Lymphoma in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention


Lymphoma is called a cancer of the lymphatic system. This is a category of aggressive malignant tumors that is relatively common in adult dogs and older dogs. Cases are rare in puppies. There are several types of lymphoma. The prognosis is never very good if this cancer spreads quickly to many organs. Let’s take stock of the symptoms that should alert and the different means of management.

Lymphoma in dogs: symptoms

It is often because his dog has not been doing well for some time that the owner decides to take him to the vet. A dog with lymphoma has indeed a great decline in shape. But on palpation, one can find that his lymph nodes, that is, his nodes, have increased in size. This is not a good sign and it is of course enough to consult.

The clinical manifestations are variables since they depend on the type of lymphoma the dog has. It may for example be a lymph node cancer only or even cancer that affects not only the lymph nodes but also one or several organs such as the spleen, liver, intestines, bone mass, digestive tract or ENT area. In the case of epitheliotropic lymphomas, it is in the skin that the symptoms appear, such as, among others, itchy lesions and raised arciform lesions …

Other manifestations are quite possible, and are linked to the extent of the damage. It all depends on whether the cancer affects a particular organ or several organs. The animal can therefore lose its appetite, lose weight, have diarrhea, vomit or have jaundice … Whatever the case, the symptoms of lymphoma are not not specific.

Note that a dog, whatever its breed, can be affected by one of the lymphomas, but certain breeds are more predisposed to it than others. This is the case of the German Shepherd, the Australian Shepherd, the Golden retriever or even the Beagle, the Boxer …

Malignant Tumor of the Lymphatic System in Dogs: Causes

Lymphomas could be favored by the exposure of dogs to environmental pollutants such as pesticides, benzene, dioxins… But we cannot yet clearly identify the cause of this multifactorial pathology.

Cancer of the lymphatic system: treatments in dogs

It is essential to first establish a diagnostic precise in order to set up the most consistent treatment possible. The diversity of symptoms makes the diagnosis of some lymphomas complicated. As the therapeutic choices depend on the category of lymphoma with which the animal is affected, many Additional tests are obviously fundamental. It may be blood tests, an X-ray, an MRI, a CT scan, a fine needle aspiration of the lymph nodes, an organ biopsy, an extension assessment, the latter making it possible to search for possible foci of tumor proliferation …

the lymphoma treatment can be based on cortisone if the level of malignancy of the tumor is low. But in the other cases, a protocol of monochemotherapy or even multidrug therapy is offered to reduce or even eliminate symptoms. The aim is above all to be able to relieve the animal and provide it with a certain daily comfort during and after the treatment. However, chemotherapy causes Side effects in almost half of the dogs treated.

The treatment of lymphoma in dogs is always previously explained to the owner of the animal by the veterinarian specializing in oncology because the decision to apply it or not is up to the breeder. Although canine lymphoma is getting better and better, there are still many cases. It should be noted that a well-groomed dog lives more comfortably and a little longer than if it had not been (i.e. up to 2 years) but cases of total recovery are still extremely rare at present. Finally, we do not know no means of prevention lymphomas in dogs.