If left untreated, Canine Lymphoma can progress rapidly and cause death within a few short months.
And while current conventional can be very effective at slowing the disease, and create months (or even years) of remission where the cancer is essentially not detectible, eventually the cancer will return and grow. And to make matters worse, since Canine Lymphoma evolves over time, Canine Lymphoma generally adapts and becomes drug resistant. That’s why, once a dog has fallen out of remission, it can often be harder to get him into remission a second or third time around.
As the disease progresses, the original symptoms of the disease,
- Swolen Lymph Notes
- Weight Loss
- Loss of Appetite
- Diarrhea (or black, tarry stool)
- Shortness of Breath
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Increased Thirst
- Increased Urination
- Conjunctivitis (eye infections)
- Lethargy or Depression
- Reclusive Behavior
- Skin Nodules or Masses
- Loss of Fur or Hair
will grow progressively worse as the disease develops. Until over time, dogs with more advanced Canine Lymphoma may also show some or all of the following symptoms
- Canine Lymphoma Symptoms in Later Stages (as the disease progresses)
In addition to the symptoms noted above, as the disease progresses your dog may encounter some or all of the following symptoms:
- Severe Weight Loss
- Difficulty Breathing, Coughing
- Seizures, Paralysis
- Difficulty Swallowing
- Refusal to Eat
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Severe Lethargy
- Bruised or Ulcerated Skin
And in the final “crisis” period of the disease (as the end is approaching)
- Severe Difficulty breathing
- Prolonged seizures
- Uncontrollable Vomiting/Diarrhea
- Sudden Collapse
- Profuse Bleeding – Internal or External
- Crying/Whining from Pain
Obviously, in these latter “crisis” stages of the disease, it’s important to seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
And in the end, Canine Lymphoma will grow to the extent that it takes over and overwhelms the body and its functions.
The cancer, in and of itself, is not actually the problem. The mutated cells themselves aren’t harmful. They’re just defective not performing their originally intended functions. The problem, however, is that these cancer cells multiply so rapidly that they take up space and eventually start moving into the space of organs and things around them that are cricital for survival.
Typically, for dogs with canine lymphoma, to the extent that the treatments are not able to reverse the growth of the cancer (or after a patient falls out of remission for the last time), the cancer cells will eventually take over.
In a lot of dogs the biggest issues we see is that their sub mandibular (jaw) lymph nodes eventually start getting extremely large, and these swollen nodes start pressing up against their throat and windpipe, to the point where they patient is no longer able to breathe or eat. And ultimately, that (starvation or suffocation) would be the cause of death if left untreated.
However, by then, most people generally euthanize their pet when this happens, because there’s often nothing your vet can do, and it becomes time to say goodbye as lovingly and as peacefully as you can.