Cancer in Dogs, What are the Symptoms?

cancer in dogs, what are the symptoms

Cancer is a disease that affects dogs just as it does humans. It occurs when abnormal cells grow and multiply uncontrollably, forming a mass of tissue called a tumor. Cancer can affect any part of a dog’s body, including the skin, bones, organs, and lymphatic system. It can spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening if not detected and treated early.

Common signs of cancer in dogs include:
  1. Lumps or bumps on the skin or under the fur: This is the most obvious sign of skin cancer in dogs.
  2. Sores that do not heal: Sores that persist for more than two weeks could indicate skin cancer or another type of cancer.
  3. Weight loss: This can be a sign of advanced cancer or a secondary symptom caused by the cancer’s impact on the dog’s appetite or digestive system.
  4. Loss of appetite: This can be a sign of cancer or a side effect of the cancer treatment.
  5. Fatigue or lethargy: This can be a sign of cancer or a side effect of the cancer treatment.
  6. Lameness or stiffness: This can indicate bone cancer or a musculoskeletal problem.
  7. Difficulty breathing or coughing: This can indicate lung cancer or a respiratory problem.

If you suspect that your dog may have cancer, it is important to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian will perform a physical examination and may recommend further testing, such as X-rays, ultrasound, biopsy, or other diagnostic tests to determine if cancer is present and what type it is.

Common types of cancer in dogs include:
  1. Lymphoma: This is a cancer of the lymphatic system and is the most common type of cancer in dogs.
  2. Osteosarcoma: This is a bone cancer that affects large and giant breeds of dogs, particularly those that are overweight or have a history of growth disorders.
  3. Mast cell tumors: These are a type of skin cancer that can occur anywhere on the body and can vary in appearance and aggressiveness.
  4. Hemangiosarcoma: This is a type of cancer that affects the blood vessels and can occur in any part of the body, but is most commonly found in the spleen, liver, and heart.
  5. Melanoma: This is a type of skin cancer that is more common in dogs with darkly pigmented skin and is often aggressive in nature.
  6. Bladder cancer: This type of cancer affects the urinary bladder and can cause symptoms such as frequent urination, blood in the urine, and discomfort during urination.
Breeds that are at an increased risk include:
  1. Boxers: Boxers are prone to developing several types of cancer, including lymphoma, mast cell tumors, and osteosarcoma.
  2. Golden Retrievers: Golden Retrievers have a high incidence of lymphoma and hemangiosarcoma.
  3. Rottweilers: Rottweilers have a higher incidence of osteosarcoma and mammary gland tumors.
  4. Scottish Terriers: Scottish Terriers have a higher incidence of bladder cancer and transitional cell carcinoma.
  5. Bernese Mountain Dogs: Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to developing mast cell tumors, lymphoma, and osteosarcoma.

IIt is important for dog owners to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer in their pets. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian and routine health exams, along with monitoring for any changes in behavior or physical appearance, can help detect cancer in its early stages and improve the chances of successful treatment. If you suspect that your dog may have cancer, it is important to see a veterinarian as soon as possible for a diagnosis and to discuss the best course of treatment for your pet.

Treatment options for dogs with cancer may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. The type of treatment chosen will depend on the type and stage of cancer, as well as the overall health of the dog. In some cases, palliative care may be recommended to provide comfort and improve quality of life for dogs with advanced or terminal cancer.

Bottom Line:

It is important to remember that cancer is not a death sentence for dogs. With early detection and proper treatment, many dogs can live long and healthy lives after a cancer diagnosis. By working closely with a veterinarian, dog owners can help ensure the best possible outcome for their pets