Understanding Lymphoma in Dogs and How CBD Can Help with Treatment
One of the most painful things in life is learning that a loved one has cancer. It can be cured if diagnosed and treated promptly, but the process can cause much pain and suffering.
Even your most pampered canine friends can contract this deadly disease. And one of the most common forms of cancer that affects dogs is Canine Lymphoma.
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What Is Lymphoma in Dogs?
Canine Lymphoma is the cancer that affects the lymphocytes and lymphoid tissues in dogs. It spreads fast through the body because the cancerous lymphocytes are carried through the lymphatic vessels. The lymphocytes end up in the lymphoid tissues of the lymph nodes, bone marrow, spleen, liver, and alimentary canal.
Lymphoma accounts for up to 14 percent of cancer cases in dogs. It is more common in dogs aged between 6 and 9 years old.
Because of its similarity to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in humans, Canine Lymphoma is also treated similarly. The main choice of treatment for lymphoma is chemotherapy.
Unfortunately, Canine Lymphoma cannot be totally cured. Treatments will only suppress the cancerous growths, but will likely go into remission.
Types of Lymphoma
There are around 30 types of Lymphoma that can affect dogs. The following are the four main types based on the site of the primary tumor:
- Multi-centric Lymphoma – This type of Lymphoma predominantly affects the lymph nodes. The primary tumor usually grows in one of the lymph nodes then spreads to other lymph nodes through the interconnected channels of lymphatic vessels.
- Cutaneous Lymphoma – This type of Lymphoma occurs on extranodal sites such as the skin. Lumps may form on the dog’s skin and the growths may spread to involve other extranodal organs like the eyes and nerves.
- Mediastinal Lymphoma – This is a rare type that involves the mediastinal lymph nodes. The cancer predominantly affects the lymph nodes in the chest and may spread to the thymus.
- Alimentary or Gastrointestinal Lymphoma – This type involves the lymphoid tissues located along the alimentary canal or gastrointestinal tract. The cancerous growths usually affect the dog’s digestive functions and nutrient absorption.
How to Prevent Lymphoma
The exact cause of Lymphoma is still unknown, but there are risks that have been associated with its development. The most common risk factors include:
- Exposure to cancer-causing chemicals and radiation
- Exposure to viruses and bacteria that cause immune suppression
- Taking drugs or medications that have immune-suppressing effects
- Living in or near areas with strong magnetic fields
Given the risks, the best prevention would be to keep your dog away from cancer-causing elements. This involves steps such as:
- Avoid using and storing hazardous chemicals around the house.
- Keep your dogs away from areas with strong magnetic fields.
- Avoid giving drugs that cause immune suppression.
- Protect dogs from diseases that affect their immune system.
- Provide regular veterinary care and check-ups.
- Avoid giving food products and treats that are chemical-laden.
These seem more like general precautions, but cancer almost always stems from unhealthy exposures and unhealthy lifestyles. So to prevent Lymphoma more effectively, both you and your dog must live healthily and avoid risky habits.
Signs and Symptoms of Lymphoma in Dogs
The signs and symptoms may vary according to the type of Lymphoma. Some dogs may exhibit fewer symptoms than others. The severity of the symptoms will also depend on the current stage of the cancer.
- Swollen lymph nodes that may grow into lumps of up to 10 times bigger than the normal size
- The lumps are firm but moveable and not painful
- Loss of appetite
- Flaky and scaly skin
- Redness and itchiness
- Skin lumps that may ulcerate over time
- Gums and footpads may also appear swollen and red
- Breathing difficulties
- Excessive urination
- Excessive thirst
- Accumulation of fluids in the chest cavity
Alimentary or Gastrointestinal Lymphoma:
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
Note that these signs and symptoms may start out subtly and become worse as the cancer progresses. Many Lymphoma cases are also misdiagnosed as another disease in the early stages.
Natural Remedies for Lymphoma
Canine Lymphoma can be treated with chemotherapy. However, there are natural remedies that can help with symptom relief and faster recovery.
One of the leading natural products given to dogs is CBD oil. It is often used as an alternative or as an adjunct therapy to relieve the side effects of chemotherapy. CBD oil is naturally derived from hemp plant. It is not psychoactive because it contains very little or no THC.
- Neuropathic pain
- Lethargy and weakness
- Swelling and inflammation
CBD safely works with the dog’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) to regulate chemical and inflammatory responses. One of the substances that CBD can help control is prostaglandin, which stimulates inflammation and affects pain reception.
CBD products help support the functions of the ECS by supplying adequate cannabinoids that interact with prostaglandin and many other types of chemicals in the body. Cannabinoids keep the levels of these chemicals even to avoid imbalances that trigger inflammatory reactions.
This state of balance helps the dog’s body cope better with chemotherapeutic side effects. The body can gain and maintain homeostatic stability despite the painful side effects.
Also, CBD oil is the safest alternative to other medications used in managing side effects of chemotherapy. Instead of giving your dog an array of different medicines to address individual symptoms and side effects, you can just give CBD oil to address these problems with one dose.
How Much CBD Should Be Given to Dogs with Lymphoma
However, no matter how clear the directions may be, you should always check with your dog’s vet before giving CBD products. Your vet would be the best person to recommend and prescribe the right dosage of CBD oil for your dog. Also, your vet will understand your dog’s condition better than anyone else.