What Is Dog Cancer and How Does It Manifest Itself, plus what are the symptoms?
Cancer is one of the main causes of death in dogs. Statistics show that one in four dogs will develop some type of cancerous tumor. This deadly disease will affect over 50 percent of our canine friends by the time they reach their senior years.
Most dogs are affected by bone cancer, liver cancer, oral cancer, lymphosarcoma, cancer of the eyelid, mast cell tumor, and cancer of the brain or spinal cord. The good news is that half of all cancers are curable if detected early.
Cancer in Dogs: An Overview
A cancer diagnosis is one of the scariest things you can face with your beloved friend. This disease affects humans and animals alike. In fact, cancer is the primary cause of death in dogs over the age of 10. The statistics on canine cancer is alarming.
Studies indicate that dogs are four times more likely to suffer from breast cancer (mammary gland tumors) than humans. They are 35 times more at risk for developing skin cancer. Our canine companions are eight times more likely to develop bone cancer.
Like human cancer, dog cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells within the body. Tumors may be benign or malignant. This aggressive disease is seen more often in some breeds such as greyhounds (primarily for bone cancer), Bernese Mountain dogs, and boxers.
Cancerous cells develop because of damage to DNA. Most times a dog’s DNA becomes damaged by exposure to pesticides, smoke, free radicals and other harmful substances in the environment. Dogs who inherit damaged DNA are more likely to develop this condition at some point in their lives.
Signs of Cancer in Dogs
Cancer symptoms vary from one dog to another. This condition manifests differently in each patient. Depending on where the cancer is present, symptoms can include:
• Difficulty breathing
• Growing lumps
• Persistent stiffness
• Unexplained weight loss
• Sores that don’t heal
• Difficulty swallowing
• Abnormal bleeding (hemangiosarcoma)
• Enlarged lymph nodes
• Lack of appetite
• Wasting of body tissues
• Abnormal odors
• Abnormal discharges
• Non-healing wounds
• Changes in your pet’s urinary or bowel habits
• Foul breath
• Bloody urine
• Runny nose
This deadly disease can affect any area of the body. The main signs of cancer in dogs are very similar to that in people. However, some dogs may not show any symptoms until it’s too late. So any time your pet isn’t feeling well, you should take him to the vet. One of the most common signs of dog cancer is the appearance of a lump or mass. The doctor will perform a needle biopsy to determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant.
Abnormal odors from your dog’s mouth or ears should be checked out. If your furry friend has wounds or sores that are not healing, it could be a sign of cancer. Sudden weight loss is another common symptom. Abnormal breathing or coughing can be caused by lung disease, heart disease, or cancer. Oral tumors may cause difficulty when eating or swallowing, which leads to lack of appetite.
What Causes Cancer in Dogs?
There are several factors that may cause cancer in dogs. The increase in pollution and pesticides plays a major role. Another factor involved in the increased rate of canine cancer is diet and pet nutrition. Many types of dog food contain genetically modified organisms and pesticides.
A recent study has shown that female dogs spayed prior to age four have their lives shortened by one third. As opposed to what most people believe, spaying and neutering dogs at young ages doesn’t improve their health. It actually reduces the quality and length of pet lives and increases the risk of cancer.
Dog Cancer Treatment
Complimentary dietary and herbal therapies are often used in conjunction with surgery. Different types of cancer respond better to certain treatments than others. Early detection and treatment is the key to survival.
The best treatment option is surgical removal of a tumor that has not spread. Tumors on the surface of the body can be removed through cryosurgery and electrocautery.
Chemotherapy helps prevent and control cancerous cells from spreading throughout the body. New treatment options are being developed all the time. Alternative therapies such as all natural Life Gold help in treating canine cancer and can prolong your pet’s life.