Home » Pet Health » Cancer 101 » Will My Pet Survive?


After your pet is diagnosed with cancer, you may wonder how serious their cancer is and the chances of survival. Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are not always straightforward, as every pet’s case is different. The prognosis depends on various factors, including cancer type, time of diagnosis, and treatment protocols.

Some studies report that pets receiving the standard chemotherapy protocol after B-cell lymphoma diagnosis live 9 to 13 months, while those without chemotherapy treatment survive fewer than 2 months. Other researchers demonstrate that, in dogs, the stage of the lymphoma plays a significant role in survival, where those in stage 1 (early diagnosis) survive 1.6 times longer than those with advanced-stage lymphoma.

Reports have also shown that the mean survival time for cats diagnosed with gastrointestinal lymphoma depends on the cancer grade. For instance, chemotherapy-treated cats with low-grade disease can survive up to 1.5 years, while those with intermediate- or high-grade disease live for 4 to 6 months.

As in humans, the consensus of pet data is that the earlier the diagnosis, the more likely longer your pet will survive longer. By taking full advantage of the available resources and maintaining regular visits to the vet, you can reduce the risk of late diagnoses. Experts recommend that elderly pets visit the vet twice yearly for examinations, as they are more prone to infections and disease. Be sure to regularly check your pet for signs of illness, such as enlarged lymph nodes.

A cancer diagnosis is scary, and the thought of losing your beloved pet is distressing. Understanding that cancer is a complex disease and appreciating that your pet’s survival depends on many factors may help you to cope with their diagnosis. Discuss with your vet the treatments that might best suit your pet and be realistic about the outcomes. And give your pet the love and comfort they deserve while undergoing treatment. You are your pet’s best friend, so being their primary source of relief and security, even if their time after diagnosis is short, will put them at ease and make their time with you precious.

The Pet Cancer Foundation’s Website Editorial team is comprised of veterinarians, veterinary oncologists, and veterinary technicians, as well as scientific writers and editors who have attained their PhD’s in the life sciences, along with general editors and research assistants. All content found in this section goes through an extensive process with multiple review stages, to ensure this extended resource provides pet families with the most up-to-date information publicly available.

The team listing of those contributing to the information on this page is here:

Keep Your Pets Healthy Editorial Team

Last Updated: October 21, 2022

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

For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.

The Pet Cancer Foundation’s Medical Illustration team is comprised of medical illustration specialists and graphic designers that work in consultation with our team of experts to create the medical art found throughout our website. Though not all medical concepts require the assistance of imagery, when a page does contain a medical illustration, credit to the artist and our medical art director will be noted here.

The Pet Cancer Foundation’s medical imagery is protected by copyright and cannot be used without prior approval that includes a mutually signed licensing agreement. Please review our Content Usage Policy.

The following sources were referenced to write the content on this page: 

Chibuk, J, Flory, A, Kruglyak, KM, Leibman, N, Nahama, A, Dharajiya, N, van den Boom, D, Jensen, TJ, Friedman, JS, Shen, MR, Clemente-Vicario, F, Chorny, I, Tynan, JA, Lytle, KM, Holtvoigt, LE, Murtaza, M, Diaz, LA, Jr., Tsui, DWY & Grosu, DS 2021, ‘Horizons in veterinary precision oncology: fundamentals of cancer genomics and applications of liquid biopsy for the detection, characterization, and management of cancer in dogs’, Front Vet Scie, vol. 8, pp. 664718-664741.

Deravi, N, Berke, O, Woods, JP & Bienzle, D 2017, ‘Specific immunotypes of canine T cell lymphoma are associated with different outcomes’, Veterinary Immunology and immunopathology, vol. 191, pp. 5-13.

Kwak, D-H, Cho, M-J, Park, H-J, Song, K-H, & Seo, KW 2021, ‘A retrospective study of 16 cats with intermediate- to high-grade alimentary lymphoma, Korean J Vet Res vol. 61, no. 1, p. e8.

Milner, RJ, Peyton, J, Cooke, K, Fox, LE, Gallagher, A, Gordon, P & Hester J 2005, ‘Response rates and survival times for cats with lymphoma treated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison chemotherapy protocol: 38 cases (1996-2003)’, J Am Vet Med Assoc. vol. 227, pp. 1118-1122.

Stein, TJ, Pellin, M, Steinberg, H & Chun R 2010, ‘Treatment of feline gastrointestinal small-cell lymphoma with chlorambucil and glucocorticoids’, J Am Anim Hosp Assoc, vol. 46, pp. 413-417.

Tamai, R, Furuya, M, Hatoya, S, Akiyoshi, H, Yamamoto, R, Komori, Y, Yokoi, S-i, Tani, K, Hirano, Y, Komori, M & Takenaka, S 2014, ‘Profiling of serum metabolites in canine lymphoma using gas chromatography mass spectrometry’, J Vet Med Sci, vol. 76, no. 11, pp. 1513-1518.

Valli, VE, Kass, PH, Myint, MS & Scott F 2013, ‘Canine lymphomas: association of classification type, disease stage, tumor subtype, mitotic rate, and treatment with survival’, Vet Pathol, vol. 50, no. 5, pp.738-748.

Zandvliet, M 2016, ‘Canine lymphoma: a review’, Veterinary Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 76-104.

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

For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.