German Shepherd Lymphoma | Lymphosarcoma | Cancer | Canine & Dog Lymphoma
Lymphosarcoma, commonly known as Lymphoma is a cancer that afflicts the lymphoid system, the part of your German Shepherd dog’s body that helps to constitute the immune system’s defense against carriers of infection, including viruses and bacteria. Lymphoid tissue occurs throughout the body, including in the skin, spleen, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and in the lymph nodes,. Sub-types of this cancer are classified according to the origin of origin. Most common among manifestations of lymphoma is the multicentric form of the disease, which afflicts 80% of dogs suffering from lymphoma, and which afflicts the lymph nodes throughout the body (often most prominently in the neck).
Middle-aged and older dogs are more susceptible to lymphoma than their younger counterparts. As with most cancers, the precise cause of the condition is not clear, but it has been suggested that exposure to the herbicide 2,3-D may increase risk of onset of lymphoma. Genetic predispositions to the condition also do exist, thus be sure to ask your breeder about your German Shepherd dog’s medical history in order to assess his risk.
If your German Shepherd dog is suffering from multicentric lymphoma, you may be able to feel lumps or swelling in the neck as a result of enlarged lymph nodes. Other symptoms include lethargy, a decrease in appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing, as well as an uncharacteristic increase in both thirst and frequency of urination. Dogs suffering from the cutaneous form of this condition may also have ulcerations, flaky skin, or red irritation in the lips, on the footpads, or elsewhere on the skin. A full diagnosis can be performed via a fine needle aspirate of an enlarged lymph node and/or a biopsy of the lymph node, gastrointestinal tract, bone marrow, and/or other potentially afflicted area.
The most common form of treatment available for dogs suffering from lymphoma is chemotherapy, although surgery and radiation therapy are also available for localized forms of the disease. While fewer than 20% of dogs with lymphoma will live more than 2 years beyond treatment, chemotherapy can lead to remissions of between 6 and 11 months before a second round of chemotherapy is necessary; however, fewer than one in five dogs are capable of undergoing a third round of chemotherapeutic treatment.