Cancer in Dogs: Types, Symptoms and Treatment
Just like humans, dogs are not immune to cancer. Being a dog owner, it is important to be informed and protect your beloved pet from the deadly disease. Cancer can be tiring and draining for the dog but with proper care, support, and love, he can lead a happy and healthy life. Learn about the different types of cancer in dogs, common symptoms, and possible treatments. Let’s fight against this life-threatening disease and keep our pets healthy!
Types, Symptoms, and Treatment of Cancer
Lymphoma affects the lymph nodes located in the neck, chest, armpits, knees, and groin. The most common types of lymphoma are Multicentric, Alimentary, Mediastinal, and Extranodal lymphoma. It develops from a few cells of the immune system that circulate through the blood.
Symptoms of Lymphoma include weight loss, difficulty in breathing, increased thirst, diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy, and vomiting. Lymphoma in the chest cavity leads to cough or intolerance of exercise.
The treatments like biopsy and chemotherapy are provided after diagnosing the symptoms of cancer in dogs. In critical cases, surgery or radiation therapy is recommended. For those who do not want their pet to undergo chemotherapy, prednisone- an oral steroid is given for 1-2 months short remission.
Bone cancer, also known as osteosarcoma, is a fatal condition that leads to the malignant, abnormal growth of immature bone cells. The leg bones are the most common targets, apart from the jaw, hips, and pelvis. If left unnoticed, it might affect other body parts also.
Symptoms of bone cancer in dogs range from swelling to difficulty walking. It also causes loss of appetite, lethargy, respiratory distress, and discharge from the nostrils of dogs. The early stages of this cancer are not much visible and might be overlooked.
The veterinarian undergoes certain clinical diagnoses to know about the stage of cancer. It can be determined by conducting a physical exam, X-rays, and biopsy. Surgery or chemotherapy is recommended considering the situation. Also, Immunotherapy is used to help treat neoplastic cells.
Mammary cancer or breast cancer is common in female and unspayed dogs. Progesterone is the growth hormone that replicates the breast tissue, leading to breast cancer in dogs. Dogs spayed before their first heat have only a 0.5% risk of developing this tumor.
Undergoing regular check-ups or spotting any sort of bleeding is a symptom of cancer. If you notice any firm masses near the skin opening or under the belly, you must rush to a veterinarian.
Diagnosis starts with collecting biopsy samples and determining the type of tissue. The veterinarian suggests X-ray and urine tests depending on the type of cell. A cancer treatment plan varies with the stage and type. Surgery is recommended in the early stages and Chemotherapy in the advanced stages.
This blood vessel-lined cancer can attack any part of the body and rapidly spread to other body parts. The commonly affected areas include the skin, liver, heart, and spleen. Unfortunately, it is a fatal condition however, early diagnosis can facilitate longer chances of survival for the dog.
The signs of cancer in dogs can differ as per the affected organ. The loss of blood, weakness, pale gums, lethargy, decreased diet, vomiting, coughing, and distended abdomen are some of the common signs of cancer.
The treatment starts with examining and staging the dog’s medical history. Certain blood tests, CT scans, X-Rays and ultrasounds are conducted to detect the disease. Once detected, cancer is treated using radiotherapy and chemotherapy to stop the growth of cancer cells and extend the dog’s lifespan.
Tumors in Oral Cavity
The most common oral cancers in dogs are squamous cell carcinoma, fibrosarcoma, and melanoma. It causes abnormal growth and unregulated replication of cells within the mouth.
Warning signs of cancer in dogs inside the oral cavity include worsening breath, drooling, dropping food or difficulty eating, blood or bloody discharge in the water bowl, and/or facial disfigurement.
Diagnosis of oral cancer usually requires a tissue biopsy under anesthesia. The treatment includes surgical removal, Radiation therapy, or Fine needle aspiration (FNA). Moreover, Histopathology diagnoses and indicates how the tumor is likely to expand.
Testicular Cancer in Dogs
Testicular cancer is seen in male dogs and produces an excess of estrogen or testosterone hormone. Sertoli cell cancer, interstitial cell tumors, and seminomas are some of the common symptoms of cancer in dogs.
Common symptoms of testicular cancer include swelling in one or both testicles, asymmetric testicles, enlarged scrotum, or infertility. Other symptoms may include hair loss, brittle hair, thin skin, hyperpigmentation, or red inflammation in prepuce.
The diagnosis of testicular cancer includes CBC, FNA, urine analysis, X-ray, ultrasound, and histopathology of the removed testicle. Surgical castration, abdominal incision, Chemotherapy, or radiation therapy are some of the recommended treatment options.
Tips for Cancer Care in Dogs
- Radiate positive vibes to boost their morale and keep them motivated.
- Monitor your dog’s normal routine and diet to strengthen its immune system and ensure a speedy recovery.
- If you notice any of the below-mentioned changes in your pet’s behavior, visit the veterinarian.
- Abnormal discharge from eyes, nose, or ears
- Sudden weight loss
- Pain or discomfort
- Suspicious lumps or bumps
- Make them practice enough mental and physical exercises to maintain their health.
- Schedule routine visits to the vet to ensure good health and detect any problems.
- Make sure your dog gets a comfortable and calm environment to reassure him.
- Ask about the experience of other dog owners who have undergone a similar experience.
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