ISSN 2398-2969      



Synonym(s): Malignant lymphoma, Lymphosarcoma, LSA


  • Most common hemopoietic neoplasm, 8-10% of all canine malignant neoplasms.
  • Forms: multicentric, thymic, alimentary, cutaneous, CNS, hepatic, renal and others.
  • Signs: depend on form, eg malaise, polydipsia, polyuria, respiratory distress, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation. Multicentric usually presents feeling well and owners notice 'lumps under jaw'.
  • Diagnosis: fine needle aspirate and cytology. Biopsy can be used to better define histologic variants and guide therapy and prognosis.
  • Treatment: cytotoxic drugs, surgery or radiation therapy can be used to treat localized problematic masses. Radiation therapy can be used for consolidation of tumor following chemotherapy (eg half body radiation therapy). Bone marrow transplantation.
  • Prognosis: poor if no treatment.
    Print off the owner factsheet on Canine lymphoma to give to your client.



  • Unknown.


  • Malignant proliferation of lymphoid cells arising in any area containing lymphoid tissue → focal or diffuse masses in intestine, skin, thymus or lymph nodes → may progress to extranodal sites, eg liver, spleen, bone marrow.
  • Can be due to malignant proliferation of B, T cell lines, or NK cells.
  • 75% are B cell origin.
  • T cell tumors have a worse prognosis and poorer survival than B cell tumors.
  • All large cell T cell tumors should be treated as highly malignant and carry a poor prognosis. Small cell T-cell tumors can be very indolent with long term survival.
  • Paraneoplastic effects, eg hypercalcemia Hypercalcemia: overview , immune-mediated thrombocytopenia Immune-mediated thrombocytopenia and anemia.


  • Rapidly fatal (4-6 weeks) without treatment.


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Gustafson N R, Lana S E, Mayer M N & LaRue S M (2004) A preliminary assessment of whole-body radiotherapy interposed within a chemotherapy protocol for canine lymphomaVeterinary and Comparative Oncology(3), 125-31 PubMed.
  • Dhaliwal R S, Reed A L & Kitchell B E (2001) Multicentric lymphosarcoma in a dog with multiple-site skeletal involvement. Vet Rad Ultra 42 (1), 38-41 PubMed.
  • Thomas J S & Rogers K S (1999) Platelet aggregation and adenosine triphosphate secretion in dogs with untreated multicentric lymphoma. JVIM 13 (4), 319-322 PubMed.
  • Vail D M et al (1997) Application of rapid CD3 immunophenotype analysis and argyrophilic nucleolar organizer region (AgNOR) frequency to fine needle aspirate specimens from dogs with lymphoma. Vet Clin Path 26 (2), 66-69 PubMed.
  • Valerius K D et al (1997) Doxorubicin alone or in combination with asparaginase, followed by cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone for treatment of multicentric lymphoma in dogs - 121 cases (1987-1995). JAVMA 210 (4), 512-516 PubMed.
  • Teske E, van Heerde P (1996) Diagnostic value and reproducibility of fine-needle aspiration cytology in canine malignant lymphoma. Veterinary Quarterly 18 (3), 112-115 PubMed.
  • Moore A S et al (1995) The expression of P-glysoprotein in canine lymphoma and its association with multidrug resistance. Cancer Invest 13 (5), 475-479 PubMed.
  • Grindem C B et al (1994) Thrombocytopenia associated with neoplasia in dogs. J Vet Intern Med 8 (6), 400-405 PubMed.
  • Moore A S et al (1994) Evaluation of mitoxantrone for the treatment of lymphoma in dogs. JAVMA 204 (12), 1903-1905 PubMed.
  • Moore A S et al (1994) Actinomycin D for reinduction of remission in dogs with resistant lymphoma. J Vet Intern Med 8 (5), 343-344 PubMed.
  • Ogilvie G K et al (1994) Prevalence of anaphylaxis associated with the intramuscular administration of L-asparaginase to 81 dogs with cancer - 1981 - 1991. JAVMA 30 (1), 62-65 VetMedResource.
  • Teske E et al (1994) Prognostic factors for treatment of malignant lymphoma in dogs. JAVMA 205 (12), 1722-1728 PubMed.
  • Keller E T et al (1993) Evaluation of prognostic factors and sequential combination chemotherapy with doxorubicin for canine lymphoma. J Vet Intern Med 7 (5), 289-295 PubMed.
  • Keller E T (1992) Immune-mediated disease as a risk factor for canine lymphoma. Cancer 70 (9), 2334-2337 PubMed.
  • Rosenberg M P et al (1991) Prognostic factors in dogs with lymphoma and associated hypercalcemia. J Vet Intern Med 5 (5), 268-271 PubMed.

Other sources of information

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Anemia: immune mediated hemolytic


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Blood biochemistry: alkaline phosphatase (ALP)

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Blood biochemistry: total calcium

Blood biochemistry: urea

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Hypoproteinemia: investigation

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Inflammatory bowel disease: overview

Intestine: obstruction

Kidney: neoplasia

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Larynx: miscellaneous conditions

Larynx: neoplasia


Leiomyoma / leiomyosarcoma


Liver: chronic disease - overview

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Lung: pulmonary neoplasia


Lymphoma: chemotherapy protocols

Lymphoproliferative disease


Malignant histiocytosis

Mediastinal disease





Nasal cavity: neoplasia

Neoplasia: paraneoplastic disease

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Ovary: neoplasia

Pancreas: neoplasia: gastrinoma

Pharyngitis / tonsillitis

Pleural: effusion

Polymerase chain reaction


Prostate: neoplasia

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Radiology: liver

Radiology: lungs

Radiology: skull and mandible


Retina: detachment

Retriever: Golden

Retrobulbar space-occupying lesions

Salivary mucocele

Scottish Terrier

Skin: basal cell tumor

Skin: demodectic mange

Skin: epitheliotropic lymphoma

Skin: histiocytoma

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Small intestine: neoplasia

Soft tissue sarcoma

Spleen: neoplasia

Stomach: chronic gastritis

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