Nobody wants to get the news that their pet is sick. Naturally, pets are part of your family, and it can be devastating to hear that your companion has been diagnosed with an illness, let alone something as daunting as canine lymphoma – one of the more common cancers found in dogs. This illness does not only affect the pet, but also the entire family. We sat down with Trupanion veterinarian, Dr. Sarah Nold, to talk about canine lymphoma and offer best practices for you and your furry companion.
What every pet owner should know about canine lymphoma
Signs of canine lymphoma
The signs can vary from pet to pet. “Often a dog with lymphoma doesn’t have any signs other than new lumps, which on examination by your veterinarian are determined to be enlarged lymph nodes,” states Nold.
Consider the following signs that may be associated with lymphoma:
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Polydipsia/polyuria (drinking and/or peeing a lot)
- Abnormal lesions on the skin
Another good way to stay aware of your pet’s health is to check for lumps and be pro-active with yearly wellness check-ups. If at any point you have any causes for concern, please seek veterinarian care for your dog.
The initial canine lymphoma stages and what to expect
Upon your first cancer care visit, you will want to make sure all diagnostics are performed on your pet. Nold breaks down what to expect and the process for your pet.
“At this point, your veterinarian will likely recommend an aspirate or biopsy of one or more of the lymph nodes to confirm the diagnosis of lymphoma. Also, diagnostics will help determine how much cancer has spread and diagnosis. Naturally, depending on biopsy results, it will determine the course of action and the treatment plan.”
Canine lymphoma treatment
Treatment is just one of the many resources available to your pet for Canine Lymphoma. Also, it is important to stay on track with your pet’s treatment plan and notate any observations to your veterinarian. “Your veterinarian may recommend a referral to an oncologist after the lymphoma is diagnosed. Treatment for lymphoma usually includes chemotherapy. Radiation therapy and /or surgery may also be appropriate for specific forms of lymphoma. Oncologists often have the most up-to-date information regarding new protocols and new information,” cites Nold.
Additionally, you can choose to participate in support groups and forums to care for yourself through your pet’s treatment regimen. Your pet and family are undergoing an emotional and physical journey, and the additional support of those that are going through similar circumstances can be an invaluable tool. While your pup is in treatment, the use of a support system is essential to stay strong for yourself and your best friend.
How to alleviate pain, stress, and discomfort for your pup
When your pet is sick all you want to do is take away any pain or fear. By providing a solid support base, staying positive, and adhering to your veterinarian’s treatment plan, you are providing the best course of action for your pet. You’re on this journey together and an indefinite amount of kisses, cuddles, and love would benefit any pet anytime!
Family transitions and the road to recovery
The goal of any illness is a clean bill of health.
“The goal of treatment is remission, which more than 80% of dogs will usually go into during their first month of chemotherapy,” points out Nold.
Also, communication with your veterinarian is key. Note any adverse reactions your pet might be experiencing due to treatment. At the end of the day, you know your pet the best – if something seems off, seek veterinary care immediately.
Canine Lymphoma: the road to recovery
Certainly, the road to recovery can be challenging. But with the support of your veterinarian and unlimited love and support for your furry family member, remission is possible. A clean bill of health should be supported by veterinarian appointments and daily monitoring of your pet’s progress.