As a vet, it is never a nice feeling to have to tell an owner that you think their pet might have cancer. Dogs suffer from a variety of different cancers just like humans do. And some are more treatable than others.
Veterinary treatments have come a long way in the last 20 years, and one of the fields that has shown the greatest advancement is oncology. We can treat many cancers better and with greater success now than ever before. There are whole units at referral centres dedicated to oncology and offering your pet the best treatments around.
Lymphoma is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in domestic dogs and, fortunately, one of those that we have a lot of options with how to treat.
What is lymphoma?
Lymphoma is a cancer of the body’s lymph nodes and lymphatic system, which is the system that is key in the ability to fight infections and crucial in the reservoir of immunity to all mammals.
This particular cancer originates in cells called lymphocytes which are responsible for the ability of the body to mount a response to invaders like bacteria, viruses and toxins. These cells travel all over the body, which means that lymphoma can present with signs all over the body.
What dogs get lymphoma?
It most commonly affects dogs in middle to older age groups, although can affect them at any age.
Whilst any breed of dog can get it, there are several breeds that are more susceptible than others, with a possible genetic link meaning that when getting a puppy it is always worth doing your research where possible to see if any previous litters and relatives have had the disease: