According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, one in three dogs can develop cancer, and it occurs in both purebred and mixed breed canines. Also, it can occur at any age of the pet, but it mostly develops with older dogs. No matter which breed you have or how old your friend is, you should know how to recognize the earliest symptoms and react on time.
What is Cancer?
It is a disease that manifests itself through uncontrollable growth of cells which invade the surrounding tissue and very often spread as well. Just like in people, cancer in dogs has many forms and can be localized or generalized. The most common cancer forms in dogs include skin and bone cancer, lymphoma, breast cancer, mouth and throat cancer, and hemangiosarcoma. However, many of these forms have similar symptoms, so it is crucial to recognize them soon.
Any sudden change in your pet’s weight can be the first sign that something is wrong. Such changes are usually the symptoms of gastrointestinal tumor that leads to dogs losing their appetite. However, if you have noticed that your dog eats less, but still seems to be bulking up, it is time to visit the vet. Also, any sudden spikes in appetite can be a sign of cancer as well.
General Pain and Discomfort
Another noticeable sign of cancer is general pain and discomfort. If you hear your dog whining or crying for no reason, or when you pick them up or pet them, you should call your vet. Furthermore, if you dog has trouble walking, or doesn’t want to move due to pain, it is possible that it has developed a tumor. Discomfort and pain can also occur when eating, which can be a sign of mouth cancer.
Lumps and Bumps
If you notice any lumps or bumps on your dog’s skin while petting them, you should contact your vet. Not every lump is necessarily a sign of cancer, but you should check it just in case. So, from time to time, check your pet for ulcers or lesions on their chest, mouth, or legs, and be sure to start the treatment in time if it proves necessary.
Changes in Bathroom Habits
Dogs are usually trained to obey certain bathroom rules and schedules, and they scarcely change them. Thus, if you notice any changes in your dog’s bathroom habits, such as difficulties with going to the bathroom, frequent urinating or diarrhea, or any blood present in their urine or stool, that is a warning sign of cancer developing in your pet.
A chronic lick sore on dog’s leg
Another early symptom of cancer can be the abnormal discharge from a dog’s nose or eyes. If there is a persistent nasal discharge or even blood occurring, your pet has probably developed facial tumor. Similarly, an eye discharge can signal an eye tumor. Other concerning discharges include pus, vomit, diarrhea, or any other unusual substance coming from your pet’s body.
Prevention and Treatments
Even though some cancers cannot be prevented, there are certain things you can do to lower the risks of your dog developing it. You should start with a balanced diet, including fresh meat and organic dog food you can find in your local pet store. Additionally, you should encourage your dog to exercise, so take them out for a walk, play fetch, and let your pet run around the park at least every other day.
As far as the treatment is concerned, dog cancer can be treated in the same way as the human one, but it will depend on the type of the cancer and its stage. Some of the treatment options include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy. The best way to make such a big decision is to consult with your vet, and make sure you visit him frequently as well.
Cancer is a serious and scary disease, but it can be recognized on time. Make sure you keep your dog healthy and have regular checkups. However, if you notice any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to react fast.