How To Detect Lymph Node Cancer In Dogs: Symptoms And Treatment

How To Detect Lymph Node Cancer In Dogs: Symptoms And Treatment

May 27, 2011 | Dog Cancer | Leave a Comment |

Cancer of the lymph nodes is one of the most common cancers affecting dogs worldwide. It comprises about 10 to 20% of all cancers in dogs. It is also known as lymphosarcoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It usually occurs in middle aged to old dogs.

Lymph Node Cancer in Dogs

  • It affects the lymphoid system, the system handling the immune defense system of the dog’s body.
  • It can affect the lymph nodes. Because there are a lot of lymph nodes in the body, the cancer can affect virtually any organ in the body.
  • The following are the possible causes why dogs develop lymph node cancer:
    • Exposure to certain environmental factors, including:
      • Herbicides
      • Pesticides
      • Strong magnetic fields
  • Genetic factors; dogs with a family history of this ailment are more likely to develop the ailment than others.

Lymph Node Cancer in Dogs Symptoms

  • Some symptoms that dog owners should watch out for include:
    • Weight loss
    • Vomiting
    • Increased thirst and urination
    • Breathing difficulties
    • Visible or palpable lumps at the:
      • In front of the shoulders
      • Under the neck
      • Behind the knees
      • Skin
  • Ulcerations
  • Because the symptoms could be confused with other ailments, the vet will run diagnostic tests.


  • Surgical removal of the tumors is the first option that the vet will consider. However, this does not apply to all cases because certain conditions have to be met. For instance, the tumor should be localized and located in an area where it can be easily removed.
  • Radiation and chemotherapy are also effective options.
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Lymph Cancer in Dogs

  • Lymph cancer is the third most common form of cancer that can affect dogs. This ailment can affect all dogs, no matter that their gender, breed, size, or age.
  • Still, some dog breeds are more prone to this ailment than other breeds. Examples of these breeds are:
    • Scottish terriers
    • Golden retrievers
    • Rottweilers
    • Dogs aged 6 to 8 years also have a higher risk of developing this ailment.
    • The exact causes of lymph cancer are not yet known.
      • It is possible that it is a hereditary ailment.
      • It is also possible that exposure to carcinogens and toxins such as pesticides can lead to this ailment.


  • The following are some of the symptoms observed in lymph cancer:
    • Enlarged lymph nodes that can be felt or seen on the shoulders, behind the knees, or on the neck. Still, there are times when the lymph nodes could not be felt or seen but are still there.
    • Lumps on the skin
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Loss of appetite
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Dull coat
    • Flakiness of the skin
    • Owners who observe these symptoms in their dogs should bring their sick pets to a vet immediately. Treating the ailment as early as possible helps increase the dog’s life expectancy.


  • Prognosis is good if the ailment is detected on its early stages, especially if the dog is still young and healthy.
  • Untreated dogs in advanced stages only have about 4 to 6 weeks of life.
  • About 40-40% survive within a year and 20% within 2 years after treatment.


  • Chemotherapy is the only option that can truly treat the ailment.

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