“Leuk” means white (in this case white blood cells) and “emia” means blood. Leukemia means “white blood” or more specifically an over-abundance of white blood cells in the bloodstream. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a form of cancer in which, due to mutation in the bone marrow, excess amount of white blood cells are produced while other important blood cells are in deficit. Chronic leukemia is different from acute leukemia in that it originates from mature abnormal white blood cells which grow slowly while the chronic leukemia develop from early cells, called "blasts". These young cells do not stop dividing like their counterparts do and the condition becomes fatal within a short period of time.
In chronic lymphoid leukemia, the prominent cell is usually a more differentiated (mature) cell. They are less aggressive and the disease has a long duration of development with slower dividing or replication times.
This form of leukemia is rare, but more commonly affects male dogs when compared to females.
The symptoms for chronic lymphocytic leukemia are usually non-specific and may include:
Increased thirst (polydipsia) and consumption of water
Increased urination (polyuria)
Enlargement of lymph nodes