Multiple myeloma is a type of neoplasia that is not very commonly seen in dogs and it is even less commonly diagnosed in cats. Compared to that, it is something that is fairly often diagnosed in humans. So in this article, we will learn about what multiple myeloma is and how much would an owner have to pay if their dog gets the diagnosis.
What is multiple myeloma in dogs?
Multiple myeloma is known as B lymphocyte malignancy which is characterized by the growth and proliferation of plasma cells in the bone marrow. Plasma cells are one of the cells of the immune system and if one is malfunctioning, meaning it becomes malignant, it causes other malignant cells to be mass-produced. The presence of many of these cells in the bone marrow is diagnosed as multiple myeloma.
As a result of the overproduction of their cells, other blood cells such as platelets, red blood cells, and white blood cells may have a lower count. This means that dogs that have this condition may be prone to more colds due to their lower immune response and they may be anemic due to the fact that there is lower production of red blood cells.
What are the clinical signs of myeloma in dogs?
Clinical signs for this condition are very common, which means that it can be hard for the vet to be certain what is wrong with the dog from the start. This means that additional testing will be required. Owners, however, may notice changes in their dogs such as tiredness, vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea.
Dogs may also seem like they have pale skin and gums, they may show signs of bruising or they could bleed from the nose. They also may show increased thirst and more frequent urination.
How is multiple myeloma diagnosed in dogs?
Because the symptoms are very similar to symptoms that other conditions cause, the vet will run the usual basic analysis such as blood work and biochemistry, for starters.
Usually, he will try to look for changes in the number count of the red and white blood cells and platelets.
Other tests usually include checking the coagulation factors and bleeding time, urine testing, x-ray, and ultrasound to check for changes in any of the internal organs.
The most useful diagnostic test usually is bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, where the changes or the cells can be seen under the microscope, which will give a final diagnosis.
Treatment options for dogs with multiple myeloma
Unfortunately, this is a condition that can’t be cured, but patients who receive treatment can have a prolonged life without any pain.
The purpose of the treatment is to relieve the patient from any pain and to manage the symptoms which allows the dog to get back to its usual self during the time they have left.
Another problem is that this condition is not often seen in dogs, making it very hard for vets to know how best to prevent it and treat patients.
Owners could end up paying up to $1500 for the diagnostics and treatment prescribed to their dog.