Complete Guide to Dog Cancer: Types, Symptoms and Treatments

Complete Guide to Dog Cancer: Types, Symptoms and Treatments

 

We all know about cancer from near and far. Like a tornado in a village, cancer takes its toll wherever it goes. Cancer is one of the leading causes of premature death in humans in America.

 

Cancer is unfortunately common in humans, but what about for our dogs?

 

 

Our canine companions, particularly our old dogs, can indeed develop several kinds of cancer.

 

We are wholeheartedly with you if this subject is topical in your family. The announcement of cancer is always worrisome and disconcerting news. It’s normal to feel lost in this kind of situation and that’s why we’re here to shed some light on it.

 

Read on to learn more about the types of cancer that exist in dogs, their treatments and how to prevent them.

 

 

What are the causes of cancer and tumors in dogs?

 

Many factors can facilitate the development of cancer in dogs, such as genetics and the environment.

 

Indeed, purebred dogs have a smaller genetic pool. Due to this limited genetic variety, they are more at risk of developing certain cancers. According to this theory, mixed breed dogs are therefore less at risk of genetically linked cancers.

 

However, some cancers develop for no apparent reason and others are caused by components of the environment (for example pesticides, preservatives in food, chemicals in the air, etc).

 

It's hard to pinpoint the exact causes of each cancer. That said, physiologically speaking, cancer is caused by the uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. Depending on the nature of these cells, there are different types of cancer.

 

 

Is cancer common in dogs?

 

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Half of dogs over the age of ten will develop cancer. Rest assured though, not all dogs succumb to it.

 

If your dog develops a lump, have it checked by a vet. Many old dogs will develop masses, but these are not always cancerous.

 

 

What are the signs of cancer in dogs?

 

If your dog is getting older and has one or more of these signs, it’s important to see an animal health professional for an accurate diagnosis.

 

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the symptoms of cancer in dogs:

 

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Palpable masses that grow rapidly
  • Manifestation of pain
  • Wounds that do not heal (weakened immune system)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Respiratory or digestive disorders
  • Changes in behavior
  • Lameness (without evidence of accident)
  • Convulsions

 

We invite you to learn more about these 10 signs of cancer in dogs, because early detection can be the best way to save your beloved companion.

 

How to detect cancer in dogs?

 

As you might suspect, depending on where these problematic cells are located, the symptoms of cancer can vary widely. A visible mass or a change in a dog’s habits are often the signs that lead people to consult a vet.

 

If the cancer is in the brain, the dog will have neurological signs. If it’s in the lungs, it will have difficulty breathing. If it’s in the stomach, the dog will have digestive issues, and so on.

 

Make sure to watch for the symptoms mentioned above and take action fast.

 

 

What are the most common types of cancer in dogs?

 

Different types of cancer are classified according to the system or organ in which the cancer cells initially multiply. Here is a list of the most common cancer in dogs (including the most aggressive dog cancer) :

  

Skin cancer in dogs (melanoma and malignant melanoma)

 

Malignant melanomas in dogs are skin cancers that attack the cells responsible for producing melanin (a pigment) - the melanocytes. Benign (and therefore harmless) melanomas often develop in hairy areas on the dog, while malignant melanomas are very common in the mucous membranes of the mouth. Bad breath would therefore be a symptom of this common and dangerous type of cancer.

  

Bone cancer in dogs (osteosarcoma)

 

Osteosarcoma is a malignant tumor that affects the dog's bone cells. It can appear on X-ray as an abnormal bone proliferation. Sudden lameness or excessive licking of a limb could be signs of this severe and painful bone cancer in dogs. It’s most common in large dog breeds and often occurs at the tips of long bones.

  

Liver cancer in dogs

 

As the name says, liver cancer in dogs develops in the hepatic tissue (liver tissue). An abdominal ultrasound may detect a lump in your dog's liver, which can cause vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss. A biopsy is necessary to determine the cancerous nature of the mass.

  

Bladder cancer in dogs

 

The signs of bladder cancer and the symptoms of a urinary tract infection are very similar. Blood in the dog's urine may be observed, for example, in bladder cancer. Further testing should be considered if your dog does not recover from a UTI following treatment.

  

Stomach cancer in dogs

 

This type of cancer causes symptoms related to discomfort in the digestive system, such as vomiting and a marked loss of appetite. The diagnosis of this generally aggressive cancer is often late since these signs are non-specific.

  

Lung cancer in dogs

 

Primary lung cancer in dogs is quite rare. That said, other types of cancer can spread to the lungs through the bloodstream, which is known as metastases. Chronic cough and breathing difficulties are the main signs. These tumors are detected using chest x-rays.

  

Spleen cancer in dogs

 

Whether benign or malignant, spleen tumors must be taken seriously. When they increase in size, they can cause the organ to rupture and cause severe internal bleeding (since this organ is used to store the dog's blood cells). Fortunately, a dog can live without its spleen. It is therefore surgically removed in the event of cancer.

  

Pancreatic (pancreas) cancer in dogs

 

Different types of cancer can develop in the dog's pancreas. They usually cause vomiting, diarrhea and significant weight loss. It’s often detected late, making the chances of recovery slim.

  

Breast or mammary cancer in dogs (mammary gland carcinoma)

 

Cancer of the mammary glands is very common in unsterilized females, since it’s a cancer influenced by hormones. That said, it’s not impossible to see it in sterilized females. It’s often found by noticing one or more masses in the abdomen, near the teats.

 

I have personally assisted in surgeries to remove breast masses from several dogs, and all of them were unsterilized females.

  

Testicular cancer in dogs

 

This cancer is detected by noticing one testicle that is larger than the other. It’s a common cancer in dogs with one or two undescended testicle(s). Testicular tumors are common in uncastrated male dogs. The best prevention for this type of cancer is obviously castration.

  

Prostate cancer in dogs

 

The prostate is part of the canine reproductive system. This gland participates in the production of the liquid emitted during ejaculation. Prostate cancers are uncommon, but serious. It’s more common to see a prostate gland with a bacterial infection for example, or a benign hyperplasia (marked increase in size).

  

Mast cell tumor in dogs

 

Mast cells are cells of the immune system involved in the processes of inflammation and allergic reactions. Mastocytomas are most often manifested in their cutaneous form, but can also develop in the intestines. A simple cytology (analysis of cells under a microscope), following a needle puncture of the mass, can lead to a diagnosis. This type of cancer can be dangerous in dogs if not taken care of, as it can metastasize.

  

Fatty tumors in dogs (lipoma)

 

Lipomas are very common in older dogs, especially those who are overweight. They are very soft on palpation (inspection). They are sometimes impressive in size, but if they do not cause any discomfort, they do not need to be removed. They are benign.

 

My dog ​​has a lipoma that developed five years ago. He lives very well with this non-dangerous mass.

  

Hemangiosarcoma in dogs

 

More easily called cancer of the blood vessels, hemangiosarcoma is very malignant and spreads quickly in the body. It’s one of the most aggressive cancers in dogs. We often find metastases of this cancer in the heart or spleen. Signs of this cancer often appear when it is too advanced to allow curative treatment.

  

Lymphoma in dogs

 

This is cancer of a type of white blood cell; lymphocytes. These are part of the dog's immune system. This cancer often develops in the lymph nodes and is characterized by swelling of these (found in the dog's neck, amongst others). Other types of lymphomas can affect different organs and create a variety of symptoms, such as skin irritation.

 

 

 

How to treat cancer in dogs?

 

A diagnosis of cancer is not necessarily the end for a dog. There are several approaches to care available to help your pup, whether it's conventional therapy, such as radiation and chemotherapy, or holistic therapy, such as a treatment focused on nutrition or based on natural products.

  

Conventional treatments to fight cancer in dogs

 

Since most canine cancers are very similar to human cancers, dogs can benefit from the same kind of treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy. However, these treatment methods are very invasive.

  

Radiotherapy and chemotherapy

 

The approach of the majority of vets to these treatment techniques is to improve the animal's quality of life, and not necessarily to increase life expectancy. In young dogs, yes, but in old dogs suffering from cancer, the main aim is to increase their comfort in their last moments.

 

How to shrink a tumor in dogs?

 

Radiation therapy is usually done in specialized centers and is usually used to kill cancer cells remaining after surgery, or to shrink a tumor.

 

Chemotherapy is given either orally at home, or intravenously at the vet clinic.

 

Keep reading to learn more about a natural way to help shrinking your dog's tumor.

  

Surgical removal

 

The excision of a mass in surgery, when possible, remains the option giving the greatest chance of healing.

 

As part of my work in a vet clinic, I assist at least one lump removal per week, if not more. I’ve seen a lot of success with this technique.

 

The vet will judge the appropriateness of this treatment depending on the condition of the animal.

 

 

How to treat dog cancer naturally?
(Holistic and Alternative Cancer Treatments for Dogs)

 

You can also use natural tools to help your dog fight cancer. Mild alternative treatments exist and can be even more effective when combined with conventional treatments. Nutrition, specifically antioxidants, and remedies based on natural ingredients can be major assets in the fight.

  

A Good Nutrition

 

Food plays an important role in the fight against cancer. A healthy and balanced diet allows the body to function properly and helps the animal to recover more easily by supporting its natural healing mechanisms.

 

  

More Antioxidants

 

Your dog receives antioxidants in its diet, in the form of vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants help fight the oxidation process. The latter leads to the formation of free radicals, which contribute to the development of cancers. Antioxidants are therefore important allies.

 

You can ask your vet for a safe antioxidant supplement for your dog, or simply add some to its diet. Be careful not to overbalance your dog's gut flora by adding only a small amount of the new food.

 

Carrots, for example, are rich in antioxidants. Add a few pieces to your dog’s meal or use them as treats!

 

Sweet potato is also a food rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Be sure to cook it before giving it to your dog.

  

Remedy based on natural ingredients

 

Do you know the birch polypore? Also called Piptoporus betulinus, it’s a medicinal mushroom that is highly effective in the fight against cancer.

 

This is what is found in our all-natural remedy, PIPTOPET. Its active ingredient is this medicinal mushroom that attacks unhealthy cells, keeping healthy cells intact (an important asset that even chemotherapy does not achieve).

Homeoanimo suggests the PIPTOPET remedy as it is a great way to fight cancer in dogs. It’s safe to use in combination with chemotherapy if you decide to try everything!

It helps your dog maintain good overall health and significantly improves quality of life during the fight. This remedy also has anti-tumor qualities, so it directly helps shrinking tumors and eliminating cancer cells, especially in the early stages of cancer.

 

In addition, it’s excellent for strengthening the immune system, which will help ensure your dog does not develop secondary infections.

 

The remedy will take a few weeks to show its benefits.

 

Visit our website to read reviews from our many customers who were surprised and satisfied with the effectiveness of this natural remedy.

 

 

How to prevent cancer in dogs

 

It is recommended to sterilize your dogs, in order to prevent or slow down the development of cancers of the reproductive system.

 

The annual examination of your dog by a vet remains the best way to prevent the development of any cancer, by way of an early diagnosis.

 

The PIPTOPET natural remedy is also excellent for preventing cancer in dogs, limiting the chances of recurrences.

 

 

Be the soldiers against the scourge that is cancer and, above all, keep hope. Dogs are especially resilient creatures and can always surprise us!

 


About the Author


Veronique Fournier
ANIMAL HEALTH TECHNICIAN

Véronique Fournier uses her extensive knowledge to write articles about pet health for HomeoAnimal.

She earned her degree in Animal Health from Cégep La Pocatière in Quebec. Her experience includes internships on animal production farms and rehabilitating birds of prey; managing the care of up to 100 wild animals in a day at the SOS Miss Dolittle Refuge; working at the Aquarium of Quebec, where she monitored 10,000 animals of 300 different species. She worked as a chief animal health technician in a veterinary clinic in British Columbia, as well as a few contracts in various other veterinary clinics.

She also makes lots of canine friends by volunteering at local shelters, fostering, and dog sitting for friends.

Feel free to contact me anytime at support@homeonanimal.com

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3 comments

Created on Posted by HOMEOANIMAL Comment Link

Here is the link to read our article for cat cancer! https://www.homeoanimal.com/blogs/blog-pet-health/cat-cancers-and-treatments

Created on Posted by HOMEOANIMAL Comment Link

Hi Pennie,

Thank you for your excellent question. In fact all the recommendations for helping dogs with cancer in this article are just as good for any other type of animal!

If you need more targeted help for your cat, please feel free to contact us directly any time!

Regards,
Homeoanimal

Created on Posted by Pennie Crabtree Comment Link

Do you have an article for cancer in cats?


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