Mycosis Fungoides in a Dog

Last Modified: March 16, 2008

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Our Bernese Mountain Dog was diagnosed with cutaneous lymphoma or Mycosis Fungoides. We are not sure that stage yet, but he has scabs on 3 of his 4 paws and his left eye is significantly affected. As this diagnosis was only given to us today, I am doing research to determine the best course of therapy.

Answer

Lili Duda, VMD, Section Editor of the OncoLink Veterinary Oncology Menu, responds:

Cutaneous lymphoma accounts for less than 10% of canine lymphomas. Mycosis fungoides (MF) is the most common form of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. It occurs in older animals with no breed or sex predilection. The disease is typically confined to the skin in the early stages, but can progress to lymph nodes as well as liver, spleen, and bone marrow. Prognosis for this variant of lymphoma is poor, and most dogs succumb to the disease within 6 months of diagnosis.

Various treatments have been attempted, including combination chemotherapy used in other lymphomas, CCNU, oral retinoids (drugs related to vitamin A), and topical chemotherapy "baths".

See this previous question for more information: Cutaneous T cell Lymphoma in Canines