How to know if my dog ​​has Leukemia? Symptoms and treatment

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Leukemia is known as the type of cancer that affects white blood cells, destroying them and thus slowly ending the dog’s life.

But it’s not all bad news, fortunately today there are many treatments to prevent canine leukemia from progressing and even to cure it. You want to know more? We explain it to you in detail.

Index of contents

  • 1 How does leukemia affect my dog?
  • 2 Why does leukemia come out?
  • 3 How to tell if a dog has leukemia: Symptoms
  • 4 What tests does a vet do to diagnose leukemia?
  • 5 Treatment to cure leukemia in dogs

How does leukemia affect my dog?

When a dog has leukemia, its bone marrow produces a large amount of defective white blood cells (also called leukocytes). These pass into the bloodstream but cannot perform their function well, which is to protect the dog’s body.

Due to this process with the white blood cells, the dog’s defenses (its immune system) are highly affected. Being the dog much more prone to acquire other possible diseases.

spanish mastiff puppy

Why does leukemia come out?

Leukemia does not always present the same way in dogs. Sometimes it can be acute leukemia, which comes on suddenly, and sometimes it is slow-onset leukemia and that is progressing little by little. It is what is known as chronic canine leukemia.

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Genetics is considered exposure to radiation and chemicals, as well as virus infections, are risk factors that facilitate the appearance of this disease. However, the truth is that there is still much to investigate about the causes that produce it.

How to tell if a dog has leukemia: Symptoms

Leukemia will manifest itself through multiple general symptoms in our dog, since it is a disease that affects the entire organism.

In order to diagnose it, you need to do veterinary tests, but if you appreciate any of these symptoms, you should consider performing these tests urgently.

The most obvious signs are:

  • The dog is very tired, weak.
  • He keeps losing weight and has no appetite.
  • You vomit / have unjustified episodes of diarrhea.
  • Excessively pale mucosa / Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Heart rate seems racing / Gasps, breathing hard.
  • Urinate more frequently or in quantity / appears dehydrated.
  • He bleeds

Typically a dog with leukemia will experience a general discomfort and you may also have an enlarged liver. Only a veterinaryn will be able to carry out the tests that definitively confirm this diagnosis. Therefore, it is important that if you suspect that your furry friend’s health is at risk, take him to the vet soon.


What tests does a vet do to diagnose leukemia?

If, after reviewing and consulting the dog’s history, the vet suspects that it may be leukemia, he may want to perform a bone marrow biopsy. This is done by anesthetizing the dog, using a simple surgical process.

Normally the sample is taken from the hip area and, once extracted, it is sent to a laboratory for analysis. A cytological study will allow to see if it is cancer.

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Canine leukemia is not a very common disease in dogs, with adult dogs of large breeds having the highest percentage of cases.

Treatment to cure leukemia in dogs

Dogs with acute leukemia usually have a very reserved prognosis, since the disease progresses in a much faster and more aggressive way.

If it is a type of chronic leukemia and it is detected in time, the dogs will be able to live a few more years with an adequate treatment that slows down the progress of the disease.

Usually leukemia treatments are based on sessions of chemotherapy and in the administration of certain medications. The vet may also prescribe pain relievers to reduce the aches and pains that the dog suffers from.

Leukemia is life-threatening and news difficult to assimilate. Your furry friend is going to need you more than ever and you must support yourself to fight together against this terrible disease.