Dog Cancer: Recognizing Lymphosarcoma In Your Dog
Dog cancer is back in the news again, this time as a result of a record $30 million fundraising campaign started by the Morris Animal Foundation which will fund canine cancer research at the University of Illinois.
Lymphosarcoma is the most common tumor that occurs in dogs. The malignant tumor is usually found in dogs between the ages of eight and twelve. Unfortunately the cause of this tumor is still unknown and is usually fatal. There are two types of treatments that can be done, if you catch the tumors early enough, both treatments can prolong your dog's life for about another eight months to a year, but these treatments do not cure the dog.
Since the tumor can occur in any organ or location in the body it is hard to decipher the symptoms. The symptoms that your dog will experience will depend in which organ the tumor is found. If you see any major changes in your dog's behavior, or think he has been sick for a while, you should see your vet.
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If the tumor starts in the digestive system you will see symptoms that reflect problems with food in general. This could cause your dog to have prolonged vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. This weight loss can occur even if your dog seems to be eating the same amount that they always have. The liver and spleen could also become enlarged and this enlargement will make the belly look big.
A tumor in the chest is also a possibility and symptoms to look for here would be coughing and difficulty breathing. If you dog is getting winded doing the same activities as normal that he never used to have a problem with, you may want to keep a closer eye on him. This type of tumor can also affect the tonsils.
If your dog has the skin form there will signs on the skin. The skin will start to show many hard, reddened areas. These areas will tend to ulcerate easily and cause the dog to be in pain. If you notice your dog shying away from a good scratching, it may be because his skin is so sensitive.
Some dogs will get these tumors in their eyes; it can show up in just one eye, or in both eyes. The tumor develops under the cornea in the iris, which may cause your dog to have some loss in sight, or be sensitive to the light, as it may hurt the eyes.
Although all of these places can have tumors, the most common place is in the lymph nodes. The tumors cause the lymph nodes just under the skin to become enlarged. These enlarged lymph nodes are usually located on the back of the thighs, the front of the shoulders, and on either side of the throat by the jawbone.
A dog with tumors in the lymph nodes will still act normal, like nothing is wrong. This is why people tend to not realize how serious the swelling is. If the dog does not act sick it does not cause much concern. This lack of concern allows the tumors time to spread to other body parts and it is the spreading of the tumor that then makes the dog act sick, and causes concern.
At this point you will need to see your vet to have testing done to confirm the presence of these tumors; X-rays and blood studies are usually what are done to confirm the tumors. It is also common for the blood studies to reveal that the dog has leukemia as wells as lymphosarcoma.
There are two types of treatment that can be done. The first is to have the tumors surgically removed. This method is impractical if there are many tumors throughout the body. Your next treatment option could be chemotherapy. Your dog will also probably be given a medication to help them feel better.
Article by Kelly Marshall of Oh My Dog Supplies - your online source for large breed dog beds and dog travel accessories.