According to WebMD, fifty percent of dogs ages 10 and older will develop cancer. However, WebMD also reports that most cancers are curable if caught early. From lymphoma and skin cancer to mammary gland tumors and soft tissue sarcomas, dogs are susceptible to a variety of cancers. As your dog grows older, it is vital to check your pet for the signs and symptoms of cancer in an attempt to catch the disease early.
Signs and Symptoms of Cancer in Dogs
WebMD reports that the symptoms of cancer in dogs are often similar to the symptoms found in people. Watch your dog for:
- A lump or a bump
- A wound that doesn’t heal
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Lameness or swelling in the bone
- Abnormal bleeding
While the typical signs of cancer often alert owners that a dog is getting ill, some dogs do not show any of the classic symptoms of cancer. If you dog isn’t feeling well, see your veterinarian.
Diagnosis of Cancer in Dogs
Your veterinarian will typically perform a physical exam of your dog looking for signs and symptoms of cancer. Your veterinarian will also most likely order blood tests, radiographs and / or imaging tests. With 3D imaging techniques, veterinarians are often able to determine the stage of cancer in your dog (if your pet does indeed have cancer). Imaging also helps to plan treatment for your dog.
Treatment of Cancer in Dogs
According to WebMD, the majority of cancers can be removed surgically, including breast cancers, mast cell tumors, skin tumors and soft tissue sarcomas. Many of the same cancer treatment options available to humans are also available to dogs. Veterinarians use chemotherapy or radiation therapy on dogs with caner, and immunotherapy research may lead to additional future cancer treatment options.
Prevention of Cancer in Dogs
With a few simple steps, you can try to prevent cancer in your dog. Make sure to spay your dog before her first heat. WebMD reports that spaying before the first heat reduces the chance of mammary cancer in dogs. Practice good oral care on your pet, brushing his or her teeth or giving him or her a dental chew. Try to keep your pet out of the sun or use a dog-safe sunscreen. Visit the veterinarian regularly for checkups to catch any signs of cancer early.
If you notice any of the signs and symptoms of cancer in your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately. Early detection is the best prevention of cancer in dogs.
Considering adopting a dog? Why not consider an older, mature pet? Visit our adoptable pets page to meet the dogs for adoption at The Old Dog House.