No one wants to think about their dog getting cancer. Unfortunately, cancer is one of the most common medical problems that dogs face as they age.
But not all cancers are made the same. Some are immediately life threatening, spreading quickly to different organs, whereas others can be treated quickly.
Here, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about cancer in dogs, including how it’s diagnosed and treated.
Cancer is a pretty broad label, and it describes many different medical problems. It can be caused by genes or by environmental factors, and can affect just about every part of the body.
Because there are so many different types of cancer, there is no standard list of symptoms to look for.
Lumps are one of the easiest signs of cancer to spot. As dogs age, they often grow small lumps on their skin, which can sometimes be cancerous.
If you detect lumps on your dog’s skin, take them to the vet to get checked out. Try not to panic- many bumps are benign (non-cancerous), meaning they pose no threat to your dog’s life.
In the event that the bump is cancerous, the best way to prevent the cancer from spreading is to remove the lump as soon as possible.
Sores That Aren’t Healing
In some types of cancers, dogs will have sores on their skin that won’t heal. If you notice that your dog has any cuts or sores that aren’t going away, speak to your vet.
Changes In Appetite
Various types of cancer can cause changes in appetite. If your dog has cancerous growths anywhere in their digestive tract, they may not want to eat, or they may have trouble digesting food.
If you notice that your dog has less interest in food than usual, speak to your vet. There are a lot of other causes of lack of appetite aside from cancer, including digestive conditions.
Masses In Their Mouth Or Nose
Tumors can pop up just about anywhere on a dog’s body, including their mouth and nose. Check your dog every now and again for growths in their mouth and nose, and take them to the vet if you find anything.
Dogs can also grow tumors around their rectum. Check for bumps or lumps every few months, and more frequently if your dog has a history of cancerous tumors.
Mouth cancer can cause teeth and gums to rot, leading to foul odors. If you notice any bad breath that doesn’t go away after cleaning, you should check your dog’s mouth for growths.
Quickly Shedding Weight
As cancer spreads, dogs will often lose weight quickly, leading to a loss of muscle throughout the body. If you notice that your dog is quickly shedding pounds, take them to the vet to get checked out.
Loss Of Bladder Control
Cancer that grows in the urinary tract or bladder can lead to a loss of bladder control. Dogs that are house trained may start to suddenly have frequent accidents in the house. Take them to the vet right away to get them checked out.
Loss Of Energy
As dogs age, they will have a lot less energy. But cancer can cause even faster drops in energy levels, leading to severe fatigue.
Sudden changes in energy levels could be a sign that cancer is spreading throughout your dog’s body.
If you recognize any of these symptoms in your dog and suspect they might have cancer, it’s important that you get them to the vet as soon as possible.
Remember, not every small lump on your dog’s body is a cancerous tumor. These bumps could be fatty deposits or benign tumors.
The best way to be sure is to take your dog to the vet and have the lumps checked out. The vet will take a biopsy of the tumor to see if it’s cancerous. If it is, they’ll do further testing to see if the cancer has spread.
Because of the variety of cancer types, treatments will vary case by case. The main options are chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and immunotherapy, with many cancers requiring a combination of different therapies.
For many cancers in dogs, the first option is to remove the cancer with surgery. This is much easier in cases where the tumor is on the skin, and can be removed quickly.
There are a number of cancers will surgery will not be possible. The mass could be too deep, or the cancer could have spread throughout the body. In these cases, chemotherapy and radiation are often the best options.
Chemotherapy In Dogs
The chemotherapy that most vets use to treat cancer in dogs is not quite like what humans get. Vets usually use much lower doses when treating dogs, which reduces the number of side effects.
The downside of this treatment approach is that it’s less likely to completely cure your dog. But it can help them live a longer life, and they won’t spend their final months with the horrendous side effects seen high doses of chemotherapy.
CBD Oil For Cancer
Although CBD oil will not cure any type of cancer in dogs, it may be effective for treating a wide range of symptoms. It can also help reduce the side effects seen with chemotherapy and radiation.
CBD oil is an effective way of increasing your dog’s appetite, which can give them more energy as they undergo treatment. It can also reduce pain, and it may even be able to slow the growth of some cancer cells.
There’s no way to guarantee that your dog won’t get cancer. But there are a few steps that you can take to reduce the risk.
Getting Your Dog Spayed Or Neutered
By getting your dog spayed or neutered, you can prevent certain types of cancer, including testicular, mammary, and uterine cancer.
Feeding Them A Good Diet
Although a good diet won’t prevent all types of cancer, it may lower the risk of cancer in the gastrointestinal tract.
Make sure your dog’s food has a balanced combination of natural ingredients. Also check the ingredient list on their treats and look for any artificial additives.
Avoid Environmental Causes Of Cancer
There are a number of environmental factors that increase the risk of your dog developing cancer.
Pesticides can be a significant health risk to your dog, especially if they are exposed to the chemicals long term. Try to keep your use of pesticides to a minimum, and keep your dog inside if you’ve recently sprayed your yard.
Just as with humans, smoke increases the risk that your dog will get cancer. If you smoke, do it outside away from your dog
When it comes to cancer, time is of the essence. The sooner you get your dog to the vet, the greater their survival chances are.
If you notice any lumps or growths on your dog’s body, speak to your vet and schedule an appointment. Although these growths could be non-cancerous, it’s worth getting them checked out.
Cancer is a scary word. But if your dog has been diagnosed, you should try not to panic. There are more medical options than ever to treat cancer, and many dogs recover, especially if the cancer is caught early.