Unlocking Beagle Health: Beating Lymphoma Challenges with Care Strategies

Last updated:
April 9, 2024
Beagle standing outdoor with beautiful sunset behind

With its soulful eyes and perpetually wagging tail, the beagle is a breed beloved for its friendly demeanor and unwavering curiosity. With a keen sense of smell and playful nature, beagles make loyal companions for families and adventurers alike.

As with any furry family member, knowing how to take care of your beagle is the best way to keep their tails wagging for years to come.

Common health problems in beagles

Beagles are generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they can be prone to certain health issues. Here's a quick breakdown of some common health problems that beagles may face:


Beagles have a tendency to overeat and can gain weight easily, which can lead to obesity. Maintaining a healthy diet and providing regular exercise are essential to prevent obesity-related health issues.1 Treats are simple snacks which are fun to give, but can add a lot of calories. Offer healthy snacks like carrots or green beans. If you act excited about it like it is a yummy treat, then you will be surprised how many beagles will agree with you. 

We’ve got a post on foods that are safe to share with your dog that you can read more about here. 

Ear Infections:

Beagles have long, floppy ears that can trap moisture and debris, making them prone to ear infections. Regular ear cleaning and inspection can help prevent these infections. Signs that your dog may be experiencing an ear infection can include scratching around the affected ear, holding their head on a tilt, or a yeast-like smell from the affected ear.1 

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): 

This condition occurs when the discs between the vertebrae in the spine deteriorate, leading to back pain and mobility issues. Beagles, particularly those with long backs, may be at higher risk for IVDD.5


Older Beagles are more prone to developing hypothyroidism, which is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. These hormones control the dog’s metabolism, so any change in production can lead to metabolic changes. Signs might include skin and hair coat changes, such as a coarse and dry coat or hair loss, and weight gain even without a change of diet. It can be easily managed with the help of your veterinarian.1,2


Beagles can suffer from various allergies, including food allergies, environmental allergies (such as pollen or dust mites), and flea allergies. Symptoms may include itching, skin irritation, and gastrointestinal issues.1

Cherry Eye:

Cherry eye is a condition where the gland in the third eyelid prolapses, causing a red, swollen mass in the corner of the eye. While not typically painful, it can lead to irritation and may require surgical correction.1,2,5


Some beagles may develop epilepsy, a neurological disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. While the cause is often unknown, epilepsy can usually be managed with medication.1,2,5

Hip Dysplasia: 

Beagles, like many medium to large breeds, can be prone to hip dysplasia, a condition where the hip joint doesn't develop properly, leading to discomfort and reduced mobility. Dogs who have excess weight typically will develop hip dysplasia earlier in their lifespans than those at a healthy weight, and some dogs may be born with bad hips regardless of their weight, keeping an eye on all beagles' weight may help counteract the advancement of hip dysplasia.2,5


Beagles may be at risk for glaucoma, a condition characterized by increased pressure within the eye, which can lead to vision loss if not treated promptly. Performing an annual glaucoma screening along with your regular check-up may be the best way to make sure that if your dog does develop glaucoma, you’ll have the time to treat it before it progresses past a manageable point.2,5

Regular veterinary check-ups, proper nutrition, exercise, and attention to grooming can help mitigate many of these health issues, ensuring a happy and healthy life for your Beagle.

Common cancers in beagles

Along with the more manageable health problems, beagles, like any breed, have specific cancers that they can be more susceptible towards developing. While there’s no real way to know for sure what may lead to a cancer diagnosis, the following are a few cancers that have been noted to be more common in the loveable little beagle breed.


Lymphoma is a cancer involving white blood cells called lymphocytes. When the lymphocytes are working properly, they are a major part of the immune system and help identify threats to the body. Unfortunately, because the job of a healthy lymphocyte is to circulate the body, when those cells become cancerous, they then have more freedom to spread and metastasize. Lymphoma causes lymph nodes to swell and become firm. Lymphatics are all over the body, so lymphoma can cause changes in multiple organs.3

Canine lymphoma is the focus at ImpriMed so we have a lot of resources about lymphoma, you can see our blog for more info. 

Mast Cell Tumors: 

Mast cell tumors are a type of skin cancer that arises from mast cells, which are involved in the body's allergic response. These tumors can vary in appearance and may be found anywhere on the body. Symptoms may include lumps or bumps in the skin, itching, redness, and ulceration.2

You can read more about mast cell tumors in our blog here.


Hemangiosarcoma is a cancer of the blood vessels, typically affecting the spleen, liver, or heart. It often goes undetected until it has metastasized or ruptured, causing internal bleeding. Symptoms may include weakness, pale gums, abdominal distension, and collapse.3

We go into more depth on what hemangiosarcoma means for your dog in our post here.


Melanoma is a type of cancer that arises from melanocytes, the cells responsible for producing pigment. People often develop melanoma on the skin from too much sun exposure. Beagles rarely have melanoma on the skin but instead it occurs in the mouth, lips, and nail beds. Symptoms may include growing mass and changes in pigmentation, ulceration, and bleeding.2

More info on how melanoma affects your dog in this post.

Bone Cancer (Osteosarcoma):

Osteosarcoma is a cancer that arises from the bone cells, typically affecting the long bones of the limbs. It is an aggressive cancer that can cause lameness, swelling, and pain in the affected limb. Osteosarcoma has a high tendency to metastasize to other organs, particularly the lungs.4

Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer diagnosed in dogs, more information here.

Transitional Cell Carcinoma (Bladder Cancer): 

Transitional cell carcinoma is a cancer that affects the urinary bladder. It can cause symptoms such as blood in the urine, frequent urination, straining to urinate, and urinary accidents.4

You can learn more about TCC here.

Mammary Gland Tumors: 

Mammary gland tumors are common in female dogs that have not been spayed. These tumors can be benign or malignant and may appear as lumps or masses in the mammary glands. Spaying female dogs before their first heat cycle significantly reduces the risk of developing mammary gland tumors. Spayed female dogs can also develop mammary gland tumors but they are usually older dogs. Male dogs can also have mammary gland tumors but it is a rare ocurrance.5

More info on mammary gland tumors can be found here.

Early detection through regular veterinary check-ups, prompt evaluation of any lumps or abnormalities, and appropriate treatment are essential for managing cancer in beagles. Treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and palliative care, depending on the type and stage of cancer.

Lymphoma in Beagles

The most common form of lymphoma specifically represented in beagles is multicentric lymphoma. Multicentric lymphoma affects the lymph nodes throughout the body and is the most frequently diagnosed form of lymphoma in dogs, including the beagle breed. Multicentric lymphoma manifests as enlargement of multiple lymph nodes, typically in areas such as the neck, shoulders, behind the knees, armpits, and groin.

Symptoms of multicentric lymphoma in beagles are highly variable and may include no signs at all and acting normal to swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, decreased appetite, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, increased urination, increased drinking, heavy breathing, and sometimes fever. Diagnosis of multicentric lymphoma is usually confirmed through a fine needle aspirate (FNA) of an enlarged lymph node, which allows for examination of the cells to determine the presence of cancer.

While multicentric lymphoma is the most common form of lymphoma in beagles, it's important to note that other types of lymphoma, such as alimentary (gastrointestinal), mediastinal (chest), cutaneous (skin), and other forms of extranodal lymphoma, can also occur in this breed. Treatment options for multicentric lymphoma in beagles typically include chemotherapy, which can induce remission and improve quality of life. Chemotherapy treatment for beagles is much different than chemotherapy in people. A majority of canine patients are still able to obtain a good quality of life during therapy.

You can learn more about the different types of canine lymphoma in our post here.

Treatment for lymphoma in beagles

There are several different methods of treating lymphoma in dogs. The most common treatment plan is full body chemotherapy, as the lymphatic system is one that can affect every aspect of your pet’s body. There are many different types of chemotherapy from infusions to pills, and there are many different types of protocols. Some protocols involve rotating through multiple different drugs over several months while others are only one drug given almost monthly.

To learn more about why chemotherapy is typically the first choice for lymphoma you can learn more about options here. 

Other treatment options can include half body radiation, which is a less focused form of radiation that is done on one half of the body at a time, mimicking the systemic treatment found with chemotherapy drugs. This is only used in very specific circumstances and not often done in a majority of canine lymphoma cases.

For more information on radiation therapy as lymphoma treatment you can read our blog here.

Another option that some pet parents take is a palliative treatment that provides comfort for your dog through a steroid-only treatment; it’s important to note that palliative treatments are meant to provide symptom relief to your pet for their remaining time with you, and are not going to fight against any cancer or bring your pet into remission. While this is the most heartbreaking treatment option, there are times when it is the best option. 

Not all pet parents have the budget for a full multiple-agent chemotherapy treatment, which is often very costly, but they still want their dog to be as comfortable as possible for the remaining time they have. In other situations, dogs who are older or who have severe health issues—whether from a previous lymphoma treatment or not—may not have the strength left to undergo chemotherapy.

Read more about the benefits of a steroid only treatment in this post. 

Whatever treatment option you choose, it’s vital that it is the best option for both you and your canine family member.

How ImpriMed can help 

Exploring canine health often involves minimizing your beloved pet just within the framework of their breed, rather than recognizing their unique individuality. It's disheartening when treatment options are generalized based on breed tendencies and you’re stuck hoping that something will work for your dog specifically.

At ImpriMed, we revolutionize this approach by tailoring treatment plans to your dog's distinct needs.

Through cutting-edge technology and a vast database of information on canine lymphoma cases, we are able to develop a Personalized Prediction Profile exclusively for your furry friend. This profile empowers your veterinarian to select the most effective anticancer medications and devise a treatment strategy tailored to swiftly achieve remission, ensuring your beagle's vitality and well-being.

Learn more about what ImpriMed does and how to get your pet the best health care possible after a lymphoma diagnosis.

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