Leukemia in Dogs

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the bloodstream of the dog, mainly related to the number of white blood cells.

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It is a serious disease, which if not diagnosed in time can be deadly for the dog.

In this article by YourCatCareguide we detail everything about leukemia in dogs , explaining the possible causes of leukemia , the most frequent symptoms and the treatment to be applied.

It may also interest you: Leukemia in cats

What is canine leukemia?

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects leukocytes (white blood cells). The bone marrow of dogs suffering from leukemia produces a large amount of defective leucocytes. These defective white blood cells flood the bloodstream and bone marrow, but because of their defects they are unable to protect the body.

Consequently, the immune system is adversely affected and dogs are susceptible to contracting various diseases. As leukemia progresses, it also affects the production of other blood cells such as red blood cells and platelets, thus causing additional problems of great magnitude. Canine leukemia can be acute when it occurs rapidly and abruptly, or chronic when it occurs slowly and gradually.

Causes and risk factors

Different possible causes for leukemia have been proposed, among them are genetic factors, exposure to radiation, exposure to chemical substances and virus infection. However, the real causes of this disease are not yet known and it remains to be seen if any of the causes proposed is correct.

Symptoms of Leukemia in Dogs

Dogs suffering from leukemia have a number of non-specific symptoms , as the disease affects the immune system and therefore has an impact on several organs. The symptoms usually are:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Inapetence
  • General malaise
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Increased liver
  • Hemorrhages
  • Dehydration
  • Difficulty breathing and fast breathing
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Increased frequency and / or volume of urine


Diagnosis of leukemia in dogs

The diagnosis is made based on a physical examination, on the symptoms, on a bone marrow biopsy and should always be done by a veterinarian .

To carry out the biopsy it is necessary to anesthetize the dog, since it is a complicated and painful procedure. The bone marrow sample is usually taken from the hip region. The sample is then sent to the laboratory, where a cytological study is performed to determine if there is leukemia.

Treatment of leukemia in dogs

Unfortunately there is no cure for this disease. However, there are treatments that can help dogs in some cases.

Treatments are usually based on chemotherapy, giving the dog anticancer drugs . As a rule, these treatments have to be repeated from time to time. In addition, it is often necessary to administer antibiotics or other drugs to combat opportunistic infections, and analgesics may be necessary to reduce pain and discomfort.

The prognosis of dogs with chronic leukemia may be favorable if the disease is detected and treated in the early stages. In these cases, dogs can gain a few years of life thanks to timely treatment, but the disease is still lethal.

Dogs with acute leukemia usually have a very reserved prognosis , since in these cases the disease is very aggressive and progresses very quickly.

In any case, sick dogs are very unlikely to survive for long, so their owners often opt for euthanasia instead of expensive treatment that can be difficult for both humans and their dogs.

This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.

If you want to read more articles matching Leukemia in dogs , we recommend that you enter our section on Other health problems .

    Emily Harris

    Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-pI am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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