Canine Leukemia | Leukemia in Dogs

Canine Leukemia | Leukemia in Dogs
In dog leukemias constitute fewer than 10% of all hemolymphatic neoplasms and are therefore considered rare. However, the leukemia to lymphoma ratio is approximately 1:7 to 1:10. This ratio is artificially high, because most dogs with lymphoma are treated by their local clinicians, whereas most dogs with leukemia are referred for treatment. Although most leukemias in dogs are considered to be spontaneous in origin, radiation and viral particles have been identified as possible etiologic factors in dogs with cancer.

Acute myeloid leukemias in dogs are more common than acute lymphoid leukemias, constituting approximately three fourths of the cases of acute leukemia. It should be remembered, however, that morphologically, most acute leukemias are initially classified as lymphoid. After cytochemical staining of the smears or immunophenotyping is performed, approximately one third to one half of them are then reclassified as myeloid. Approximately half of the dogs with myeloid leukemia are found to have myelomonocytic differentiation when cytochemical staining or immunophenotyping is performed.

Leukemias in dogs are malignant neoplasms that originate from hematopoietic precursor cells in the bone marrow. These cells are unable to undergo terminal differentiation, therefore, they self-replicate as a clone of usually immature (and non-functional) cells. The neoplastic cells may or may not appear in peripheral circulation, thus the confusing term aleukemic and subleukemic are used to refer to leukemias in which neoplastic cells proliferate within the bone marrow but are absent or scarce in the circulation.
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