Alimentary Lymphoma

Alimentary Lymphoma (gastrointestinal)

Alimentary lymphoma- It occurs in the gastrointestinal tract of dogs. It can become fatal if the tumor is situated near the small or large intestine, since it can restrict the passage of bowel and pose health hazards.

Symptoms– Gastrointestinal lymphoma accounts for approximately 5% of cases and is less easily diagnosed than the more common multicentric form. In alimentary lymphoma the clinical signs are those of vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, polyuria/polydipsia, anorexia, lethargy and malabsorption (impaired absorption by the intestines of nutrients from food). Primary gastrointestinal lymphoma in dogs occurs over a wide range of ages and breeds. Males have a higher predilection compared to females.

Diagnostic techniques and clinical staging- The diagnostic techniques include fecal flotation, complete blood count (CBC), serum biochemical profile and urinanalysis. Ultrasonography is also very useful in this case. Lateral and ventrodorsal abdominal radiographs are taken to assess the liver and verify the source of the abdominal distension, and check for foreign bodies. Radiographs can also reveal large amounts of foreign bodies in the gastro intestinal tract.

Treatment– Alimentary lymphoma, if focal, can be treated effectively with surgical resection and combination chemotherapy. The involvement of local lymph nodes and liver is very common in this case. No standard protocol has been identified for the treatment of lymphoma. But, multiple-agent therapies appear to generate the most favorable results. Three types of protocols are of importance in treating lymphoma: the induction protocol, the maintenance protocol, and the rescue protocol (used when the patient comes out of remission). The combination of L-asparginase, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, and doxyrubicin is commonly used. Solitary lymphosarcomas are rare in dogs. But if the tumor is localized, it can be removed surgically.

PrognosisMultiple-agent therapies appear to generate the most favorable results. The response rates are 88-96% with median survival times of 350 to 356 days. But with diffuse involvement of the intestinal tract, low constitutional reserve and severe malabsorption of nutrients and loss of proteins often results in poor clinical responses and short survival times of less than 3 months. The addition of doxyrubicin to a regime appears to significantly increase the rate of survival.


Other Types of Lymphoma in dogs:

Multicentric Lymphoma
Mediastinal Lymphoma
Extra Nodal Lymphoma
Cutaneous Lymphoma

Basic Lymphoma information with staging
Ask the Dr. with Dr. Michael Kent on Lymphoma

Other Articles of Interest:

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Tumors in Domestic Animals- Donald J. Meuten, DVM, PhD, is a professor of pathology in the Department of Microbiology, Pathology, and Parasitology at the College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

Withrow and MacEwen’s Small Animal Clinical Oncology– Stephen J. Withrow, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology), Director; Animal Cancer Center Stuart Chair In Oncology, University Distinguished Professor, Colorado State University Fort Collins, Colorado;

David M. Vail, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology) Professor of Oncology, Director of Clinical Research, School of Veterinary Medicine University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, Wisconsin