This is the first year for National Canine Lymphoma Day to be recognized in efforts to raise more awareness of lymphoma in dogs, one of the most common canine cancers.
This awareness campaign all started when well-known and respected dog agility trainer and competitor, Terry Simons, was devastated when his “heart and soul” dog, Reveille, was diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2011. Terry did all he could for her but soon discovered the accurate information regarding options and treatment can be elusive. Terry connected with professionals that helped him choose the best path for his beloved companion.
When Terry chose to let Reveille go, one year and a week after her diagnosis, he knew he was making the right decision for her. Grief can do strange things, it can destroy and it can inspire. In this case, the realization that he may lose Reveille at any time inspired Terry to form CLEAR (Canine Lymphoma Education Awareness and Research), a cancer foundation dedicated to providing information, resources and research into the devastating disease. Reveille’s legacy is to ensure that dog owners know their options, thereby being empowered advocates of their four-legged family members.
Lymphoma is a common type of cancer in dogs that results from the unregulated growth of malignant lymphocytes (tumor) that often affects lymph nodes, bone marrow, liver, and spleen, but can also be seen in the eyes, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Dogs can have enlarged lymph nodes, but have no clinical signs of illness. Some dogs may be depressed, lethargic, vomiting, losing weight, losing fur/hair, febrile, and/or have decreased appetite. Lymphoma is diagnosed with diagnostic lab work and an aspirate of the lymph nodes.
Early Signs To Watch For
Early stages of lymphoma will often result in these beginning symptoms:
Enlarged lymph nodes (may be seen in one or all regions- under jaw, in the chest region, armpits, behind the knees, groin)
Diarrhea or black, tarry stool
Conjunctivitis – eye infections
Loss of fur or hair
Increased water consumption
How is it treated?
Chemotherapy is the most common treatment practice. While there is no cure for lymphoma, with a good therapeutic protocol, the average survival time can be 9 to 12 months longer. A dog appropriately treated for lymphoma can live a relatively comfortable, productive life for many months. A personalized treatment plan is important to slow the progression of lymphoma. Talk to your veterinarian regarding the best treatment protocol for your dog.
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