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What Every Dog Owner Should Know About Cancer: An Arsenal of Medical, Holistic, and Alternative Options
Dogs suffer from cancer just like people.
In fact, according to PetMD, “Cancer is the number one disease-related killer of pets.”
Because cancer is so common in dogs, owners must be aware of cancer signs and symptoms.
If discovered early, you can effectively treat many types of dog cancer, allowing your dog to continue on with a healthy, happy life.
Our goal is to share information about the different dog cancer symptoms, dog cancer treatments, and preventative measures.
Attentive owners can spot dog cancer symptoms as soon as they appear and seek veterinary help immediately.
Often, early identification of cancer marks the difference between life and death.
If your dog experiences any of the symptoms described below, you should seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Although the symptoms are not proof of cancer, all are possible signs of cancer.
Remember, the earlier cancer is identified, the better.
General Dog Cancer Symptoms
- Changes in Bathroom Habits: Cancer can make a dog need to go to the bathroom more. Other similar signs of cancer are blood in the urine or stool. If you notice symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
- Evidence of Pain: Evidence of pain or obvious limping while your dog is walking, running or playing is often a sign of arthritis, joint, or muscle issues in older dogs. Signs of pain can also be signs of bone cancer.
- Lethargy or Depression: Cancer often makes dogs act more “lazy.” For example, he or she may suddenly not want to play or go on walks, or sleep much more than usual.
- Coughing or Difficulty Breathing: Coughing and abnormal breathing can be caused by cancer, heart disease or lung disease. Cancer causes these symptoms when it metastasizes to the lungs.
- Change in Appetite: Cancer can cause loss of appetite. Oral, esophageal, and digestive tract tumors are the most common causes of appetite loss. The general malaise caused by cancer can also decrease the appetite in some dogs.
- Non-Healing Wounds: Cancer, infection and skin disease are all possible causes of non-healing wounds. You should see your veterinarian for any non-healing wound.
- Weight Loss: Cancer is one of many things that can cause your dog to lose weight. If you notice weight loss in combination with any other symptom on this list, definitely see your vet.
- Abnormal Discharges: Cancer causes a wide variety of abnormal discharges. If your dog suffers from any type of abnormal discharge including pus, blood, vomiting or diarrhea, see your vet immediately. Abnormal discharges accumulating inside your dog’s body can cause a distended or bloated abdomen.
- Abnormal Odors: See your vet immediately if you notice foul or offensive odors emanating from your dog’s mouth, ears, or elsewhere. Foul odors can be a sign of cancer or other chronic health issues.
- Lumps and Bumps: Not all lumps and tumors are cancerous, but all should be checked by your vet. Most vets perform a needle cytology, which can diagnose whether or not the abnormality is a cancerous tumor or an unharmful lipoma (fatty noncancerous tumor).
The above list is not definitive proof of cancer.
But, any one of the above symptoms is a good reason for a trip to your veterinarian!
Owners also need to know that some forms of cancer are more lethal than other forms.
For example, dog skin cancer can easily be treated by surgery, but dog lymphoma and bone cancer (osteosarcoma) can metastasize through the body very quickly and cause death.
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