Are Corgis at a Higher Risk for Lymphoma?

MMLymphoma

Recently, there was some discussion in a Corgi Facebook group about Corgis and lymphoma.

Unfortunately, it seems like more and more Corgis are diagnosed with lymphoma. Therefore, I would like to provide the Corgi community with some additional information. Here are some questions I hope to answer with this blog post today:

What is lymphoma?

What are the different types of lymphoma?

What are the signs of lymphoma?

How is lymphoma treated?

Are Corgis at a higher risk for lymphoma than other breeds?

Since it seems like many Corgi owners are facing this disease currently, I hope to shed some light on the disease and hopefully provide some helpful information. Let’s get started.

What is lymphoma?

It is one of the most common tumors seen, making up approximately 7-14% of cancers, in dogs (Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine). The specific term “lymphoma” actually describes a group of cancers that derive from white blood cells. Malignant lymphoma can be found in the lymph nodes or tissue, or in the spleen or bone marrow.

What are the different types of lymphoma?

It is important to understand that there are several different types of lymphoma and there are several ways to classify lymphoma.

Lymphoma can be broken down by affected region of the body:

The most common type of lymphoma is multicentric lymphoma, where the first signs of lymphoma are apparent in the lymph nodes.

There is also:

Lymphoma of the Skin (Cutaneous lymphoma)

Lymphoma of the Stomach or Intestines (Gastrointestinal Lymphoma)

Lymphoma involving organs in the chest (Mediastinal Lymphoma)

Lymphoma can also be broken down by cell type:

There are two forms of white blood cells, or lymphocytes: B cells and T cells (PetMD).

The most common types of lymphoma seen in dogs is B Cell lymphoma.

Lymphoma can also be classified by stage (National Canine Cancer Foundation):

Stage I: Cancer is only in a single lymph node

Stage II: Only affecting one side of the body

Stage III: Enlargement of several lymph nodes

Stage IV: Affecting both the liver and the spleen

Stage V: Cancer is present in the bone marrow, central nervous system, or other non-lymph node region of the body.

What are the signs of lymphoma?

The most common symptom of lymphoma is enlarged, non-painful lymph nodes (Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine).

In addition to swollen lymph nodes, you may notice the following symptoms (PetMD):

Decrease in Appetite

Lethargy

Weight Loss

Pale Mucous Membranes

If your dog is experiencing any of the above symptoms, your veterinarian may recommend a complete laboratory workup and a biopsy.

A lab workup would include bloodwork and a urinalysis. Your veterinarian will be looking for signs of anemia, low levels of lymphocytes, high levels of certain types of while blood cells, and potentially low numbers of platelets (PetMD).

A biopsy will remove part of the lymph node, or other organ, affected by the cancer to be sure there is a definitive diagnosis.

Further testing and diagnostics may be required and recommended.

How is lymphoma treated?

Lymphoma can be treated with chemotherapy.

As a matter of fact, I had two patients in my three years at the hospital that were treated with chemotherapy. While they received their treatment, a technician would sit with them to ensure that the patient was comfortable and that the IV remained in place throughout the course of treatment.

The availability of chemotherapy as a treatment for your dog depends on the type and stage of lymphoma.

Is chemotherapy effective?

According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, in approximately 60-90% of cases, there is a survival time of 6-12 months. In approximately 20-25% of cases, dogs can live 2+ years after their treatment.

Are Corgis at a higher risk for lymphoma than other breeds?

Although it seems that the Corgi community has been affected by lymphoma recently, there is no published evidence (that I could find) that definitively proves that Corgis are at higher risk than other breeds.

The breeds that are at higher risk for lymphoma include:

Boxers

Bull Mastiffs

Basset Hounds

Saint Bernards

Scottish Terriers

Airedales

Bulldogs

Some sources also included Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers and Bouvier des Flandres.

For further information regarding pedigree dogs and cancers, I recommend reading the following PDF: Breed Predispositions to Cancer in Pedigree Dogs. The reading is a bit dense, but it does shed some light on prevalence of cancer in dogs.

Unfortunately, the research states that 28.4% of Pembroke Welsh Corgis in the study passed away from cancer at a median age of 12 years old. However, there was nothing specific regarding lymphoma.

What has been your experience with lymphoma and or chemotherapy?

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16 Comment

  1. Reply
    Kismet
    July 27, 2015 at 9:01 am

    I guess that in Kyla’s (Scottish Terrier) case, the melanoma got her before the lymphoma could. The big “C” has taken too many friends.
    Kismet recently posted…Solidarity SundayMy Profile

  2. Reply
    M. K. Clinton
    July 27, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    I hated to see Basset Hound on any list of potential diseases. Bentley actually had a lump on his back near the tail that had me very worried. The vet drained it and we were relieved to find out it was an infected hair follicle. This is great information.
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…All or Nothing DayMy Profile

  3. Reply
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady
    July 28, 2015 at 10:58 am

    Aw that’s so scary! Thanks for the info!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Summer Dawgs – Fun In The SunMy Profile

  4. Reply
    Helen Page
    December 7, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    My Pembroke corgi just got diagnosed with lymphoma at the age of 4 1/2 years old.

    1. Reply
      Rachel
      December 11, 2015 at 7:21 am

      I am so sorry to hear this Helen. My heart breaks for any pet parent going through something like this. Do you know if the lymphoma will be responsive to chemo?

    2. Reply
      Cynthia
      April 8, 2016 at 8:19 am

      I have a 4yo female corgi and we are awaiting lab results today or Monday to confirm/not confirm lymphoma, but she has most of the signs and symptoms in article. Helen, did you do chemo or what was your treatment plan? Thx.

    3. Reply
      Pam Foltz
      May 26, 2016 at 10:51 am

      Mine just got diagnosed at 8 years old. How is yours doing?

      1. Reply
        Cynthia
        May 27, 2016 at 8:06 am

        We are still continuing CHOP regimen. Lilly had responded well, but after the second week, vet has reduced all other doses by about 25% and this has alleviated most side effects. I have a friend with a mastiff that has lymphoma and they are using prednisone…

  5. Reply
    Myke
    April 18, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    Our Milo has been diagnosed with lymphoma. The Vet found swollen lymph nodes when we took him in for another issue. Over the past two weeks these lymph nodes – in his neck area grew so much that it was difficult for him to breathe. The Vet put him on steroids and the lymph nodes have shrunk significantly. We are going to stay with the steroids and go in for testing every couple of weeks.
    He is back to his zippy little self. I pray that this protocol will be the one that works form him.

    1. Reply
      Cynthia
      April 19, 2016 at 9:00 am

      Myke, did you ever try chemo or just steroids? Our diagnosis was confirmed and we started CHOP last week and was tough. Not sure if it was due to the drug or cancer itself. Today had second dose reduced by 25%… Just not sure….

  6. Reply
    Madison
    June 10, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Thank you I have found out what’s wrong with my corgi

  7. Reply
    David Cannella
    August 22, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    our Corgi Mr. Pickles was diagnosed with lymphoma. He was on antibiotics and not prednisone. He too is having difficulty breating due to the enlarged lymph nodes. its hard to see him struggling to breath and not being able to sleep soundly. His eyes are constantly bloodshot and he has begun to refuse to eat. We’re just heart broken.

  8. Reply
    David Cannella
    August 22, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Sorry. typo. Mr. Pickles is on prednisone.

  9. Reply
    Lindy Assetta
    January 21, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    My Pembroke Welsh Corgi had malignant lymphoma when he was just 9 years old. He was diagnosed too late for prednisone treatment. He had enlarged lymph glands all over his body. His breathing became labored at the end and he lost his appetite. But he continued to drink water until the end. He was active almost up until the end. He did not become lethargic until late in his illness. He was a fighter. we were with him until the very end. He was a wonderful companion. We miss him very much. He went too soon.

    1. Reply
      Rachel
      February 9, 2017 at 12:48 pm

      Lindy, I am so sorry to hear about your Corgi. 9 years old is much too soon!

  10. Reply
    Donna
    April 27, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    My 7 yr old corgi Ellie, suddenly developed a large, tennis ball size, hard mass under her axillary of her left front paw on Sunday. Vet tried to aspirate it 3 times with no drainage, it is hard and doesn’t move. She was put on antibiotic on Monday, vet thought it is a bite due to sudden onset. It has not changed at all. She is going to a specialty vet hospital on Saturday. Any thoughts?

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