Dog lymphoma, an owners guide to lymphoma in dogs

Lymphoma in dogs is a condition that occurs when cancer cells affect lymph tissue. This tissue grows in virtually every organ, so almost any part of your dog’s body can be affected. This type of cancer is more common in middle-aged dogs.


The most prominent sign of dog lymphoma is swelling of the lymph nodes. As mentioned, this disease can affect any organ in the body. So, your dog will display symptoms based on the area that is affected.

For example, two common areas that are affected by this disease include the gastrointestinal tract and chest. Dogs with damage to the gastrointestinal tract will have loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Shortness of breath occurs when the chest is affected.


Swelling of the lymph nodes may lead the veterinarian to suspect this disease. This physical exam is followed by urine and blood tests. One of the swollen lymph nodes can be biopsied in order to provide a definitive diagnosis. This will also gives clues as to the severity of the cancer.


Lymphoma in dogs is usually treated via chemotherapy. In most cases, this is enough to bring about remission. These chemotherapy drugs can be given as an injection in your vet’s office or at home orally. Dogs in the later stages of the disease likely won’t respond to this medication though.


Treatment of dog lymphoma can be effective in bringing about a remission. However, the disease will likely recur sometime in the future. At this point, a second round of chemotherapy can be given, but remission will only last half as long. This treatment protocol can be very expensive. Most dogs don’t survive more than two years after diagnosis.