If you’ve visited SOLID RACKS in Brookvale, chances are you’ve met Beau, a 14 year old male White West Highland Terrier who was diagnosed with lymphoma 5 months ago. Upon a visit to Allambie Veterinary Clinic for his arthritis, Dr Faon Mudie detected two enlarged lymph nodes and upon further diagnosis it was confirmed that Beau had Stage II: Lymphoma. This was an “incidental finding” during Beaus’ examination and because of this early detection, Beau began immediate treatment which resulted in remission within two weeks.
The Life expectancy for a Canine Lymphoma dog who is left untreated can generally be as short as 2 months as Canine Lymphoma grows quickly and eventually takes over the body. The treatment approach is determined by the stage of the disease and in the absence of treatment, most dogs with lymphoma succumb to the disease in 4-6 weeks.
Beau is currently undergoing six months of Systemic Chemotherapy Treatment. His chemotherapy protocol combines cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone in oral, injection and intravenous doses along with regular blood tests. Conventional chemotherapy results in total remission in approximately 60-90% of cases with a median survival time of 6-12 months. In approximately 20-25% cases, dogs live 2 years or longer after initiation of this treatment. The “average” life expectancy of a Canine Lymphoma patient who has undergone chemotherapy may be 12 to 18 months however Beau’s specialist Dr Veronika Langova at SASH has one canine patient who since treatment has been alive for over 5 years!
Some dogs lose their hair during chemotherapy like humans, and this is what happened initially to our Beau. He lost most of the hair around his eyes and snout, as well as his bottom and some patches on his body. As you can see, his hair is growing back again resembling his polar bearish face. Beau is currently showing no signs of the disease, he has a healthy appetite and is enjoying a normal (seemingly healthy) happy, active life while undergoing his treatment. He visits Faon at Allambie Vet for treatment three times a month and sees Veronika at SASH every fourth week for his specialised intravenous treatment. We will update you on Beau’s journey in the New Year after his final course of chemotherapy treatment in December.
Malignant lymphoma or lymphosarcoma is one of the most common neoplasms (tumor) in dogs. They usually originate in lymphoid tissues, like the lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow. However, they can arise in any tissues in the body. Lymphoma accounts for approximately 7-24% of all canine neoplasia (formation of a new tissue) and 83% of all canine hematopoietic (blood cells) malignancies. Lymphoma is generally seen in middle aged to older dogs (median age, 6-9 years). Breeds that are believed to have a higher incidence of lymphoma comprise Boxers, Bull Mastiffs, Basset Hounds, Saint Bernards, Scottish Terriers, Airedales and Bull dogs. Dogs with a lower risk include Dachshunds and Pomerians. Neutered females tend to have a better prognosis.
World Health Organization (WHO) has classified different stages of lymphoma based on its degree of metastasis and invasiveness. They are as follows:
Stage I: Ailment restricted to a single lymph node.
Stage II: Regional lymphadenopathy (restricted to one side of diaphragm).
Stage III: Generalized lymphadenopathy (enlargement of lymph nodes)
Stage IV: Enlargement of the liver and spleen or hepatosplenomegaly (with or without lymphadenopathy)
Stage V: Bone marrow, CNS (Central Nervous System), or involvement of other extranodal sites.
The etiology is largely unknown and likely multi factorial. Certain environmental factors are also believed to trigger the disease. A hospital based case control study of dogs indicated that owners in households that developed malignancy sprayed herbicides on their plants and lawns. Dogs living in industrial areas are believed to be at an increased risk of lymphoma. Moreover, households where owners use more chemicals like paints and solvents, dogs have been found to be slightly predisposed. Weak immune system has also been identified in dogs with lymphoma.
There are basically 5 types of lymphoma-
Central Nervous System