Dog lymphoma is cancer affecting white blood cells. Info about diagnosis, lymphoma types, cancer stages, treatment and prognosis (life expectancy). The treatment of lymphoma in dogs depends on the stage of the disease. As a blood cancer, it can affect different organs once it spreads from. Treating the dog's entire body with chemotherapy is important for lymphoma Without treatment the life expectancy in dogs with lymphoma is months.
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Some of the cancer cells do survive in an animal in complete remission, but the numbers of these cells are too small to detect. Eventually, these few cells will grow and the cancer will become evident again. When lymphoma returns, remission may be re-established in most dogs by restarting the original chemotherapy protocol, or by changing to a new set of chemotherapy drugs.
Eventually, the cancer cells will become resistant or insensitive to all drugs and the cancer will no longer respond to therapy. Although chemotherapy does not cure dogs with lymphoma, in most cases it does extend the length and quality of life.
Keep in mind that these are average values. Each dog is an individual and will respond to treatment differently. In effect, it is a permanent state of remission. While this is a possibility, it is more constructive and realistic to focus on increasing quality of life.
It will depend upon how the cancer is behaving, how sick an animal is at the start of treatment, and any abnormalities in organ function especially important are changes in liver and kidney function. The most effective chemotherapy protocol is a multi-agent chemotherapy; several different drugs vincristine, Cytoxan and Adriamycin are alternated in order to reduce the chance that the tumor cells will become resistant and to reduce the risk of side effects.
Other protocols include chemotherapy given once every 2 or 3 weeks either oral or IV , although remission rates and average survival times may be decreased. Most dogs will tolerate chemotherapy well and have minimal side effects. As a result, the undesirable side-effects normally associated with human chemotherapy are both less common and less severe in animals undergoing chemotherapy. The most common side-effect is bone marrow suppression, but nausea and anorexia are also occasionally noted.
While whiskers are commonly lost, substantial hair loss is not experienced by animals undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. These can include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, extreme tiredness or infection. Adriamycin can cause damage to the heart muscle if given multiple times, though most dogs do not receive enough of this drug to be a concern. Cytoxan can cause irritation to the bladder wall in a small percentage of dogs.
If this occurs, you will see changes in urination blood in the urine, straining to urinate, and frequent urination. Unfortunately, the only way to know whether an animal is going to have a drug reaction is to administer the drug. Some animals never get sick during chemotherapy, others can be very sensitive to the drugs. If your pet has a serious reaction, the drugs or doses your pet receives will be adjusted with the goal of maintaining a good quality of life.
As an owner, you can help your pet with lymphoma by watching him or her closely after each treatment. Advanced diagnostic tests include immunocytochemistry, immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry and PCR polymerase chain reaction to determine whether lymphoma is B-cell or T-cell.
Other diagnostic tests may be useful to determine the extent of lymphoma throughout the body. Chest radiographs X-rays and ultrasound examinations can identify enlarged lymph nodes and other organs, as well as other isolated masses.
Bone marrow aspiration can evaluate abnormal cell counts, and cerebrospinal fluid CSF tap is useful if the dog is showing neurological signs. Endoscopy or surgery to biopsy the gastrointestinal tract may be necessary. Staging The stages of lymphoma in dogs basically are as follows: Involvement of bone marrow, blood or any other organ Stage 3 and Stage 4 are the most common stages for dogs.
Each stage can further be classified: Concurrent signs of illness, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, weight loss, etc. Patients who are initially Substage A will eventually develop signs of illness and become Substage B. Patients treated in Substage A have a much better chance for long term survival. Remission is defined as complete or partial disappearance of the signs and symptoms of cancer in response to treatment.
Remission of lymphoma does not mean a cure, since a few microscopic cells may remain and the cancer may ultimately recur relapse. Lymphoma in dogs is usually a generalized or systemic disease, which requires treatment throughout different systems of the body. Chemotherapy, which simply means the use of drugs to treat cancer, is the standard of care for lymphoma. Chemotherapy may be administered as oral tablets or capsules, as well as injections. The most successful therapy for lymphoma includes combinations of different chemotherapy medications, compared to single drugs.
Chemotherapy protocols typically contain from different chemotherapy drugs, each of which affects cancer cells in a different way. If some of the cancer cells are resistant to one drug, ideally they will be sensitive to another drug in the protocol.
The sooner that a multiple-drug therapy is started, generally the better the chance of favorable outcome. Most lymphoma chemotherapy protocols include weekly treatments for 6 to 8 weeks before decreasing the frequency of treatment. Common chemotherapy drugs for lymphoma include vincristine, cyclophosphamide, L-asparaginase and doxorubicin.
Other drugs include epirubicin, lomustine, and mitoxantrone, and treatment protocols may include other less-commonly used agents. Prednisone is the most basic and cost-effective treatment of lymphoma, although life expectancy is significantly shorter and side effects may be more evident. If prednisone is used for a significant period of time before introducing chemotherapy medications, the chemotherapy is often less effective.
It is important to realize that decades of research have gone into patient comfort, minimizing side effects and maximizing response with chemotherapy for lymphoma. Chemotherapy may cause side effects in certain patients, although dogs generally tolerate chemotherapy treatments without the severe side effects that can affect human patients.
In case of serious complications, treatment should be decreased or stopped altogether. When lymphoma relapses recurs , treatment is attempted by reintroducing the original chemotherapy medications that were initially successful. For most patients, the second response is approximately half of the duration seen in the initial therapy.
Some animals certainly enjoy long-term second remission, especially if the patient had good response in the first therapy. These include drugs that are not found in the standard chemotherapy protocol. They are kept in reserve for later use. Radiation therapy may be combined with chemotherapy, although research to date has not shown a clear improvement in the success of remission or life expectancy for dogs with lymphoma.
Stem cell transplant SCT is another possible treatment option with a substantially improved prognosis. SCT cannot be performed on all dogs with lymphoma. Currently, the protocol requires that dogs be in either complete remission or very close to complete remission before they can undergo bone marrow transplant treatment.
Although there are breeds that appear to be at increased risk for this disease, lymphoma can affect any dog of any breed at any age.
Lymphoid tissue normally is found in many different parts of the body including lymph nodes, liver, spleen, gastrointestinal tract and skin. Lymphosarcoma is classified according to the location in the body in which the cancer begins. Causes While we understand how lymphomas form, we still do not understand why. There is speculation that environmental factors such as exposure to pesticides especially herbicide 2,3-D or strong magnetic fields increase the incidence, but there is currently no strong proof of this.
There is also some evidence of a possible genetic correlation, but further studies need to be performed to determine the exact risk factors involved in canine lymphoma. Risk Factors Lymphosarcoma occurs in middle-aged to older dogs.
In fact, most affected dogs are between years of age. Certain breeds of dogs have a higher than average risk of developing this disease and include Rottweilers, Scottish terriers, Golden retrievers, Basset hounds, and German shepherds. Males and females are affected equally. In dogs, there may be a genetic basis for this disease and, in certain breeds, some families several closely related animals have been affected. Occasionally, lymphoma can affect lymph nodes that are not visible or palpable from outside the body, such as those inside the chest or in the abdomen.
Other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, difficulty breathing and increased thirst or urinations. Cutaneous lymphosarcoma can cause redness or flakiness of the skin, ulceration especially near the lips and on the footpads , itchiness or lumps in the skin. Clinical signs will vary depending on the stage of the disease, volume of tumor and anatomic location of the lymphoma.
Diagnosis If the patient is hypercalcemic, assess kidney function, and determine if the dog has normal neutrophil and platelet counts so that chemotherapy can safely be administered. Lymphoma can also be diagnosed with x-rays and ultrasound.
The exact tests performed will depend on the location of the tumor. Once a diagnosis of lymphoma has been established, it is necessary that the cancer be staged. The degree of spread affects the manner in which a dog is treated.
Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere. ;39(4) [Quality of life and life expectancy of dogs undergoing chemotherapy for malignant lymphoma. Lymphoma is a common blood borne cancer in dogs and cats. owners, including expected quality of life, both with and without treatment. Lymphoma is generally seen in middle aged to older dogs (median age, years). Breeds that are believed to have a higher incidence of lymphoma comprise.