Did you know that almost half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer? While this is a scary statistic, it’s just as important with dogs as it is with humans to ensure you know the types and early warning signs of cancer. After all, dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans. Catching cancer early gives better treatment options along with a higher rate of survival for your furry friend! Read on to learn about the most common cancers in dogs.
Common Cancers in Dogs and How to Spot Them
Mast Cell Tumors
This form of skin cancer is common in older dogs and are found in the skin and other tissues. These can appear as a lesion on your dog’s skin, which can cause irritation. They can look raised, like a No. 2 pencil eraser on the skin, or a less-raised mass that feels more like a lump under the skin.
This skin cancer can be found in many places on your dog, such as nail beds, foot pads and eyes, but most start in the mouth or around the lips. This can appear as a swollen paw or a sore in or near your dog’s mouth. However, many skin tumors are benign, so they aren’t necessarily cause for concern!
This cancer of the bone grows quickly. It can occur in any bone, but it usually affects the limbs. It tends to affect larger breeds more, where swelling or lameness can occur as a symptom of this cancer.
This cancer is a cancer of blood cells and lymphoid tissue and affects the immune system. It typically has the symptom of a painless lymph node in the neck or behind the knees, but can also appear in lymph nodes, spleen, liver, gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow.
This cancer affects the blood vessels and appears in dogs more than any other species. According to AAHA, it’s commonly diagnosed in the spleen, liver and heart, but can travel to any organ or occur under the skin. This is another one that’s tough to catch, as it doesn’t have many early warning signs.
Cancer is a scary word, and it’s especially so when it concerns a person or pet that you love. For your dog, the American Veterinary Medical Association suggests that you keep an eye out for abdominal swelling, bleeding from the mouth or nose, difficulty breathing or eating, lumps, bumps, discolored skin, non-healing wounds, persistent diarrhea, vomiting, sudden changes in weight, unexplained swelling, heat, pain or lameness, or a visible mass or tumor.
Remember that even if your dog has a symptom, you shouldn’t panic until you get the full diagnosis from a professional veterinarian! In the event that there is a tumor to remove or something to worry about, they will be able to walk you through the process and keep you informed every step of the way. Knowledge is power, so being aware of the symptoms of the most common cancers in dogs is the best way to ensure your dog’s long-term health.
Looking for a way to give back to those struggling with pets in need? Consider donating to Paws 4 A Cure, an all-volunteer nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to people who can’t afford veterinary care for their pets.
Comment below with your favorite organization that helps animals! 🐾