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Symptoms of leukemia in dogs

Symptoms of leukemia in dogs


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Symptoms of leukemia in dogs include changes in behavior, loss of appetite, poor hygiene, and problems with the teeth. A dog will also be reluctant to walk, rest, and sleep. Some dogs also have trouble breathing and will have a cough. In the early stages of the disease, a dog may not have symptoms but may develop tumors and enlargement of lymph nodes.

Causes

The exact cause of canine leukemia is unknown. It is known that viruses have been associated with the disease. Several viral organisms have been suggested as causes, but none of them has been conclusively proven.

Diagnosis

Leukemic dogs generally have changes in the cells of the bone marrow and blood. The condition is characterized by a decrease in the numbers of lymphocytes. Differentiation of blood cells is also affected. This can make it difficult to perform blood tests that depend on the cells existing in the blood in the normal ratio. In leukemia, there is an increase in immature white blood cells, which do not appear to mature into red blood cells.

A diagnosis of leukemia is made by a combination of blood tests and diagnostic imaging. An increase in the number of immature white blood cells in the blood is identified with a blood smear. Imaging such as a bone marrow biopsy or a lymph node biopsy can also help make the diagnosis. If the leukemia is being treated, then blood tests and imaging may be performed once a month. However, if a cancer is present but has not yet been treated, then blood tests and imaging may be performed once every two months.

Treatment

The treatment for leukemia will depend on the individual dog, as well as the severity of the illness. In some cases, the tumor will need to be surgically removed, but if the tumor has not caused a lot of damage to the affected organs, then a chemotherapy will be the best option. For dogs that are ill with neutropenia, the only option will be supportive care.

Palliative care

Because the symptoms are similar to those of other tumors, a diagnosis of leukemia may be delayed, and by the time of diagnosis, the dog may have progressed to a stage where the tumor is spreading throughout the body. Thus, the prognosis for most dogs with leukemia is poor. The most common symptom is weakness and lack of appetite, as well as fatigue. Other symptoms may include fever, vomiting, and coughing. Palliative care is med at making the dog as comfortable as possible. Thus, chemotherapy can be used to reduce the symptoms.

When dealing with a sick pet, there are two key concerns: is the pet in good condition and is the pet's quality of life worth living? The quality of life is the degree to which a pet is able to live out his or her life to the fullest. The pet may be physically healthy, but if the animal is sick and has pn or suffering, then the quality of life is poor. There are three general goals to palliative care:

Mntn the physical health of the pet.

Address the physical pn associated with the illness.

Offer emotional support for the pet and owner.

To achieve the goal of mntning the physical health of the pet, the physician will order blood tests that check the levels of white blood cells and platelets.

To achieve the goal of addressing the physical pn associated with the illness, the veterinarian may use analgesics or a sedative. The owner can be invited to be present during the administration of the medications so that the pet will not be in pn.

To achieve the goal of offering emotional support for the pet and owner, the veterinarian will spend time with the pet and will try to make the pet as comfortable as possible. The owner should also be involved with making their pet as comfortable as possible.

Diet

The diet of a leukemic dog will be very different than a normally healthy dog. The veterinarian will need to plan for a specific diet. The diet will contn less protein, less vitamins and minerals, and more carbohydrates to give the red blood cells more energy. The owner will need to prepare the diet ahead of time for the dog, and have ready a feeding machine to serve the meals to the dog. It is very important to discuss with the pet's veterinarian whether antibiotics will be required for this diet.

Blood work

The blood work will include full blood count, electrolytes, protein, calcium, and liver function tests. If an IV is being used to treat the disease, then a hematocrit will be performed in addition to the blood work. The blood work will determine if the leukemia has spread to other parts of the body. If leukemia has spread to other parts of the body, then the leukemic dog will have symptoms of anemia.

Treatment

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is a form of medical treatment where high energy radiation is used to destroy cancer cells. It is also used to treat lymphoma.

In radiation therapy, a large number of radiation sources, or particles, are directed at the cancer. The particles travel at the speed of light through the cancer and cause damage to cancer cells.

The particles are usually emitted from a radioactive source, which is small and can be carried easily.

Some dogs tolerate the treatment well, but often have problems during the last days of treatment when the radiation is absorbed by the bones.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a type of treatment that uses substances to stop or control the growth of cancer. Chemotherapy drugs can also be used to treat other diseases. Chemotherapy will be given as a pill to the pet's stomach. To make this pill easier to swallow, the pet's stomach will first be shaved. This is done to reduce the amount of space in the stomach to accommodate the pill.

Side effects of chemotherapy include vomiting, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and weakness. Some dogs will react badly to the first drug they are given and require a second drug. A different type of chemotherapy drug can also be used at this time.

Hormone therapy

Dogs that have cancer in the mammary glands may require hormone therapy.

This is similar to radiation therapy except that the hormone is given by injection instead of as a pill. Hormone therapy is given to help the cancer cells die. It can also be given to help prevent the growth of cancer.

Hormone therapy is given as a shot into the bloodstream.

Palliative care

Palliative care is given to the pet in order to improve their quality of life, not to cure the cancer. Palliative care is given for 2-3 weeks and should last for no longer than 6 weeks. Palliative care can be given for a number of reasons. Palliative care is given to the pet to help the pet cope with the pn and discomfort of their illness. It can also be given to the pet to make them more comfortable when being close to death. This is most common in the last week or two. Palliative care can be given for a number of reasons.

Palliative care can be given to the pet if it is giving the owner a difficult time. It can be given to the pet if the owner is having a hard time handling the pet. It can also be given if the owner wants to euthanize the pet, but does not want to deal with the animal.

Palliative care is given by a veterinarian or a veterinary nurse. A veterinary nurse will perform a physical exam on the pet. This will include



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