Signs of Terminal Lymphoma in Dogs

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Signs of Terminal Lymphoma in Dogs
Lymphoma is a common cancer in dogs. (dog image by Trav from

Terminal lymphoma is a type of cancer for which there is no cure, and it will eventually lead to a dog's death. Lymphoma typically starts out as a malignant tumour in one area of a dog's body that ends up spreading cancerous cells to other parts of the body. Signs of terminal lymphoma in a dog aren't usually noticeable to pet owners until the disease has developed into its later stages.

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Symptoms in the Skin

When a dog has terminal lymphoma, you might notice lumps under the skin. The area of skin above a lump can experience hair loss and might look bruised in appearance. Nodules caused by terminal lymphoma can also cause a dog's skin to become ulcerated, irritated, itchy and inflamed.

Symptoms in the Eyes

Blindness and/or bleeding from the eyes are symptoms that could indicate a dog has lymphoma. Detachment of retinas could also be a sign of a malignancy within a dog's body.

Symptoms in the Lymph Nodes

Terminal lymphoma will cause an enlargement of a dog's lymph nodes. A dog's lymph nodes are located under the jaw, in the area of the armpits, the upper portion of the hind legs, and in the area of the groin. When lymph nodes are enlarged they can often be felt and can also sometimes be seen.

Symptoms in the Lungs

When cancer has invaded the area in and around the lungs, a dog will begin to accumulate fluid in his chest cavity. Noticeable symptoms of this event include a dog having difficulty breathing, coughing and wheezing. These symptoms can be apparent when a dog is resting, and a once-active dog might no longer have the desire to exercise and play.

Once terminal lymphoma has reached the area of the lungs, a dog will likely also become anaemic as his white blood cell and platelet counts drop. When a dog is anaemic, his gums will appear white or pale pink in colour.

Symptoms in the Gastrointestinal System

When a dog is dying from lymphoma, he'll begin to have gastrointestinal symptoms, especially if the cancer has invaded his alimentary system. A dog that is ill will initially lose his appetite, become lethargic and ultimately lose weight. It is also not uncommon for dogs with lymphoma to have diarrhoea and to frequently vomit, and you'll often find blood in the stool of a dog that has cancer.

Symptoms in the Central Nervous System

If lymphoma attacks a dog's central nervous system, a dog can experience seizures. He might also experience paralysis, which can be permanent.

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