Diabetic Dogs Developing Lymphoma

by Betty Lewis
Diabetes and lymphoma don't have much to do with each other when it comes to a dog's health.

Diabetes and lymphoma don't have much to do with each other when it comes to a dog's health.

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Having a dog with diabetes can make your life a bit complicated. A dog can live a long, happy life with this condition, provided you and he stick to a strict routine. If you're concerned your diabetic dog will develop lymphoma, relax because there's no evidence of a causal link between the two conditions. If by some chance he does, his overall health will guide his treatment.

The Basics of Canine Diabetes Mellitus

You may not think much -- if at all -- about your dog's pancreas, but it's the key to regulating his blood sugar. When it doesn't properly or sufficiently produce insulin, his organs and muscles don't properly convert glucose into energy, leading to too much glucose in his blood, known as hyperglycemia. The common signs of diabetes mellitus in a dog include excessive thirst and urination, increased appetite and weight loss. Consistency is key to managing canine diabetes: Your dog should eat a veterinarian-approved diet at the same time, in the same portions every day. As well, his insulin should be administered as consistently. A few breeds of dogs are predisposed to diabetes mellitus, such as the miniature schnauzer, poodle and beagle. PetMD notes hormone therapy, pancreatitis, viral diseases and immune disorders also may contribute to the condition.

The Basics of Canine Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a fast-growing cancer of lymph tissue. Symptoms depend on where the cancer is located, but tend to include a loss of appetite, lethargy, weight loss and weakness. However, the diagnosis is often a surprise, commonly discovered when the vet detects lumps during a physical exam. A dog with lymphoma cannot be cured because the cancer will progress, eventually making it into vital organs, causing them to fail. Lymphoma may be treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy, depending on the stage of cancer as well as the individual dog's age and overall health. Despite the image of nauseous cancer patients, most dogs don't have a negative response to treatment. Dr. Wendy Brooks of Veterinary Partner notes about 75 percent of dogs experience remission as a result of chemotherapy. There is no known cause of canine lymphoma, though Dr. Brooks notes genetic and environmental factors may influence its development.

Two Separate Diseases

There is no established link between diabetes and lymphoma in dogs. Based on what scientists know about both illnesses, there's been no evidence suggesting a dog with diabetes will develop lymphoma, either from medication or compromised body functions. Though it's not unheard of, lymphoma isn't commonly seen in diabetic dogs. The Iranian Journal of Veterinary Research notes the illnesses most commonly associated with canine diabetes mellitus are urinary tract infections, hypothyroidism, dermatitis, neoplasia, acute pancreatitis and otitis.

Putting Them All Together

If your dog has diabetes and lymphoma, it's natural to wonder how one illness will impact the treatment and prognosis for the other. Your vet will be able to guide you on his treatment. Monitoring glucose level for a diabetic dog with lymphoma is important; his affected organs and insulin therapy may reduce blood glucose levels dramatically resulting in hypoglycemia. As well, his insulin dose may need to be adjusted to account for any adjustments to his diet and activity level. The vet will be able to determine if your dog is a candidate for chemotherapy based on his diabetes, as well as his overall health.

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