Canine lymphoma is something I know pretty well – too well. It is what took the life of my little girl Georgia at only 5 years old. It is a type of cancer that offers great hope in that it often responds very well to conventional treatments and many dogs enjoy a prolonged remission after a lymphoma diagnosis. But, it is also a notoriously difficult cancer to cure, and only a small percentage of dogs with lymphoma end up staying in remission. In my personal experience, it is also the type of cancer that seems to come up over and over again in exceptionally young dogs — more than any other type of cancer. In fact, I’ve known dogs only a year old who have had lymphoma. Unfortunately, the root causes of lymphoma are unknown. Some suggest links to environmental toxins, but it could also be the result of a virus, genetic defects, or something else. While we don’t know what causes it, we do know that a combination of chemotherapy and nutritional therapy (a diet that is low-carb and high in Omega 3 fatty acids) can often prolong your dog’s life by months or years. And, a lot of research is being done to find even better ways to beat this type of cancer. In fact, Washington State University is now offering bone marrow transplants for dogs with cancer. Click Here to read more about this amazing procedure.
Because this is such a common form of cancer in dogs, I wanted to share an article by Wendy Brooks, DVM, that covers some of the most common questions that come up after a diagnosis of multicentric lymphoma. http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&S=0&C=0&A=575
Lymphoma in dogs is also similar to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in humans, so when doing research online, it may be helpful to learn more about how this disease affects humans — often human and veterinary oncology intersect, and there’s certainly a lot more information online about cancer treatments for humans than animals. Here’s one article that you may find useful that explains the role of the lymph system and some of the latest treatments for humans. http://www.medicinenet.com/non-hodgkins_lymphomas/article.htm.
If your dog has been diagnosed with lymphoma, the important thing to remember is to never lose hope. Investigate your treatment options, and live each day like your dog will be among those that achieve a permanent remission. It does happen, so why can’t it happen for you?