Canine Cancer: Types, Signs, Diagnosis and Treatment Options
The worst words a pet parent can hear is “your dog has cancer.” Unfortunately, this is a stark reality for many dog owners. Although canine cancer most often appears in older dogs, it can happen at any age. Sadly, cancer can cause a lot of discomfort and pain in your pet, and may significantly shorten their life. However, not all types of cancer carry a poor prognosis. As pet parents, the key is to educate yourself on the different types of common cancer, the signs of cancer in dogs and to be diligent in routine visits to your veterinarian. Noticing the signs early and getting the appropriate treatment can sometimes nip canine cancer in the bud.
What Exactly is Cancer?
Cancer begins when atypical gene mutations occur in susceptible cells. The mutated cells then begin to reproduce and attack other healthy, normal cells. When the atypical cells overcome enough of the healthy cells, cancerous tumors form.
Signs of Cancer in Dogs
One of the best things you can do is to catch cancer in its early stages-before it spreads. Detecting cancer early is critical for successful treatment and recovery. One of the most common signs of cancer in dogs is finding a lump on their body, but it is important to understand that finding a lump, doesn’t always mean it’s cancer, but you should visit your veterinarian as soon as possible for a pet scan for cancer as soon as possible. Other signs and symptoms may include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Abnormal swelling
- Difficulty urinating, breathing or defecating
- Persistent stiffness
- Difficulty eating or swallowing
- Discharge or bleeding
Diagnosing Canine Cancer
If your dog shows any signs or symptoms of cancer, you should take them to the veterinarian immediately. Your vet will ask for your dog’s medical history and general conditions. Along with a physical examination, your dog will generally have additional tests, which may include:
- Blood tests
- X-rays, MRI, Ultrasound or CT pet scan
- Fine needle aspiration
How Can Veterinarians Treat Cancer in Dogs?
Fortunately, your veterinarian has pretty much all of the options that are available to humans, which may include radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy. There is ongoing research and clinical treatments to help prevent as well as kill cancer in dogs. It is important to keep in mind that the type of treatment recommended will depend on a variety of factors, such as your dog’s age and general health, the type of cancer and the extent of the cancer.
Contact The Blue Star Pet Hospital In Saint Johns And Jacksonville, FL
To learn more about cancer in dogs and to schedule an examination for your dog, contact the Bluestar Pet Hospital in Saint Johns, FL at (904)230-9099 or in Jacksonville, FL at (904)379-9373.