Today is National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Day, with an aim to increase awareness about this disease and educate dog owners, who always dread such a diagnosis for their beloved pet.
Whilst Lymphoma is one of the most common cancers of dogs; it’s not all bad news. Thankfully, lymphoma is amongst the most highly treatable canine cancers.
Diagnosis and treatment options are much better understood now and carry a good prognosis, with 80-90% responding to treatment and can even have a remission time of years, with a good quality of life for your furry best friend.
What is Canine Lymphoma?
Canine Lymphoma is often referred to as cancer of the white blood cells. It originates from the cells in the lymph nodes, which circulate around the body in the vascular (blood) system. Lymphoma can therefore affect practically any organ, although the most common are the organs that form part of the dog’s immune system, such as the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and bone marrow.
Early Detection = Better Prognosis
Between you and your veterinarian, this is one disease you really can help detect early. An early diagnosis means early application of the best possible treatment plan and therefore a better chance of a successful outcome for your canine companion.
Symptoms to look out for:
Usually Lymphoma is first noticed by enlarged lymph nodes under the dog’s chin, at the back towards their neck.
They may also show signs of one or more of the following:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Increased thirst
- Increased urination
- Skin nodules or masses
Many skin nodules or bumps turn out to be benign lumps of fatty tissue and may not even need to be removed, unless they are causing discomfort or a mobility problem for your pet.
HOWEVER, a routine physical examination with your veterinarian can always detect many more hidden symptoms, such as an enlarged organ. It’s therefore important you refer any visible symptoms to them immediately and don’t skip your dog’s annual health check, so you can catch and treat any issues as soon as possible!
Be the Best Guardian of Your Dog’s Wellbeing
At the end of the day, our dogs rely on us totally to notice changes in their behavior and health and then take them to a veterinarian for a professional opinion.
So, when you’re cuddling up with your pooch on the settee, or giving them a massage after an energetic exercise session, or lathering them in shampoo at bath time, take the opportunity to give them a regular check over.
Your dog will be in absolute bliss, totally unaware of this informal examination and it will allow you to run your hands all over their body and identify any oddities, such as lumps, bumps or particularly tender areas. Pay special attention to areas under their chin at the back towards their neck and under their armpits.
It’s also good to make a routine of checking your pet’s gum color, eyes, ears and mouth – I tend to do this as a separate routine and ensure they are rewarded with a treat after each bodily part is checked, so they associate this with something good!
Remember 1 dog year is equal to 7 human years, so it’s important to get your canine companions checked over every year with the veterinarian and be especially vigilant as they get older (i.e. 7+ dog years old), when health issues tend to occur more frequently – just like us humans!
Canine cancer is probably the worst fear for any dog owner but, by doing these simple checks, we can look out for our furry friends and help them live a long, happy and active life!
Wishing you and your canine companions the best of health – always!
Helen Broadley & The FidoActive Team