Pet parents dread hearing of a diagnosis of dog cancer, yet modern therapies often extend its life.
If your dog shows any symptoms of illness, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. It is vital that open and honest dialogue take place between yourself, the veterinary team and their medical team regarding quality of life when dealing with incurable disease.
What Causes Cancer?
Cancerous tumors are composed of cells that multiply uncontrollably and invade healthy organs and tissues, eventually destroying or severely impairing them. Certain forms are caused by hereditary predisposition while others result from exposure to toxic elements in their environment; with age comes increased risk as their immune system becomes less capable of fighting off cancerous growths.
Cancerous lumps may appear anywhere on the body and vary in appearance, size and texture. Some can be painful to the touch while others are not; they can be found under the skin or within muscles and organs in your body and can either be solid or fluid-filled; some even feature hairy textures while some become ulcerated over time.
If you notice any sudden behavioral changes or find an unusual lump or bump on your pet, don’t wait. Make an appointment with a veterinarian right away so they can evaluate it properly.
At their initial exam, your veterinarian may require blood work and urinalysis so as to assess for potential health issues. If they detect signs of cancerous tumors they will likely request fine-needle aspiration or biopsy of any masses that they suspect of being cancerous to determine which kind of cancer exists and the stage it has reached.
Additional symptoms could include weight loss and difficulty going to the bathroom. Sometimes cancer will even cause your pet pain that they will express as physical manifestations.
Cancer treatments in dogs vary, but usually consist of surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy involves administering drugs through an IV to kill cancerous cells and stop them from multiplying; although usually well tolerated by dogs it can occasionally cause side effects such as nausea, lack of appetite and vomiting. Radiation therapy employs gamma rays that penetrate tumor sites to kill cancer cells and stop their spread across other parts of the body – generally very well accepted though may leave skin irritation behind.
As dogs age, their risk of cancer increases exponentially. Dog owners must remain hypervigilant of any changes in their pet’s daily routine, demeanor or physical characteristics that might signal early warning signals; lumps or bumps that don’t go away, blood in stool or urine samples, trouble breathing or difficulty eating are all indications that cancer could be present – symptoms which should never be overlooked!
Many forms of cancer are treatable if caught early, but this only holds true if caught and treated prior to its spread. Therefore, pet parents need to closely monitor their pets and be vigilant if anything seems unusual – feel for bumps and lumps while petting your pet and make an appointment with a vet if any emerge. It may not always be possible to determine whether a lump is benign or malignant without taking a sample, so keep an eye out for sores that won’t heal, any smell coming from their mouth/nose as well as any difficulty using the bathroom (urinating and defecating).
Dogs frequently develop cancer in their mouths and noses. Melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma are among the most prevalent tumors found in this region; signs of oral cancer include loss of appetite, drooling or bleeding from their gums, gum color change or unusual flavors in their mouth as well as unusual tastes in their mouth. When cancer strikes in their nose it often manifests in ways such as bleeding from its pores, difficulty breathing or facial swelling.
Cancerous tumors that develop within the spleen or heart may not be easily visible, making diagnosis more difficult for owners of older dogs. Hemangiosarcoma, medulloblastoma and lymphoma are among these tumors most frequently seen among older dogs.
If your dog seems disoriented or is experiencing pain, make an appointment to visit your vet immediately. A veterinary oncologist can evaluate her condition and discuss treatment options to extend life while keeping your pup comfortable. Depending on her type and extent of cancer spread, some treatments can extend her lifespan while keeping her comfortable.
Modern dogs live much longer lives than their ancestors thanks to advances in both veterinary care and pet health, thanks to advances in both. While this can be considered beneficial, increased longevity also opens up more chances for cancer development and spread. Therefore, it’s vital that pet parents remain vigilant of signs that suggest cancer has developed, taking their pets immediately if any appear.
Symptoms of cancer in dogs vary, depending on its type. With skin cancer, symptoms might include lumps or sores that don’t heal quickly, scratching at areas they normally wouldn’t and increased body licking and scratching. Your veterinarian may palpate (feel) certain mass such as the spleen to check whether it has grown larger. You might also witness changes in appetite or weight loss as well as difficulties using the bathroom or blood in their urine as telltale signs that something has spread through.
Early cancer detection could save your pet’s life. To do so effectively, all symptoms must be evaluated, and a biopsy performed. This will enable a more definitive evaluation of whether or not a mass is cancerous; depending on its type it might also require further tests such as an MRI or ultrasound scan to see what lies within and whether or not it has spread further.
Many forms of cancer in pets can be prevented with regular wellness visits to the veterinarian, limiting sun and UV exposure, spaying/neutering and microchipping your dog, as well as maintaining an ideal weight. Furthermore, keeping an eye out for unusual symptoms should help lower their risk. Should any arise contact your veterinarian immediately as they may refer you to a specialist known as a veterinary oncologist who possesses further training and access to cutting edge research in this field – they will work alongside their primary care veterinarian throughout your dog’s treatment course alongside his primary care veterinarian throughout his/her care course.
Cancer that remains localized is usually curable; tumors can be removed surgically if possible or radiotherapy or chemotherapy can be employed to destroy cancerous cells.
Your veterinarian will tailor his or her recommendations based on your dog’s specific diagnosis and stage of cancer. In order to gather more detailed information, they may order several tests such as blood work (blood count, chemistry profile), urinalysis, radiographs (X-rays, ultrasound), tissue aspiration and biopsy in order to collect further data that will help your veterinarian establish whether the tumor is benign or malignant as well as how aggressive its cancerous nature may be and whether it has spread elsewhere. These tests can help your veterinarian ascertain these details as they aid their decision making on treatment options that best meet their criteria for diagnosis or further investigation of their cancerous status if spread further by medical professionals.
As long as cancer treatments continue, most dogs can live a good quality of life while receiving care; however, when advanced and severe symptoms emerge it may no longer be possible to help your pet. Most veterinarians would agree that if your pet’s quality of life has significantly declined it may be time to consider euthanasia as an option.
Cancer treatments may have metabolic side-effects that make dogs fatigued or weak. Nutritional therapy is an integral component of holistic cancer treatments as it can help counteract some of these changes in metabolism.
Immunotherapy, an innovative new treatment option for canines with cancer, employs their immune systems against cancerous cells. It has proven extremely successful at fighting not only cancer but strengthening immune systems as a whole. Furthermore, unlike chemotherapy which damages both normal cells as well as cancerous ones simultaneously, immunotherapy targets only cancerous ones, significantly reducing side effects like vomiting and diarrhea and low blood cell counts in your pet.