Canine Lymphosarcoma

Canine Lymphosarcoma is a malignant cancer affecting the lymphnodes throughout a dog’s body. Lymphosarcoma is the most common of the cancers found in dogs. Although this cancer is not usually cured, with treatment the caner may go into remission, adding almost a year to the length of the dog’s life.

Canine Lymphosarcoma presents itself in five forms. These are multicentric, which affects the peripheral nodes located throughout the body of the affected dog, alimentary, which affects the lymphnodes located in the stomach and intestines, mediastinal, which affects the lymphnodes in the front part of the chest, cutaneous, which affects the skin and extranodal, which affects the eyes, central nervous system, bones, heart, kidneys, bladder and nasal cavity.

Symptoms of Canine Lymphoma include enlargement of the lymphnodes, a lack of energy, decreased appetite leading to weight loss, and increased thirst leading to an increase in bladder output, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy and difficulty breathing.

Anytime a dog owner becomes aware of their dog having these symptoms, they should carry the dog to their veterinarian. The veterinarian will then diagnose the doge by drawing blood and doing blood tests, taking x-rays, doing a physical exam and if needed, performing a biopsy.

Treatment of Canine Lymphosarcoma is Chemotherapy using L-asparaginase, Vincristine, Cytoxan and Adriamycin. The drugs used and the schedule the veterinarian decides on depends on the aggressiveness of the cancer, the behavior of the cancer and the overall health of the dog. The drugs used will be rotated to reduce the side effects caused ny the drugs and to help keep the cancer cells from becoming resistant to the treatment. Chemotherapy is given weekly for four to six months, and then reduced to once every two weeks for the next four to six months. At this time, the dog should be in remission and the treatment can further be reduced to once every three weeks for 6 months. If the dog remains in remission after one and a half years, the treatment will be stopped.

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