin, lymphoma can result in one or more lumps. Lymphoma may be diagnosed through blood tests, biopsies, ultrasound tests and x-rays.

Treatment for Canine Lymphoma:

The treatment for lymphoma in dogs is chemotherapy. Surgical procedures and radiation therapy are not effective in treating lymphoma as it is a systemic condition. Chemotherapy may be administered to the dog in the form of injections or oral medication. If left untreated, lymphoma may reduce the dog’s life expectancy to just about 5 to 6 additional weeks. There are medications that can alleviate the pain, swelling and discomfort, but these do not advance life expectancy. For dogs that receive treatment, the lifespan averages to up to a year or longer. Immune boosters may also be administered to the dog to improve life expectancy. These have glyconutrients, a combination of sugars, which serve to strengthen the body’s immune system. The diet also makes a great deal of difference to the dog health care. A diet that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and low in carbohydrates is recommended. Carbohydrates tend to encourage cancer cells and hence must be reduced in the diet. Fatty acids will help to provide nourishment and hence are beneficial for the dog. A moderate amount of foods containing protein may also be incorporated in the diet. 

  Submitted on May 7, 2010  

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