Home » Pet Health » Cancer 101 » Treatments for Lymphoma


If your vet diagnoses your beloved pet with cancer, there is a good chance it will be lymphoma, the most common pet cancer. There are four main types of lymphoma that your vet will discuss with you: multicentric, alimentary, mediastinal, and extranodal. The most likely diagnosis is multicentric, but if the lymphoma makes its way to one or more of your pet’s organs, it will be considered extranodal. The other 2 types of lymphoma are rare.

Knowing the type of lymphoma helps your vet determine the best treatment. Based on the results from a biopsy, the vet may suggest chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, or a combination of these therapies. However, lymphoma is usually systemic, where cancer exists in many body areas. For this reason, surgery is generally not a good treatment option. Instead, the most effective treatment option against lymphoma in cats and dogs is chemotherapy, and thankfully, lymphoma is usually responsive to treatment.

The “CHOP” chemotherapy protocol is the most standard treatment for pets diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma. This chemotherapy protocol is a combination of 4 chemotherapeutic drugs. The CHOP protocol allows 80% of pet patients to go into remission, meaning their lymph nodes return to normal size. Others have reported that dogs and cats diagnosed with rare alimentary lymphoma responded best to chemotherapy plus steroids. Therefore, the treatment your pet receives depends on the type of lymphoma, the stage of cancer, and your pet’s overall health.

Despite chemotherapy’s success, cancer returns, and your vet will have to adjust treatment. In addition, scientists are studying ways to improve treatment. Some new therapies include immunotherapy, which uses your pet’s immune system to help fight cancer. Examples of the immunotherapies studied include antibodies, vaccines, and cell therapy, where your pet’s cells are removed, treated in a way that makes them stronger, then reinjected to attack the cancer cells. There are even some drugs typically used for other types of pet cancer that are now being investigated for use against lymphoma.

No matter the treatment, your vet will discuss what to expect from the therapy and how to care for your pet while they undergo treatment. With success rates of lymphoma treatment rising, your pet is bound to show improvements, giving the two of you many happy and healthy days together.

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Last Updated: October 21, 2022

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The Pet Cancer Foundation’s medical resource for pet owners is protected by copyright.

For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.