Leukemia in dogs

Leukemia or cancer that affects the blood and lymph system, and dogs suffer. This terrible disease strikes four-legged pets and it is far from always possible to snatch a pet from paws of the disease. How does the disease manifest itself, and is there an opportunity to cure a dog from him?


  • 1. Basic information
  • 2. Common types of leukemia
  • 3. Symptoms of leukemia in dogs
  • 4. Diagnosis of leukemia
  • 5. Treatment of leukemia in dogs
  • 6. Prediction for leukemia

Basic information

Leukemia in dogs

Leukemia – a cancer of a malignant nature, wearing a chronic form. The tumor affects the blood-forming and lymphoid tissue. The disease occurs due to the fact that the cells lose their ability to differentiate and cannot cope with own specific duties. Such a violation is name anaplasia.

Leukemia in animals, including dogs, develops as a result of pathological changes in cells preceding lymphocytes. When undifferentiated cells – blasts penetrate the bone marrow, tissue structures of the spleen and liver, inhibition occurs hematopoietic system (hematopoiesis) or the formation process is disturbed cells of the immune system – lymphocytes (lymphocytopoiesis).

Risk factors for the occurrence of such diseases can be called following:

  • hereditary predisposition;
  • some chemicals;
  • radiation causing ionization;
  • oncogenic viruses.

Most often, leukemia is diagnosed in representatives of large and medium breeds – shepherd dogs – German and Caucasian, Labradors, rottweilers. The age of patients varies within 3-8 years.

Common types of leukemia

There are several types of leukemia, but most often in dogs diagnosed with lymphocytic leukemia or malignant lymphoma – lymphosarcoma.

Lymphosarcoma – a tumor that develops from lymphoid cells, both young and mature. Most often from this disease affects the liver, lymphatic system, spleen.

The statistics are striking – lymphosarcoma is 80% of all tumor formations affecting the hematopoietic system. There are a number of criteria identified by immunological or histological studies that are important for therapy and forecasts for the future.

Lymphoid leukemia has a significant difference from lymphosarcoma. If in the latter case, tumors form on the periphery lymphatic system, here the lymphoid cells are synthesized directly in the bone marrow, from where they penetrate the blood. it a phenomenon called leukemia. Lymphoid leukemia occurs somewhat less often lymphosarcoma.

There are two forms of lymphoblastic leukemia – chronic and acute, which depend on the type of cells and the clinical picture diseases. In acute form, pronounced penetration of immature lymphoblast bone marrow, with healthy cells crowded out. Often lymphoblasts are found and peripheral blood circulation. Aleukemic leukemia is a condition when tumor cells do not penetrate the blood.

When the disease progresses, it is possible that cancer cell infiltration of lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and also the organs of the immune system.

In the chronic form of lymphocytic leukemia, tumors localized in bone marrow are composed of mature lymphocytes, and the white blood cell count in blood rises greatly.

Symptoms of leukemia in dogs

Manifestations of leukemia in dogs

Symptoms of lymphosarcoma and lymphocytic leukemia are somewhat different. The clinical picture of lymphatic sarcoma is associated with the site location of tumor formations. According to the type of localization, they are distinguished several types of dogs lymphosarcoma:

  • multicentric – multiple tumors in the lymph nodes;
  • mediastinal – thymus leukemia (thymus);
  • gastrointestinal leukemia;
  • extranodal – tumors formed outside the lymph nodes.

Multicentric lymphosarcoma is the most common form pathology, which is detected in 85% of cases of diagnosis diseases. The disease is accompanied by an increase in lymph nodes on peripherals that do not cause pain.

The initial stage of the disease proceeds without symptoms, after common signs are observed – refusal of food, lethargy, febrile condition, weight loss, often develop stool disorders, vomiting. The late stage is accompanied by the development of anemia.

Lymphosarcoma of the gastrointestinal tract develops in 5-7% of all cases. Allocate solid form of the tumor, when large tumor nodes form in areas of the stomach, intestines, adjacent lymph nodes. it the condition leads to the development of intestinal obstruction – in a pet constant vomiting develops, he refuses food and strongly losing weight. The second form is diffuse, accompanied by a constant liquid stool and hypoproteinemia when the body loses protein.

The acute form of lymphoblastic leukemia is accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • the development of anemia;
  • a decrease in the level of leukocytes and platelets;
  • increased susceptibility to infectious pathogens;
  • possible bleeding;
  • insufficiency of functions of some organs may be observed, caused by infiltration.

Similar symptoms indicate an imminent death for dogs. The chronic form of lymphoblastic leukemia is more common and differs in slow development. In the first stages proceeds asymptomatic and in most cases detected a significant increase in the content of leukocyte cells in peripheral blood. With the development of the disease, general signs – anemia, increased thirst, frequent urination, lymph nodes and spleen increase in size.

Leukemia Diagnosis

Diagnosis of leukemia in dogs

To detect leukemia, a detailed blood test is prescribed. More often in total, with lymphosarcoma, strong changes in the analysis are not visible. White blood cell count may be elevated, decreased, or to be within normal limits. Cancer cells are rare enough found in the blood. If a large amount has entered the bone marrow blast count, serious system failures occur hematopoiesis, causing anemia, a decrease in white blood cell count, platelet count. In this case, lymphoblasts are detected in the analysis.

Biochemical analysis indicates changes depending on complications and disorders in the activity of internal organs. Symptoms in a dog with lymphosarcoma is not specific, therefore, it is required differential diagnostics – x-ray, ultrasound research, cell cytology, tissue biopsy.

With acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a detailed analysis of blood reveals the presence of lymphocytosis with immature blasts, in chronic – with mature. The clinical picture in the latter case less altered than with acute leukemia. If the dog leukemia leukemia, then the analysis will not reveal blast cells. In that in case of needing bone marrow tissue puncture.

Leukocytosis, lymphocytosis can be accompanied not only leukemia, but also severe forms of infectious diseases, infection blood, trauma, the formation of pus and other diseases. Therefore required differential examination, excluding other options.

Dog Leukemia Treatment

Treatment of leukemia in dogs

Lymphatic sarcoma in dogs responds quite well chemotherapy. On average, 15% of pets are completely cured of this disease. The goal of therapy is to achieve complete remission. tumor formations (such an outcome is possible in 80% of patients) or involution to improve the quality of life of the animal. If the disease relapsed, that is, the chances of introducing the disease into a new stage remission.

Today, many anti-cancer drugs are available, more often In total, cyclophosphamide, Doscorubicin, Vincristine. Often used prednisone, decarbazine, Methotrexate et al. Combination in the chemotherapy of prednisolone and Vinksristina sometimes leads to remission, although short-term or partial.

Operational methods are applied only in extreme cases when tumor neoplasms disrupt the digestive tract, or formed localized in the skin.

The chronic form of leukemia is better treatable than acute. If the disease is asymptomatic and was detected by accident, then regular examinations and tests are enough.

Therapy is prescribed when the level of leukocytes exceeds the norm or there are clear signs of the disease. May be assigned Chlorambucil, Vincristine, Prednisone. The dog is assigned regular blood donation once a week. Later the analysis is taken less often or only with symptoms of leukemia.

Leukemia prognosis

If the pet has lymphosarcoma but does not receive proper treatment, then the animal dies within two to three months. With timely chemotherapy, the chance of remission is high, the lull of the disease can last year and much longer. Poor prognosis for lymphosarcoma GIT and other organs.

Disappointing forecasts are also in the acute form of lymphocytic leukemia. The chronic form of the disease also cannot be completely cured, however, with proper therapy, there is a chance to achieve a stable remission, lasting from 1 to 2.5 years.

Leukemia is a serious, almost incurable disease. But the pet needs care and treatment, because 12 months of remission for dog standards is more than five years of life without illness.

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