Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs older than 10 years of age and has become even more common in today’s times. According to experts, fifty percent of dogs over the age of 10 develop cancer at some point. Cancer in dogs usually begins with symptoms like wounds that don’t heal or lumps and enlarged lymph nodes.
The only way to prevent cancer is to stay ahead of it. If your dog is not eating well or is feeling unwell , do not hold on that visit to the veterinarian. Especially for older dogs, it is important to have regular checkups. Look out for obvious signs and begin treatment early.
The most common types of cancers found in dogs are:
Hemangiosarcoma is a cancer of blood vessels that is more commonly noticed in dogs than any other species. There are no early warning signs for this type of cancer and unfortunately, it can be only detected in advanced stages. It is diagnosed in the heart, liver, spleen but can travel to any other organs too.It is often seen in German shepherd dogs, golden retrievers, and other large breeds.
- Mast Cell Tumors
Veterinarians have found that one of the most common types of cancer in dogs is Mast Cell Tumors. They are especially seen in older dogs and mixed breeds, as well as Boxers, Boston terriers, Labrador retrievers, Beagles, and Schnauzers. Mast cells are found in the skin and other tissues, like the intestines or respiratory tract. They are made with large amounts of histamines and enzymes that are originally meant to protect the body, but turn against the immune system when tumors develop. Look out for lesions on your dog’s skin that might make him uncomfortable or agitated.
Lymphoma is one of the few easily treatable cancers in dogs. It is a blood borne disease of the white blood cell. There are several types of lymphoma and the most common symptom of this disease is enlarged lymph nodes. Other manifestations include cutaneous lymphoma (skin), gastrointestinal lymphoma (stomach), and nervous system lymphoma. It is treated through chemotherapy that can be at weekly or bi-weekly intervals.
Melanoma is a deceptive cancer that is difficult to detect and hence difficult to treat. Although it can happen to all dogs, it is more commonly noticed in dark skinned canines. It’s symptoms include small, darn lumps or wrinkles. Melanoma occurs in two types: benign or malignant. Although the benign kind is harmless , it’s removal is necessary as it could get pretty painful. The Malignant tumor is extremely difficult to detect and often surfaces only in advanced stages. Radiation therapy can be done but it is almost impossible to cure completely.
Osteosarcoma is cancer of the bone. Approximately 85 percent of osteosarcoma tumors are malignant, and are known to grow very quickly. It commonly affects large breeds between the ages of 4 and 7 years old, including Great Danes, Irish setters, Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, German Shepherd dogs, and Golden retrievers. While this type of cancer can occur in any bone, it most commonly affects the limbs. Initial symptoms of osteosarcoma may include swelling and lameness.
While some breeds are more prone to cancer than others, the fact is that cancer is a leading cause of death in dogs. Researchers have found that there could be genetic components leading to cancer in some breeds that are passed on due to breeding. Apart from that, there are environmental and spontaneous factors that cause cancer too.
To prevent permanent damage from this disease, it is important that you look out for any symptoms and detect them early, especially in older dogs. You could also include some anti-inflammatory ingredients in your dog’s diet or choose a dog food brand like Now Fresh that boasts of such ingredients.