April 21, 2020

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in Dogs │ Dr. Demian Dressler Q&A

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia in Dogs │ Dr. Demian Dressler Q&A

What is Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, and how should we handle it in our dogs? Dr. Dressler tackles this question from Delisa in Alabama.

Some cancers come for dogs right away, and others take longer. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) can be hard to diagnose, because it often develops while the dog acts totally healthy. But routine blood tests can tip a veterinarian off that something is wrong … and when you know early there are lots of things you can do to help your dog. Today James Jacobson takes a question about CLL, also known as Lymphoid Leukemia, from Delisa in Alabama, and asks Dr. Dressler for an answer. Dr. Demian Dressler is co-author of our podcast sponsor, the book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity.  

Links Mentioned in Today’s Show:  

The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. 

Apocaps can be found in many veterinary offices and online, including at https://Apocaps.com

K9 Immunity can be found in many places online, including at https://www.k9medicinals.com

Delisa is a member of the private Facebook group for readers of Dr. Dressler’s book “The Dog Cancer Survival Guide” https://www.facebook.com/groups/dogcancersupport/  

Here’s a good article on lymphoid leukemia or lymphocytic leukemia on the National Canine Cancer Foundation’s website: https://wearethecure.org/learn-more-about-canine-cancer/canine-cancer-library/lymphoid-leukemia/

Here’s a good article that will help you to understand the difference among blood cancers, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia: https://www.vetfolio.com/learn/article/lymphoid-leukemia-in-dogs

You can reach out to Dr. Demian Dressler directly on his veterinary hospital’s website: https://VetinKihei.com.   

Quick Overview of CLL from James Jacobson’s conversation with Dr. Nancy Reese:

First, let’s get clarity on this disease a little, because it’s often confused with a much more common dog cancer called lymphoma. To find out more, I asked one of our Full Spectrum veterinarians, Dr. Nancy Reese about Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, also known as Chronic Lymphoid Leukemia, or CLL for short. 

I don’t have tape of our conversation about CLL, but you’ll hear from Dr. Nancy in an upcoming episode about Covid-19.

By email, Dr. Nancy explained that lymphoma and lymphocytic leukemia are both cancers of the lymphocytes. 

What’s a lymphocyte? It’s a type of white blood cell that is born in the bone marrow, and less often, the spleen. 

Those white blood cells circulate in the blood stream and the lymph system, fighting infections in cells all over the body. So, when lymphocytes get cancer, you’ve got a systemic disease, which means the cancer is everywhere by definition. 

In lymphoma, the cancerous lymphocytes tend to collect in the lymph glands, which tend to get swollen. 

In lymphocytic leukemia, the cancerous lymphocytes tend to circulate in the bloodstream. 

Same cells, different locations in the body. 

Either way, the cancer cells, the lymphoid or lymphocytic cells, are everywhere ... so when you get this diagnosis, the veterinarian will almost always recommend chemotherapy. That's the only conventional treatment that circulates in the blood and goes everywhere in the body, right?

So today’s question is this: when do you need to start the chemo for Lymphoid or Lymphocytic Leukemia? Right when you get the diagnosis? Or can you wait a while?

Well, the answer depends on whether the lymphocytic leukemia is acute or chronic!

Chronic conditions are long-developing, as opposed to severe and sudden, or acute conditions. Right? So Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia is a long-developing cancer of lymphocytes. Also, Dr. Nancy added, the lymphocytes involved in CLL are mature and divide slowly, at the same rate as a normal cell. So that’s one reason this form of the cancer takes a long time to develop.

There is an acute form of lymphocytic leukemia, as well, that is much more immediately dangerous, and it develops in a immature form of the lymphocyte cells, a form that rapidly divides. So the Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, or ALL, divides very fast, comes on suddenly, and rapidly progresses.

We’ll hear more from Dr. Nancy directly in an upcoming episode about coronavirus and dogs that is literally a must-listen. She’s the perfect person to ask about the pandemic we’re in right now, because she is not only a veterinarian with thirty years of experience under her belt, she’s also got a Ph.D. in Epidemiology.

About Today’s Guest, Dr. Demian Dressler:  

Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management. A dynamic educator and speaker, Dr. Dressler is the author of the best-selling animal health book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity.  

Dr. Dressler is the owner of the accredited practice South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University.  

"Your dog does NOT have an expiration date, and there are things ALL cancers have in common that you can help fight. Imagine looking back at this time five years from now and not having a single regret."  - Dr. D

You can find hundreds of articles Dr. D wrote about dog cancer on his immensely popular website: https://www.dogcancerblog.com/meet-the-veterinarians-dr-dressler/  

Follow Dr. D and The Dog Cancer Survival Guide on the Socials:    


Dog Cancer Answers is a Maui Media production in association with Dog Podcast Network

This episode is sponsored by the best-selling animal health book The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity by Dr. Demian Dressler and Dr. Susan Ettinger. Available everywhere fine books are sold. 

Listen to podcast episode for a special discount code. 

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