Leukemia in dogs

Leukemia or cancer, affecting the blood and lymphatic system, suffer and dogs. This terrible disease affects four-legged pets and it's not always possible for a pet to wrest from the clutches of a disease. How does the disease manifest itself, and is it possible to heal the dog from it?


Basic information

Leukemia in dogs

Leukemia is an oncological disease of a malignant nature, which has a chronic form. The tumor affects the hematopoietic and lymphoid tissues. The ailment arises from the fact that cells lose the ability to differentiate and do not cope with their own specific duties. Such a violation is called anaplasia.

Leukemia in animals, including in dogs, develops due to pathological changes in cells preceding lymphocytes. When undifferentiated cells - blasts penetrate into the bone marrow, tissue structures of the spleen and liver, the process of inhibition of the hematopoiesis system (hematopoiesis) occurs or the process of formation of cells of the immune system - lymphocytes (lymphocytopoiesis) is disrupted.

The risk factors for the occurrence of such diseases include the following:

  • hereditary predisposition;
  • some chemicals;
  • radiation that causes ionization;
  • oncogenic viruses.

Most leukemia is diagnosed in representatives of large and medium breeds - shepherds - German and Caucasian , Labradors , Rottweilers. The age of the 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 is a tumor that develops from lymphoid cells, both young and mature. Most often, this disease affects the liver, lymphatic system, spleen.

Statistics strikes - lymphosarcoma accounts for 80% of all tumor formations that affect the hematopoiesis system. There are a number of criteria identified by immunological or histological studies that are important for therapy and predictions for the future.

Lymphoid leukemia has a significant difference from lymphosarcoma. If in the latter case, tumors are formed on the periphery of the lymphatic system, here the lymphoid cells are synthesized directly in the bone marrow, from where they enter the blood. This phenomenon is called leukemia. Lymphoid leukemia occurs more rarely than lymphosarcoma.

There are two forms of lymphoblastic leukemia - chronic and acute, which depend on the type of cells and the clinical picture of the disease. In acute form, there is a pronounced penetration of immature lymphoblast into the bone marrow, while healthy cells are displaced. Often lymphoblasts are also found in peripheral circulation. Aleukemic leukemia is a condition where tumor cells do not penetrate the blood.

When the disease progresses, it may be the development of repeated infiltration by cancer cells of lymph nodes, liver, spleen, and immune system organs.

In the chronic form of lymphocytic leukemia, tumors localized in the bone marrow consist of mature lymphocytes, and the level of leukocytes in the blood greatly increases.

Symptoms of leukemia in dogs

Manifestations of leukemia in dogs

Symptoms of lymphosarcoma and lymphatic leukemia vary somewhat. The clinical picture of lymphatic sarcoma is associated with the location of tumor formations. By the type of localization, there are several types of lymphosarcoma in dogs:

  • multicentric - multiple tumors in lymph nodes;
  • mediastinal - leukemia of the thymus gland (thymus);
  • leukemia of the digestive tract;
  • extranodal - tumors are formed outside the lymph nodes.

Multicentric lymphosarcoma is the most common form of pathology, which is detected in 85% of cases of diagnosing the disease. The ailment is accompanied by an increase in lymph nodes on the periphery, which does not deliver painful sensations.

The initial stage of the disease proceeds without symptoms, afterwards there are common signs - refusal of food , lethargy, febrile state, weight loss, often a disorder of stool, vomiting . The late stage is accompanied by the development of anemia .

Lymphosarcoma of the gastrointestinal tract develops in 5-7% of all cases. Isolate the solid form of the tumor, when large tumor nodes are formed in the stomach, intestines, adjacent lymph nodes. This condition leads to the development of intestinal obstruction - the pet develops constant vomiting, it refuses food and is very thin. The second form - diffuse, is 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 agents;
  • possible bleeding;
  • may be insufficient function of some organs caused by infiltration.

Similar symptoms signal an imminent death for the dog. Chronic form of lymphoblastic leukemia occurs more often and differs by slow development. In the first stages it is asymptomatic and in most cases is detected with a significant increase in the content of leukocyte cells in the peripheral blood. With the development of the disease there are common symptoms - anemia, increased thirst, frequent urination, enlarged lymph nodes and spleen.

Diagnosis of leukemia

Diagnosis of leukemia in dogs

To determine the leukemia, a detailed blood test is assigned. Most often, with lymphosarcoma, there are no strong changes in the analysis. The level of leukocytes may be elevated, low, or within normal limits. Cancer cells are rarely found in the blood. If a large number of blasts have penetrated the bone marrow, serious malfunctions occur in the hemopoietic system, causing anemia, a decrease in the level of leukocytes, platelets. In this case, lymphoblasts are detected in the analysis.

Biochemical analysis indicates changes that depend on complications and disturbances in the activity of internal organs. Symptoms in a dog with a lymphosarcoma are not specific, so differential diagnosis is required - x-ray, ultrasound, cell cytology, biopsy of the tissues of education.

With lymphoblastic leukemia in acute form, an expanded blood test reveals the presence of lymphocytosis with immature blasts, in chronic - with mature. The clinical picture in the latter case is less altered than with acute leukemia. If the dog has aleukemic leukemia, then the analysis will not reveal blast cells. In this case, a puncture of bone marrow tissue is required.

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

Treatment of leukemia in dogs

Treatment of leukemia in dogs

Lymphatic sarcoma in dogs is quite amenable to chemotherapy. On average, 15% of pets are completely cured of this disease. The goal of therapy is to achieve complete remission of tumor formations (this outcome is possible in 80% of patients) or involutions to improve the quality of life of the animal. If the disease recurred, then there are chances to introduce an ailment into a new stage of remission.

Today, many anticancer drugs are produced, most often for the treatment of dogs use Cyclophosphamide, Dosrocubicin, Vincristine. Often used Prednisolone, Decarbazine, Methotrexate, etc. Combination in chemotherapy Prednisolone and Winxristine sometimes leads to remission, however short or partial.

Operative methods are used only in extreme cases, when tumor neoplasms disrupt the activity of the gastrointestinal tract, or are 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 enough regular examinations and the delivery of tests.

Therapy is prescribed when the level of white blood cells exceeds the norm or there are obvious signs of the disease. Chlorambucil, Vincristine, Prednisolone can be prescribed. The dog is given regular blood donation once a week. Later, the analysis is taken less often or only when symptoms of leukemia manifest.

Prognosis for leukemia

If the pet lymphosarcoma, but the proper treatment, he does not get, then the animal dies within two to three months. With timely chemotherapy, the chance of remission is high, the lull in the illness can last a year and is much longer. Unfavorable prognosis for lymphosarcoma of the gastrointestinal tract and other organs.

Disadvantageous predictions and with acute form of lymphocytic leukemia. The chronic form of the disease also does not lend itself to complete cure, however, with competent therapy, there is a chance of achieving 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 by dog ​​standards is more than five years of life without disease.

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