Similar to humans, dogs are at a high risk of developing cancer at any stage of their life. However, in comparison to younger dogs, canine cancer is more common among the middle-aged and older dogs. Overall, cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs. As per statistics, about one in every four dogs die of cancer every year. Correct diagnosis of canine cancer at the early stages helps in combating the deadly dog illness to some extent. Hence, as a dog owner, it is very important to gain knowledge regarding the various signs and symptoms of cancer in dogs. Let's discuss in brief about cancer symptoms in dogs.
Signs and Symptoms of Cancer in Dogs
About half of the dog cancer cases can be medically detected by conducting a thorough physical examination. The worse condition is canine cancer of the internal organs (like liver), which does not manifest early signs. In such cases, cancer in dogs is diagnosed at a much advanced stage, which is difficult to treat. Cancer symptoms in dogs vary depending upon the part of the body, which is getting affected by the tumor. Following are some of the canine cancer types and their manifested symptoms:
Liver Cancer: Dog liver cancer is of two types- primary (tumor in liver) and metastatic (tumor spreads from other body organs). Liver cancer symptoms in dogs are manifested at an advanced stage. Some of the symptoms of canine liver cancer include vomiting, bloody stools, jaundice, anemia, frequent urination, increased thirst, lethargy, loss of appetite and weight loss.
Bone Cancer: Bone cancer (osteosarcoma) in dogs accounts to about 5 percent of the total reported canine cancer. It is most common in the legs, arms, skull, jaw, ribs and spine. In the early stages, bone cancer in dogs is usually manifested as swelling in the affected portion with less significant pain. However, as the canine bone cancer progresses, the dog's behavior changes due to severe pain in the affected portion. For example, a pet dog with limb bone cancer may become lame.
Lung Cancer: Primary lung cancer in dogs can be caused due to frequent exposure of the pet to the environmental pollutants and second hand smoke. Another more common cause of canine lung cancer is spreading of the malignant cells from other affected body parts. The noticeable lung cancer symptoms in dogs are chronic or harsh cough, coughing up blood tinge, difficulty in breathing, weight loss, increased fatigue, fever and anemia.
Stomach Cancer: Canine stomach cancer occurs rarely, which reports to about 1 percent of the cancer cases in pet dogs. It occurs most often among male pet dogs that are about 8-9 years old. Stomach cancer symptoms in dogs include vomiting, loss of appetite, irregular bowel movement, sudden weight loss, body pain, less activeness, scratching, rapid breathing and weakness.
Prostate Cancer: Prostate cancer in dogs results from the effects of testosterone hormone secreted by the prostate gland. The symptoms include enlargement of the prostate gland, abdominal swelling, pain during urination, frequent urination but with less quantity, unusual secretions from the genital area and generalized fatigue.
The manifested signs and symptoms of cancer can be managed by the administration of proper medications. If necessary, the vet may conduct surgical removal of the cancer. Proper care of the dog's health is advisable in order to minimize the risk of cancer in dogs. It is also necessary to have a keen eye to notice any physiological and metabolic changes manifested by the pet dog, so that correct treatment can be given at the right time.