Leukemia in Dogs
Leukemia is a cancer involving the blood
elements in the bone marrow, including the lymphocytes, monocytes, platelets,
eosinophils, basophils, and erythrocytes. All of these cells can give rise to
cell-specific leukemias. For example, lymphoid leukemia is a malignant
transformation of the lymphocytes, or white blood cells. Leukemia is further
subdivided into acute and chronic stages. Both stages are relatively rare in dogs.
Leukemia generally occurs in middle-aged dogs. Signs are nonspecific and
include fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, and sometimes anemia with pale mucous
membranes. Usually the disease is discovered when blood tests are drawn to
diagnose these symptoms. Leukemic cells may or may not be found circulating in
the blood. A bone marrow biopsy confirms the diagnosis.
Treatment: Leukemia is treated with anti-cancer drugs. Chemotherapy does not cure
leukemia, but may put the disease into remission for several months or longer.
Dogs with chronic leukemia have a better prognosis than those with acute