Common Cancer In Dogs: Signs, Symptoms And Treatment
Cancer is one of the most common diseases in animals. Although it affects humans too, but its incidence rate is much higher among pets. There are many different kinds of cancers in dogs such as esophageal cancer, bladder cancer, brain tumor and others. These cancers may affect any part of the body including head or neck area.
The main cause of cancer in dogs is exposure to carcinogens (chemicals) during their lifetime. Some of these chemicals include tobacco smoke, radon gas, asbestos and other toxic substances. Other causes are genetic predisposition and hereditary factors. However, there are some things which can be done to prevent cancer from occurring in your pet.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dog Cancer?
There are various symptoms associated with cancer in dogs. They include:
Weight loss or gain. Weight loss is usually due to pain and discomfort caused by cancerous tumors. If the weight increase, then it means that the disease has spread to other parts of the body and there is no cure yet.
Loss of appetite. It is one of the first symptoms of cancer in dogs. In fact, some dogs stop eating anything at all and gradually lose weight. However, not all dogs will lose their appetites and in some cases, they may even eat more than usual. If you see that your loved one is eating a lot but is still losing weight, then there is something wrong with its health.
Unusual swelling. Cancer can cause swelling in one or more parts of the body. For instance, if there is a tumor inside the mouth, then you may observe swelling in the lips, gums and the jaw. Some tumors also cause abnormal growths through the skin.
Trouble breathing. As it was mentioned before, cancer can develop inside the respiratory system causing problems with breathing. Tumors may block the airways or grow inside them causing shortness of breath for your pet.
Loss of energy and exercise intolerance. When tumors begin to grow inside the bones, muscles and joints of your pet, it will not be able to move in the same way that it used to do before. In addition, there will be pain associated with these growths which also prevent the dog from moving as usual.
Twisted spine or paralysis. There are some types of cancer which affect spinal cord, causing paralysis in dogs.
Skin irritation and ulcers. Tumors can also develop on the skin causing irritation. In other cases, it may cause sores and ulcers.
Bloody droppings. As the tumors progress inside the internal organs, such as lungs and intestines, bleeding may occur. This causes bloody or black droppings.
Unusual lumps. Tumors can be felt or seen as abnormal growths under the skin or within body organs. If you notice something like this, seek medical attention immediately.
Diarrhea or constipation. Tumors can also affect the digestive system causing problems with food passing through the intestines.
Severe weight loss and lack of energy. If your dog is suffering from cancer, then it will not be able to move around as usual. At advanced stages of this disease, dogs may even experience extreme weight loss and lack of energy.
How Is Cancer Diagnosed?
There are several methods for diagnosing cancer in dogs.
Sources & references used in this article:
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- Prognostic factors in canine mammary cancer (W Misdorp, AAM Hart – Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 1976 – academic.oup.com)
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- The growing problem of obesity in dogs and cats (AJ German – The Journal of nutrition, 2006 – academic.oup.com)
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