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Types of Lymphoma in Dogs and Cats

Featured Articles 4 min read
Dog being examined by a veterinarian.

Lymphoma in dogs and cats is one of the most commonly diagnosed conditions. While hearing a vet utter the word “lymphoma” can cause a rollercoaster of emotions, it’s important that we, as pet parents do everything we can to help our pets live a full and comfortable life despite their diagnosis. Educating ourselves on the different types of lymphoma and what we can do to support it is a great place to start!

What is Lymphoma?

Lymphoma is a blanket term to describe a group of cancers that come from lymphocytes, which is a type of white blood cell that works with the immune system to fight off infections. Lymphoma in cats and dogs is most similar to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans and uses almost the same treatment protocol.

While lymphoma can affect both cats and dogs, there are different types of lymphoma that can affect each species.

What Causes Lymphoma in Pets?

Unfortunately, the exact cause of lymphoma is not yet known. Possible causes can include viruses, bacteria, and chemical exposure.

Lymphoma is a blanket term to describe a group of cancers that come from lymphocytes that work with the immune system to fight off infections.

Types of Lymphoma in Dogs

There are over 30 types of canine lymphomas which vary in aggressiveness and symptoms. The four most common types of lymphoma are:

  • Multicentric lymphoma is centralized in the lymph nodes and is the most common type, affecting about 80-85% of all dogs diagnosed with lymphoma. The most prevalent sign of multicentric lymphoma is swollen lymph nodes (which can be 3 to 10 times the size) as well as lethargy, fever, anorexia, weakness, and dehydration.
  • Alimentary or gastrointestinal lymphoma is the second most common type of lymphoma in dogs and targets the intestines, where most symptoms occur. Symptoms can include vomiting, abdominal pain, anorexia, diarrhea, and weight loss.
  • Mediastinal lymphoma is rare and affects either or both the thymus gland and mediastinal lymph nodes. Dogs with mediastinal lymphoma can experience difficulty breathing as a mass or fluid may build in the chest. Other related symptoms can include increased thirst and urination as well as swelling of the face and front legs.
  • Extranodal lymphoma targets a specific organ like the skin, eyes, kidneys, lungs, and central nervous system. Symptoms for this type of lymphoma will depend on which organs are affected. Raised nodules and scaly lesions can appear if the skin is affected. Breathing difficulty can be heard if the lungs are affected, and dogs can experience seizures if the central nervous system is affected.
Brown and white cat with green eyes being examined by a veterinarian.

Lymphoma in Cats

Lymphoma in cats is often connected with feline leukemia (FeLV) and FIV. With that, measures to reduce the risk of these viral infections, like vaccination, can also help prevent this type of cancer. With the higher immunization rate for feline leukemia, lymphoma in cats tends to become less common. In the meantime, it’s still seen frequently, accounting for 30% of feline cancer diagnoses.

Types of Lymphoma in Cats

The three most common sites of lymphoma in cats include gastrointestinal lymphoma, mediastinal lymphoma, and renal lymphoma.

  • Gastrointestinal (or alimentary) lymphoma affects the GI tract and is most common in senior kitties. Signs can include vomiting, weight loss, and diarrhea. Appetite may vary, with some cats experiencing a decrease, increase, or no change in appetite.
  • Almost the same as in dogs, mediastinal lymphoma affects the lymphoid organs in the chest. This type of lymphoma is often seen in young cats and is strongly associated with FeLV. Like mediastinal lymphoma in dogs, respiratory distress is commonly seen with this condition.
  • Renal lymphoma in cats can lead to kidney failure. Symptoms include decreased appetite, weight loss, increased thirst, and vomiting.

Diagnosing and Treating Pet Lymphoma

A proper diet can also play a huge role in managing the overall health and wellness of a pet with lymphoma!

Most vets will start with blood testing when first exploring the possibility of lymphoma. A fine needle aspirate is also commonly used in diagnosing this type of cancer. A needle is inserted into an enlarged lymph node or organ and is examined under a microscope.

Chemotherapy is usually the treatment prescribed by veterinarians. The type of treatment will also depend on which type of lymphoma your little one has, and the vet may also suggest radiation or surgery.

A proper diet can also play a huge role in managing the overall health and wellness of a pet with lymphoma!

Pet Lymphoma Natural Support

There’s no arguing that conditions like lymphoma can be tough on our precious pets’ bodies. Giving our sweethearts the extra support they need while they undergo traditional vet-prescribed treatments can help to ensure they feel as comfortable and as happy as possible!

Main Recommendations

For most cases of lymphoma in dogs and cats, we recommend our Lymphoma Gold Support Kit. This bundle contains three supplements that can help improve energy levels, address symptoms associated to the disease, and promote overall quality of life. The kit includes NHV ES-Clear, which as our main cancer-support herbal blend, encourages natural detoxification of the body. NHV Felimm helps support both the immune and lymphatic systems. Lastly, NHV Tripsy can help to maintain the kidneys and urinary tract.

For cases of alimentary lymphoma, our Gastrointestinal Lymphoma Support Kit can be helpful. This bundle contains NHV Felimm, NHV Milk Thistle, NHV Yucca, and NHV Plantaeris. When these all-natural supplements are used together, they can help to balance the immune system, promote liver health, reduce discomfort, stimulate appetite, maintain gastrointestinal health, and encourage healthy bowel movements.

NHV Natures Immuno is also among our top recommendations for pets with lymphoma. This mushroom blend includes ingredients well-known for their extensive health benefits and can help the body’s ability to produce white blood cells. It’s also beneficial as anti-cancer, anti-tumor, cardiovascular, liver, kidney, diabetic, and endocrine health, which all help to encourage overall well-being.

NHV PetOmega 3 contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have also proven helpful in supporting dogs and cats with lymphoma. PetOmega 3 can also help to prevent weight loss, decrease inflammation, and can inhibit metastasis.

FYI: All of our supplements are safe to be taken alongside vet-prescribed medications (including chemotherapy) as additional support. We only ask that a 30-minute to 2-hour window between our supplements and traditional medications is respected so as to not overwhelm your furkiddo.


If your pet has been diagnosed with lymphoma, please know that you’re never alone. Our team of vets and pet experts is always here to help support and guide you whenever you need it. Click the button below to reach out to us. We will gladly work alongside your vet oncologist to recommend a personalized regimen to your little one.

NHV Pet Experts

NHV Pet Experts

We have a dedicated group of pet expert professionals, including veterinarians, vet techs, and other pet professionals to guide you through any questions. We’re committed to your pet’s wellness and can offer additional tips, resources, nutritional advice, and more.

Published: November 3, 2022

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