Canine Cutaneous Lymphoma

Cutaneous lymphoma is another round cell tumor of dogs.

Jacob, clowning around in healthier, happier times.

While lymphoma is a common cancer in dogs, the cutaneous form is actually quite rare, accounting for only about five percent of all canine lymphoma cases.

Two forms of canine cutaneous lymphoma exist: epitheliotropic and nonepitheliotropic. In humans the epitheliotropic form is also called mycosis fungoides because of the mushroom appearance of the lesions in people.

In dogs, however, the cancer is more likely to appear as one or more areas of widespread inflammation. Typically, multiple areas of skin are involved. Because the common age of onset of cutaneous lymphoma in dogs is five to eleven years, these patients may have had a history of chronic skin lesions in the past.

Another view of Jacob’s skin affected by Canine Cutaneous Lymphoma.

Common locations include the junction of mucus membranes and skin, so the mouth, eyes, rectum, vulva and prepuce may be affected.

Metastasis to nearby lymph nodes frequently occurs, so lumps in those areas are often associated with this disease. Systemic disease signs may be present if other organs, such as the liver, kidneys or spleen have been seeded by tumor cells

Cutaneous Lymphoma has ravaged Jacob’s once-beautiful coat.

In cats, the nonepitheliotropic form of cutaneous lymphoma is the more common, but this form is even more rare in dogs. One or more lesions may appear, and patients find them to be very itchy.

Treatment is mainly palliative due to the extremely poor prognosis of this disease. Single lesions may respond to radiation, and chemotherapy may buy time for the patient, although resistance to multiple chemotherapeutic agents is common.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.


  1. Cutaneous lymphoma is heartbreaking. It comes on suddenly and with a poor and very sad prognosis for our loved one.
    Our girl Sophie developed dry patches in April 2022 and we’re told to put her on antibiotics. We tried, for weeks. Her skin was getting worse and then better…tried different medications and nothing worked. Said it could be bacteria, auto immune disease, etc. nothing would have pointed to CL. She was eating. Acting herself. 3 months later she started to decline and not be able to hold herself up. Her skin was no longer healing but getting worse. She lost her appetite and one day in Aug decided it was time to go. The worst day of our life.

    4 months after some “dandruff” to a prognosis of cutaneous lymphoma was devastating. Unfortunately there is no cure. I just want to be here for anyone going through this.

  2. My 8 year old jindo Saja came down with a arietis (one eye smaller then other ) we did lots of tests for cancer and all was clear until I found a mass on her back. Her eyes had cleared up and I thought I was in the clear but then the biopsy and mass removal has come back as cutaneous lymphoma. Needless to say I’m devastated but my question to you is: can vaccines cause this? Or emf ? She had just been vaccinated and she sleeps next to my router. Also, any new treatments on horizon ?

    • Well! That’s a heartbreaking diagnosis! It’s unlikely that you will ever pinpoint a cause or trigger for this cancer. WiFi routers put out so little energy that it’s unlikely its RF would be implicated. The popular press likes to blame vaccines for everything these days, and, my opinion is that the risk is highly overstated. I always like to have a board-certified veterinary oncologist on board for treatment of cancer, especially when lymphoma is involved, because the treatment has to be tailored to each patient and each patient’s response. Best wishes to you and your baby. Write back and let us know how she does.

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