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Top 10 Signs of Cancer in Dogs

Updated on May 2, 2013

signs of cancer in dogs

dog with a nasal tumor a sign of cancer
dog with a nasal tumor a sign of cancer | Source

Cancer in Dogs is just as Prevalent as it is in Humans

Just as in humans, cancer is the leading cause of deaths in dogs. There are many similarities between signs of cancer in humans and dogs. The most important thing is to seek treatment for your dos as soon as some of these cancer signs are noticed. Unfortunately most dog owners are unable to realize early warning signs of cancer in their dogs and when they do, it’s too late. Losing a pet can be so painful and can take a lot of time to get over. Some of the early cancer signs in dogs may be subtle and can be easily confused with conditions other condtions. It requires keen attention to notice these early signs and take your dog to a vet immediately.

Closely look out for any sign that your dog might be in pain

When your pet is in pain, it will exhibit signs of restlessness or decreased activity levels.
When your pet is in pain, it will exhibit signs of restlessness or decreased activity levels. | Source

1. Pain.

This is one of the most telling sign that all is not well with your dog. If the dog seems to suffer any form of pain, take them to a vet as soon as possible. Since dogs will not communicate as humans do, it is your responsibility to look out for any signs of pain. For people who have lived with their pets for long, they will easily tell when they are in pain. If for instance your dog seems to be limping, that’s a sign of discomfort in the legs or hips which can a sign of bone cancer.

2. Bladder and Bowel Changes

Changes in bowel movements, use of the bathroom, unexplained vomiting could be a pointer to a greater problem in your dog. These signs cancer in dogs are related to intestinal and bladder cancer which are common. A telltale sign of cancer in dogs is the frequent presence of blood in the urine and stool. However, upon noticing these signs, do not immediately conclude that your pet has developed cancer. Have the vet check them out. It might be another problem as well. If your dog has difficulties passing stool, do not hesitate as this is a serious condition which can lead to sudden death.

Dogs suffering from cancer often are lame and less playful

If you dog show signs of lameness, and doesn't have a physical injury, this can be a sign of a deeper probelm
If you dog show signs of lameness, and doesn't have a physical injury, this can be a sign of a deeper probelm | Source

3. Lameness

If your dog doesn't act as normal, seems lethargic, is less playful, tends to sleep more, is not enthusiastic about taking a walk and such symptoms, these are possible signs of cancer. If these signs have persisted for several days, take your dog to the vet for treatment. It is important for the dog to be treated with pain medications to reduce the suffering as a diagnosis is made.

Closely Monitor the Weight of your Dog

make a point of weighing your dig at least once a month to keep track of any trend in weight loss or gain.
make a point of weighing your dig at least once a month to keep track of any trend in weight loss or gain.

4. Weight Loss

Any unexplained weight loss in dogs can be a sign of cancer. Normally, a healthy dog should never lose weight. Older dogs might lose some weight as they age but this should be very gradual. Cancer can cause serious weight loss which could eventually lead to death, loss of weight is associated with a change in the feeding habits or a loss of appetite.

5. Breathing Difficulties

If the dog developed some difficulties in breathing, this will mostly be due to illness. Listen carefully to the dog and notice any unusual panting even without exercises. The dog might also have some persistent coughs which should be checked by a doctor.

6. Lumps and Masses

Dogs do develop some lumps under the skin. Some of these are normal and will go way after a short period of time but might also be signs of cancer in dogs. If the lumps are especially growing in size, have them checked to confirm or rule out the existence of skin cancer which is common in dogs. The doctor will most likely take a biopsy from one of these lumps to test for skin cancer.

cancerous lumps are common in older dogs

Lumps such as these are a sign of cancer in dogs
Lumps such as these are a sign of cancer in dogs | Source

7. Offensive Odors

If your dog’s starts emitting abnormal odors from the mouth, the nose or the ears, it is a sign that everything is not okay. These should be checked to ascertain what might be causing them. These can point out to cancer of the mouth or of the intestinal tract.

8. Unexplained Bleeding

Bleeding from any part of the body whether internal or external is a bad sign. Bleeding is a sign of cancer in dogs even though it is not conclusive as should be tested to either confirm it or rule it out.

Lymphona-A type of Cancer of the blood in dogs

9. Wounds that Won’t Heal.

A wound that won’t heal can be a sign of cancer in a dog. It could also be due to a skin infection. Whichever it may be, there is need to seek medical attention for your dog.

10. Vomiting.

If your dog is unable to hold food in the digestive tract then have the vet check it out to rule out cancer infection. Most dogs will vomit when sick. This will not be necessarily cancer since other infections will also cause cancer.

Dog Cancer Vet Advice if Your Dog has Cancer

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    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Thanks for the helpful information. I hope I never see any of those signs in my beloved dog.

      Voted Up, Useful and Interesting

      Jaye

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