Castro-Castalia Bullmastiffs

Lymphoma, Lymphosarcoma, Castro-Castalia Bullmastiffs
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Lymphoma, Lymphosarcoma, Castro-Castalia Bullmastiffs

Regaliz, Piruleta y Pica-Pica de Castro-Castalia

To my own regret I must say that Lymphosarcoma is the third most common cancer type diagnosed in dogs. Certain breeds seem to be more prone to it than others and, unfortunately, Bullmastiffs are amongst those. It usually affects dogs of between 6 and 9 years, although I have known of much younger Bullmastiffs suffering this condition; in fact, a few days prior to writing these words about this disease I received a phone call from a Bullmastiff owner in the Balearic Islands asking for advice, since his 10 months old Bullmastiff puppy (bred in Northern Spain) had been diagnosed of Lymphosarcoma recently.

The underlying causes for Lymphosarcoma are not yet well understood but there seems to be a genetic predisposition and I know of some very specific Bullmastiff bloodlines that are highly prone to this condition.

There are five different forms of Lymphosarcoma (external, gastrointestinal, mediastinal, skin and bone marrow, being the external form by far the most current.

External Lymphosarcoma involves one or more of the external lymph nodes; in many cases the only noticeable signs are the enlargement of the lymph nodes behind the knees, under the neck or in front of the shoulders. Owners usually become aware when they groom the dogs and notice the swollen nodes at touch. It is therefore very important that you check your dog regularly and seek for the presence of swollen nodes.

Other dogs may show a loss of appetite, some sort of general weakness or tiredness, and others still will show excessive thirst and urination or difficult breathing. Yet not all symptoms come together. The severity of the signs will depend on the extent of the disease and/or if the cancer may be producing changes in different internal organs such as the liver or the lungs.

Chemotherapy is the mainstay of treatment for Lymphosarcoma and up to 80% of dogs treated will go into remission, if treated promptly; remission is not a cure by itself, but the complete disappearance of detectable cancer and thus, when this happens it will allow the dog to experience a good quality of life. Nevertheless remission does not mean to discontinue the treatment... and in fact, for dogs that suffer external Lymphosarcoma, remission time will be of about approximately 8 to 10 months with an overall survival time of about one to one and half  year. When a dog is still in remission after one and a half years, and only then,  treatment is discontinued but it must be outlined that only some 10-to 15% of dogs will reach the point where discontinuing the treatment becomes an option.

There are different stages on Lymphosarcoma, depending on the clinical signs:

Stage I – Involves a single lymph node, or lymphoid tissue in a single organ (excluding bone marrow).
Stage II – Involves many lymph nodes in regional area ( tonsils).
Stage III – Generalized lymph node involvement.
Stage IV – Liver and/or spleen lymph nodes are involved
Stage V – Manifestations in the blood and involvement of bone marrow and/or other organ systems

Like I said previously, some very specific Bullmastiff families and bloodlines seem to be more affected than the rest; therefore it would be important that Breeders would seriously consider a careful selection when breeding, to avoid the spreading of the condition. I would suggest all responsible owners-to-be to seriously discuss this health matter with the breeders before purchasing a puppy and make sure that the direct relatives (parents, great parents and great grand parents) haven’t been diagnosed of Lymphosarcoma before buying their puppies.

Thank heavens no CASTRO-CASTALIA dogs have been diagnosed of Lymphosarcoma or Lymphoma in the 18 years I have been breeding Bullmastiffs and I feel that this is the result of a very careful selection.

(Original text written by Christina of Lima-Netto and Federico Baudin specifically for this web page and protected with Copyright. Not even whole can be reproduced not partially by any way, without Castro-Castalia's express assent in writing)


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