Cancer In Dogs

Since Ive lost a dog myself to cancer I figured Id try and give a little info to others facing this issue with their dog. Having done days of research on this topic heres what Ive found.

Canine cancer symptoms

Since every dog behaves different, you need to have a good idea of what is normal for yours.

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When you start to notice the changes we will cover you can convey that to your vet. Such indicators will give them a better idea of what to look for as they examine your dog.

Lipoma is a very common type of tumor that dogs develop. They are almost always free of cancer. In some instances the lump you feel is going to end up being a cyst or a wart that has been burrowing underneath their coat. Of course without training it will be impossible to tell the difference so play it safe and have your vet take a close look at the area.

Pay attention to any types of cuts or sores that your dog may have. They should be healing up nicely. If they don’t that can be an indicator of cancer. Has your dog always been free from fleas and ticks but now they are a problem? If so there could be cancer present or something simple such as an allergic reaction to something that you use on them. For example you may have recently changed soap that you wash them with and they didn’t react well to it at all.

Observe your dog as they go about their business of relieving themselves. If your find that they struggle with urination then you definitely want to get it checked out. Prostate cancer only occurs in about 1% of all male dogs. Yet it is easy enough for owners to forget it can occur and even for vets to not consider it. If your male dog hasn’t been neutered he has a higher risk than others of developing this form of cancer. The rear leg movements can tell you a great deal about your dog. If they aren’t able to hold it up long enough to urinate there is a problem. If you find signs of blood in the urine then definitely get in touch with your vet.

Many dogs won’t eat like normal when they don’t feel well. You may find that your dog isn’t consuming the same volume of food as before. While this could be an indication of cancer, it is also a common symptom of other health concerns. Perhaps your dog has a sore in its mouth or a problem with one of its teeth. You also want to pay attention to the weather as when it is warmer most of them tend to naturally eat less.

A more serious symptom of cancer to definitely follow up on has to do with bleeding. It could indicate cancer but it can also mean there is some type of infection in the body. Regardless though you definitely want to get the matter looked into. Such problems will only be compounded if you allow them to continue without an evaluation. At the same time you will also allow your dog to suffer needlessly from the pain.

There are many places in the body of your dog where cancer can stem from. The mouth is one that many owner’s don’t think about. This can result in your dog not eating like he or she normally would. Take some time to carefully exam the inside of your dog’s mouth. If your dog is losing weight quickly then they may have some type of cancer so make sure you get the care for it that is necessary.

Stiffness in a dog can also be an indicator of cancer that develops in the bones. The technical name for it is Osteosarcoma. You may assume that your dog has arthritis or that he or she has pulled a muscle. These are all symptoms though that can indicate the possibility of bone cancer. The more you observe of your dog in good health the easier it is going to be to spot these types of significant changes that could point to cancer development.

How is Cancer Diagnosed for a Dog?

There are quite a few different types of tests that need to be performed in order to get a diagnosis of cancer. Depending on the symptoms your dog exhibits and what your vet finds in the exam they will order a variety of different tests. If you notice particular changes that have occurred with your dog’s appearance or behaviors make sure you share them at this time. Your vet is going to touch your dog in many locations to see if they feel any lumps or tumors. Depending on the size of them they will be easy enough to detect with this type of exam.

Your vet will also closely examine the mouth of your dog to look for signs of cancer as I mentioned previously. Of course not everything will be immediately visible to a vet and that is where other forms of testing come in. Most of the time the vet is going to want to look at the internal structure of your dog. If your vet doesn’t do such testing ask them why not. If you are convinced they should be done then schedule an appointment at another vet office as soon as you can. Remember that you are responsible for the overall well being of your dog so don’t be afraid to speak up about their level of care.

Blood testing is very common for cancer testing. Urine tests are also standard as both of these allow the cells to be viewed. When there are differences from normal it can be an indicator that a type of cancer is present in the body. An x-ray can be done to find out if there are tumors in the body as well as the size of them. From this information a vet can determine if they could be surgically removed or not. This can also help to identify small tumors that can’t be felt from the outside of your pet’s body.

The same type of CAT Scan and MRI procedures that are performed on people can be done to test a dog for cancer. Keep in mind though that the equipment for such procedures is extremely expensive. That means not all offices will have them available. However, you may be referred from your regular vet to a location that does offer them. Then your regular vet can review the results and discuss how to proceed with you. In order for a CAT Scan to be performed on a dog they will have to be put to sleep for a while as they aren’t able to remain as still as they need to for the procedure to be done properly.

Not many people are familiar with the process known as Cytology. This process allows the various types of cells to be taken from your dog’s body. This is a very good way of identifying cancer that may be present in the body. However, it should be done in addition to blood work instead of as an alternative. A biopsy can also be performed which will allow tissue to be removed and tested for cancer. This is a very accurate type of testing to look for cancer so it is frequently used.

How can a Dog get Cancer?

You may be wondering how a dog is able to get one of these forms of cancer. There are many more ways than most people realize. Just like people, dogs are exposed to a variety of things out there in the environment surrounding them. While you can’t keep them away from all the elements you can do a good job of keeping certain things away from them. By having your dog spayed or neutered you will lower their risk of many types of cancer. Many studies indicate that the younger they are when the procedure takes place, the lower their overall risk will be.

If your dog loves to be outdoors that is great, but keep in mind that the sunlight can affect them much the same way it does humans. Those breeds of dogs that don’t have very much hair or that have a light color of it are at the highest risk. While skin cancer for a dog can appear anywhere on the body, there are some locations that are more common. They include the inside area of the legs and the stomach. Since more than half of all cancer diagnosed in dogs is due to sunlight exposure, keeping them safe from it is extremely important.

You may have heard of Papillomas that develop on some dogs, but they aren’t cancer. In most instances though your vet will recommend that your dog undergoes surgery to remove them. That way they won’t continue to get larger. A dog can also have masses of cell tumors that form in a specific location of the body. These are referred to as Mastocytoms. If your dog lives outside you need to make certain they have plenty of shade they can enjoy as well.

Many people don’t realize that a dog can suffer from a type of cancer that has to do with their nasal sinus. Pay close attention to your dog for a period of time and you will pick up on how often they sniff. The more they do so, the more likely then will suffer from this type of cancer. Some studies also indicate breeds with longer noses seem to have a higher risk of nasal sinus cancer as well. This all is the result of the various carcinogens in the environment that they get exposed to such as pesticides and herbicides or the emissions from vehicles. Try to keep your dog away from such damaging aspects.

I briefly mentioned cancer that develops in the mouth earlier, and it is a one to pay close attention to. The carcinogens out there are to blame for this type of cancer in dogs as well. The problem is that they stick to the coat on a dog. Then when the dog licks areas to stay clean, those carcinogens are transferred to the mouth. They can stick on the teeth and then start to grow from there. Unfortunately most dog owner’s won’t realize that there is a problem until the mouth bleeds. By then the cancer has spread quite a bit.

Surgery is often the best course of treatment to remove cancer that forms in the mouth. Not all dogs are healthy enough to undergo surgery though. A vet has to consider both their age and the risk of them making it or not. Most of the time a dog that is more than 10 years of age won’t be a good candidate for such treatment. Studies show that breeds including German Shepherds and Cocker Spaniels are more likely to develop cancer in the mouth.

It may surprise you to learn that cancer for your dog can be triggered by a type of trauma. It is common for a broken leg to not heal right and so Sarcoma develops and the area under the skin is inflamed. Cancer cells are then able to form in that area of the body. Don’t smoke around your dog either as you will increase their risk of developing various types of cancer.

No matter how well you take care of your dog, you can’t overlook the genetic factors when it comes to cancer. There are many breeds out there that seem to have a long line of cancer development. It is a good idea to know this information before you commit to caring for a particular type of dog. Both Great Danes and Boxers are high on the list for risk of cancer. If you want the one with the least risk, your best friend should be a Golden Retriever.

How often do you read the labels on the foods you buy for your dog? If you don’t, then now is the time to start doing so. Some of the ingredients in the foods out there can cause your dog to get cancer. Never buy dog foods that contain Chlorine, Nitrates, or Formaldehyde. Dogs area also at an increased risk of developing cancer if they are exposed to either asbestos or radiation so do your best to keep such elements at bay.

There are many Different Types of Cancer

Part of the problem with getting a good cancer diagnosis from the vet is that it can be one of many different types. For example a dog can develop it from the bladder which is a slow moving type of cancer. It can be there for six months or longer before you start to notice that anything is wrong with your dog. There are some common indicators including difficulty urinating as well as blood being found in the urine.

Dogs can also develop brain tumors and that can affect their neurological abilities. For example a dog may start to experience seizures due to the development of such tumors. Through the use of a CAT Scan though the entire brain can be seen inside. The location of the brain tumor as well as the size of it will determine if surgery is an option or not. If the tumor isn’t easy to reach then another option is to try radiation. That might shrink the brain tumor so that there isn’t as much pressure on the brain.

There is a type of cancer that only female dogs can develop. It is known as Mammary Carcinoma and often occurs in those that haven’t been spayed. There is an even chance that these types of tumors will be cancerous or not. That is why your vet will carefully test them to find out how to proceed with treatment for your dog if they are found.

It isn’t uncommon for mast cell tumors to be found in dogs. As a result of their presence a dog can develop certain types of allergic reactions. It is estimated that 20% of cancer diagnosed in dogs fits this particular classification. Generally these tumors will be benign and they will be aggressive in the movement of cancer to develop. Your dog will likely die if these mast cell tumors aren’t taken care of. They are often found to be genetically linked with many breeds of dogs.

Another type of common cancer for dogs is called Malignant Histiocytosis. This type of cancer moves extremely fast. Sadly, it will most likely result in the death of your dog. There has been a bit of success with a drug called Lomustine but it will only prolong the life of your dog for a while. It won’t cure the cancer and the won’t have a happy life. This is why many owner’s choose to put their dog to sleep so they don’t continue to suffer. Both Golden Retrievers and Rottweilers are known to have a predisposition for this type of cancer.

Squamous Cell Carcinomas is the one type of cancer that is diagnosed the most often. It generally starts out in the mouth but many vets report it is also found in the toenails. This type of cancer also spreads quickly so early intervention is very important. Most of the time it will take surgery to successfully remove it from the body. It often will start to move towards the tonsils and the tongue though. When this type of cancer reaches such destinations your dog will have less than 1 year of life left.

I can’t stress enough how easy it is for cancer to develop in the mouth of a dog. It can even be found in both the neck and the head. This is why you really should pay close attention to the color of the gums your dog has. If they show signs of swelling, bleeding, or they have a terrible smell then you need to talk to your vet. The nose can develop cancer as well so pay attention to it. Signs such as bleeding from the nose, breathing strangely, or swelling means you need to have your dog seen as soon as possible by the vet.

Blood vessels are found all over the body, and at times a tumor can form from them. Known as Hemangiosarcoma, this type of cancer has no cure. Every breed of dog as well as those young and old have been known to develop this type of cancer. However, there are some breeds with a higher recorded history of it including the Skye Terrier and German Shepherds.

Lymphoma is likely a type of cancer that you have heard of before. It is common for humans to get it, but dogs seem to be diagnosed with it about five times more frequently. Any breed of dog is at risk for it as well. Some symptoms of this type of cancer to look for including the glands being swollen in these areas:

Behind the knees
Front of the shoulders
Underneath the neck

Melanoma is a typical type of cancer that will more likely affect dogs with darker colored skin. They have more pigment that is produced to create that coloring. Many experts believe that Melanoma has a strong genetic link with it including Doberman Pinschers and Scottish Terriers. Bone cancer tends to affect many dogs too, mainly the one called Osteosarcoma. This category takes up about 85% of all types of bone cancer. It will mainly affect older dogs and those that are larger in size. However, it has been known to affect any age of dog as well as any breed. While any bones can be affected most of the time it ends up being the knees, shoulders, and wrists.

For male dogs, there is also the risk of testicular cancer. This is common but most people don’t think much about that for dogs. Studies show that when a dog is neutered at an early age they will be less likely to develop testicular cancer. If it does develop surgery is the best course of treatment. However, it will really only be effective if it is caught in the early stages.

When you are observant about normal behaviors for your dog, you will have an easier time identifying what is different with them. Even though your dog can’t talk to you what they do and how they behave can tell you so much about how they may be feeling. Most of the time your dog will be suffering in silence from such problems so don’t assume all is well due to the lack of sounds such as whimpering that they offer.

I have been very lucky with my own dog when it comes to his health. So far we haven’t had any major concerns with major illnesses or diseases. I appreciate this because I do know that there are so many things that can develop and cause my dog to feel sick. You too need to arm yourself with information so you can do your very best to protect your dog.

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