Like all breeds Aussies can be affected by all types of cancer, at any age. However there are 2 types that are appearing more regularly and there is thought to be a hereditary link for these specific cancers.
This is a cancer of the white blood cells. It most commonly affects the lymph nodes, spleen, or bone marrow. It can also start in the gastric system, skin, or thymus gland. Affected dogs are often lethargic, anorexic, lose weight, or have swelling of the legs or face. Occasionally
they will drink and urinate frequently or have difficulty breathing, irritated patches on the skin or mouth, vomiting, or dark foul-smelling diarrhea. Symptons will vary from dog to dog.
Prognosis varies and is somewhat dependent on the type of lymphoma the dog has. Some forms respond better to chemotherapy. If remission is achieved most dogs will relapse after a period of time. Most dogs will eventually die of the disease.
This is an aggressive cancer of the vascular tissue (blood vessels). It can form almost anywhere but tumors are most frequently seen in the spleen, heart, and occasionally the skin. Because it begins in a blood vessel it spreads readily, often to the lungs or liver.
Prognosis is very poor, with most dogs surviving only a few weeks or months after diagnosis. Sometimes the first indication that the dog is ill is a sudden catastrophic collapse. The skin form, if caught early enough, may be cured by tumor removal. It is also the easiest type to treat with the longest survival time.
When breeding relatives of dogs affected by Lymphoma and Hemangiosarcoma, they should only be bred to dogs with as low a risk as possible in the pedigree. However there will be NO pedigree that is clear, and Breeders should be aware of where the risks fall in their pedigrees.
If you have an Aussie affected by Lymphoma or Hemangiosarcoma, or a directly related relative, please check the Current Research page, to see if you may be able to help with ongoing research.