Different Forms of Canine Cancer Produce Different Types of Symptoms
In order to keep your dog healthy, you must be aware of dog cancer symptoms.
The earlier cancer is detected and treated, the better the prognosis will be for your dog.
Most dog owners will spot a lump and know it could possibly be a cancer symptom.
But what about the other types of cancer?
Symptoms of other types of cancer are often not as obvious.
Dog Bone Cancer Symptoms
Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) can affect any breed of dog, but is most common in larger breeds.
Unfortunately, this bone cancer spreads very quickly throughout the body and the prognosis is usually poor.
The signs of bone cancer may be subtle or profound and include:
- Joint pain
- Bone pain
Occasionally a mass or inflammation is found around the tumor area.
To determine whether or not your dog has bone cancer, your veterinarian will likely utilize x- rays, biopsies, blood tests, bone scans and CAT scans to view the area of the tumor and determine its severity.
Dog Colon Cancer Symptoms
Two types of colon cancer exist in dogs: adenosarcoma and lymphoma/lymphosarcoma.
Adenosarcoma is diagnosed when the tumor(s) grow from the apocrine glands located on each side of the rectum.
Lymphoma/Lymphosarcoma is diagnosed when the lymph nodes or lymphoid tissues in the gastrointestinal tract are affected.
Dog colon cancer symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Colitis.
In fact, both IBS and colitis can actually lead to colon cancer.
The signs of colon cancer include:
- Struggle to pass feces
- Blood in stool
- Mucus in stool
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss for no apparent reason
Progressed colon cancer can also cause high fever, changes in behavior, hair loss, skin rash, and muscle weakness.
To determine whether or not your dog has colon cancer, your vet will probably perform a urinalysis, blood test, take abdominal x-rays, and possibly perform a colonoscopy and biopsy to verify the diagnosis.
Dog Liver Cancer Symptoms
The most common form of liver cancer in dogs is hepatocellular carcinoma, a malignant tumor of the epithelial cells of the liver.
Unfortunately, the outward symptoms of liver cancer usually do not appear until the disease reaches an advanced stage.
The symptoms of liver cancer are:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Excessive thirst
- Enlarged liver
- Abdominal hemorrhage
To determine whether or not your dog has liver cancer, your veterinarian will perform a thorough exam, blood work, electrolyte panel and urinalysis.
Your vet may perform a needle biopsy of the liver.
A needle biopsy involves taking fluid and cells via needle from the liver. The sample is then sent off to a lab to be analyzed microscopically.
Dog Skin Cancer Symptoms
Many different types of skin cancer exist in dogs.
Because of this, skin cancer manifests in many different forms in dogs. The most common type of skin cancer in dogs is Basal Cell carcinoma. Basal cell tumors form in the deepest layer of the skin, the epithelium.
Basal Cell tumors most commonly appear in older dogs.
While 3-12% of all tumors are Basal Cell tumors, less than 10% of Basal Cell tumors are cancerous or malignant.
There are no real symptoms from the tumor alone.
Basal Cell tumors may spread to other parts of the body, including organs, which can cause serious problems.
Basal Cell tumors can be spotted fairly easily.
Basal Cell tumors usually appear as a raised, hairless masses around the head, neck or shoulders.
Your veterinarian will be able to give a certain diagnosis by taking a small sliver of the tumor and examining it.
Your veterinarian may also do a urinalysis and a count of all blood cells in the body.
Another fairly common type of skin cancer in dogs is Epidermotropic Lymphoma.
Epidermotropic lymphoma spreads through cells in the immune system.
Dogs of all ages and breeds are at risk, but older dogs have an increased chance of developing Epidermotropic lymphoma.
- Loss of hair
- Scaly skin
- Redness of skin
- Loss of pigment
- Skin ulcers or masses, often around eyes, mouth and nose
Your veterinarian will do a urinalysis and a count of all blood cells in the body.
Some veterinarians take radiographs to look for tumors inside of your dog.
A biopsy of the tumor must be sent to a veterinary pathologist to confirm the diagnosis.
Dog Stomach Cancer Symptoms
Stomach cancer, known as Leiomyosarcoma, is a very uncommon condition in dogs.
Leiomyosarcoma is caused when a cancerous tumor forms in the stomach or intestinal tract.
It is an extremely painful disease that mainly affects dogs over the age of six.
On top of the undesirable effects it has in the stomach, Leiomyosarcoma has a dangerous tendency to spread throughout the body.
- Weight loss
- Blood in stool
To procure a diagnosis, your veterinarian may perform a complete physical examination, as well as a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count.
Other diagnostic procedures include abdominal X-rays and ultrasounds, contrast radiography, or endoscopy (a tube inserted through the esophagus to exam the stomach and intestines).
Dog Throat Cancer Symptoms
Throat Cancer, or Chondrosarcoma, describes a condition in dogs where a tumor originating in the cartilage develops in the larynx or trachea.
Chondrosarcoma is quick to spread and the prognosis is usually bleak.
Canine Throat Cancer Symptoms Include:
- Changes in voice
- Loss of bark
- Harsh, noisy breathing
- Poor exercise stamina
- Difficulty in respiration, dog may breathe with mouth open
- Loud noises while breathing
- Bluish mucous membranes
- Sudden collapse
- Difficulty ingesting food
- Inability to swallow
A diagnosis may be reached by evaluating results of any of the following:
- A complete blood cell count
- Platelet count
- Radiographs of throat and neck
Other options include imaging like MRI and CT scans or a biopsy of the tumor.
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