In order to treat lymphoma properly and provide an accurate prognosis in dogs, one needs all the information available about the disease. One should always bear in mind that there is no single type of lymphoma and every patient should be evaluated individually.
Your veterinarian should use all the evaluation methods in a correct manner. She should determine the location of the disease, stage, grade, classification based on immunohistochemical methods, whether it is on the mediastinum or not, and whether the patient is hypercalcemic as a neoplastic syndrome or not. It is important to distinguish between B and T-cell lymphomas. If the veterinarian starts the treatment without distinguishing between the two, it will affect the prognosis of the disease. B-cell lymphomas can be treated with short term protocols. This is not only more economical for the pet’s owner but patient will also suffer from fewer side effects since she will be administered fewer medication. T-cell lymphomas respond better to MOPP protocols whereas B-cell lymphomas respond better to CHOP-L protocols. Although there are various other details to take into consideration, one cannot emphasize enough that there are many protocols available and the veterinarian should make the best decision depending on the patient’s condition. The patients will respond to all the protocols but the wrong decisions will cause the remission periods to be shorter.
The patient should also be monitored properly during the whole treatment protocol. Due to myelosuppression as a result of the medication, your veterinarian should be experienced enough to deal with medication and timing changes in his protocol. At the same time, she should be able to use other medication to overcome leukopenia and anemia resulting from myelosuppression. This will both help lengthen the remission periods and increase the chances of survival.
When treated correctly, lymphoma will not shorten your dog’s natural lifespan. Dogs do not suffer as humans do during the chemotherapy protocol. Treatment is not painful for them. When the patient goes into remission twice during the disease, it is expected her to survive between 3 months and 2 years. They will spend this period of their lives playing and enjoying life just like a healthy dog. Lymphomas can develop resistance to medication. After the first remission period, your dog will go through another remission. The latter period will last half as long as the first one. When resistance is built against chemotherapeutic agents, radiotherapy can be used. Lymphomas respond to radiation oncology better than any other type of cancer.
Please remember that when treated properly, lymphomas have better prognoses than many infectious diseases. Lymphoma does not equal death. In our clinic, lymphomas are classified immunohistochemically and half-body radiotherapy is used to treat them.