Each year, more than six million dogs are diagnosed with cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs beyond middle age.
We hate even the Idea of our furry friends becoming ill, but being educated and informed is the key to keep your dogs as healthy as possible. All veterinarians agreed that the quicker cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances are of fighting it off and saving your dog’s life.
According to The USA Vets Association, The following are the top 15 warning signs of cancer in companion dogs. If you notice any of these signs in your dog(s), please contact your veterinarian to check things out as soon as possible.
15- Bleeding or Discharge From any Body Opening.
Bleeding from the nose, mouth, gums, vagina or penis that is not caused by trauma should be examined. Usually, bleeding disorders do occur in pets while they are young, but if the unexplained bleeding starts when a pet is old, you should visit your veterinarian for a thorough search.
Bleeding disorders are a common sign of cancer and other dangerous illnesses. Nose cancer can cause the nose to bleed, and Oral cancer can cause gums to bleed.
14- Bad Smell From The Mouth
Getting up close to your dog is the last thing that you want to do, If your dog has bad, and icky breath
Foul breath can indicate a serious health problem. Most often, it’s caused by gum or dental disease, and especially small dogs are prone to tartar and plaque. However, chronic bad breath can indicate medical problems in a pet’s mouth, gastrointestinal organs respiratory system, and could be a sign of oral cancer.
If you notice a change in your dog food preference (i.e. from hard to soft foods) plus a bad mouth smell, you should go visit and consult your veterinarian.
13- Straining To Urinate.
Blood in the urine and Straining to urinate usually indicate urinary tract infection, but if the straining and bleeding are recurrent and not rapidly controlled with antibiotics, cancer of the bladder may be the underlying cause.
However if your dog experience all the following symptoms:
- Changes in your pet’s urinary
- Changes in bowel habits
- Difficulty using the bathroom
- Frequent bathroom use
- Blood in urine or stool
you should consider going to the vet as soon as possible.
12- Difficulty Chewing or Swallowing.
The esophagus is the tube expands and contracts, and leads food from your dog’s mouth to her stomach, allowing food and water to reach her digestive system.
A tumor near the esophagus, nose or lungs can block airways, making it harder for your pet to eat and drink or even to breathe. A tumor in the neck or mouth can cause inflammation and put pressure on the area and make it hard (Sometimes Impossible) for your dog to eat or drink.
Chronic conditions will cause serious risk to your dog and your dog may experience fast weight loss and nutritional deficiency.
If you notice that your dog is facing difficulties swallowing food and drink, you should visit a veterinarian very soon.
11- Loss of Energy, Persistent Lameness or Stiffness.
You may find that your dog is limping on one foot or no longer wants to exercise, or even walk.
Unexplained lameness or evidence of pain while the dog is jumping, running or just walking can indicate joint diseases or arthritic issues. However, if a large breed faces these symptoms it can associate with bone cancer.
Loss of Energy, Persistent Lameness or Stiffness is not a symptom confined to cancer, but an accumulation of any of these signs is a good reason to visit your veterinarian.
10- Sores That Do Not Heal.
We all know how playful dogs can be, so wounds are bound to happen- but sometimes it can seem that these wounds just won’t heal.
A Sores that never heal or wounds that don’t heal near a nail or sores that heal but tends to recur despite antibiotics by mouth or an ointment applied locally is called a chronic wound. These chronic (ongoing) sores can be caused by trauma, burns, infections, or skin cancers.
Your vet will identify the cause of these chronic wounds. Diagnosis methods may include:
- Physical examination.
- Blood and urine tests
- Biopsy of the wound
9- Loss of Appetite and Weight Loss.
Dogs do not stop eating without a serious health issue. Once again, a lack of appetite is not a symptom confined to cancer. Still, you should discuss that with your veterinarian.
Similarly, a mass putting pressure on the intestines may make your dog feel bad. And, one of the first things a dog will do in this situation; is to stop eating.
Cancer can cause weight loss in a dog. If you notice a fast weight loss that can’t be explained by a weight-loss diet. The Common cause could be a tumor along your dog intestine.
If you notice a lack of appetite and unexplained weight loss along with other signs from this list, be sure to pay a visit to your veterinarian to configure what causing all these to your furry-friend.
8- Chronic Vomiting or Diarrhea.
Dogs having a bout of diarrhea or Throwing up their food once is not necessarily cause for alarm if the problem goes away and does not become chronic.
Vomiting is often caused by a sudden change in diet, bad nutrition (such as feeding off human leftovers), or even eating too quickly or too much.
However, unexplained vomiting or diarrhea should prompt further investigation. Often tumors of the gastrointestinal tract can cause chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Endoscopy, radiographs, and ultrasound examinations are useful and necessary diagnostic tools when this occurs.
7- Swellings or Lumps That Enlarge.
Pet your dog! This is the best way to find bumps, lumps, or swellings that could be anywhere on your dog’s body.
Once a month, take your time to feel your dog’s body for any bumps, lumps or abnormal swelling. Search for swollen lymph nodes, which is a common sign of lymphoma.
Lymph nodes can be located all over the body but most easily detected around the behind the legs, shoulders, jaws, and armpits. Make sure to track any lumps you have found (their location and size). Every week or two, check if they aren’t growing or changing shape over time.
Any lump on a dog that is growing or changing in shape or texture should have a biopsy. Lumps belong in biopsy jars, not on dogs.
6- Difficult or Rapid Breathing.
Dogs pant after an exercise or on a hot day, but they should never have difficult or rapid breathing after a brief rest or at a cool temperature.
Abnormal breathing can be caused by cold or by experiencing allergies of some kind, heart disease, lung disease but unfortunately can be cancer.
A tumor near the nose, lungs or esophagus can block airways, making it harder for your dog to breathe.
Breathing problems in dogs are very dangerous and can quickly become life-threatening so if your dog is experiencing difficulty or rapid breathing you should call your vet as soon as you can.
5- Abdominal Distention.
Abdominal DIstention in dogs (or abdominal enlargement) is used to describe when a dog’s belly appears to bulge or be larger in certain areas. The enlargement can take place as a result of a variety of factors.
- Accumulation of air, fat, or fluids or bleeding that is occurring in this area.
- Enlarged organs.
- Many types of cancer may cause your dog’s belly to become rapidly enlarged (Like Cancer of the Spleen). However, superficial masses are the most common cancer that can cause this enlargement. Sometimes benign or malignant skin masses may cause localized enlargement of certain areas of the abdomen.
If you notice an enlargement on your dog’s belly, you must visit your veterinarian. A radiograph or an ultrasound of the abdomen can be very useful.
4- Persistent Cough.
The occasional cough is usually nothing to worry about. But just like humans, when a dog’s coughing becomes a recurrent or constant problem it can be a sign of serious health problems.
Many reasons can be the cause of persistent cough in dogs. For younger, placed in boarding, or recently adopted pups, a persistent cough could be a sign of kennel cough. In older dogs, a dry persistent cough may indicate lung cancer or a tumor close to the heart.
Coughing is the first symptom that owners notice when a dog has lung cancer. Your vet will help you decide the best treatment. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or palliative therapy.
3- Swollen Lymph Nodes.
Swollen lymph nodes in dogs can be located all throughout the dog’s body but most glands are easily detected behind the knee or behind the jaw, and it can be a sign of many diseases and infections.
Many things can lead to swollen lymph nodes in dogs. Most of the time, these are not serious and don’t require much in the way of treatment, as dogs will fight off the infection on their own.
However, when these lymph nodes are enlarged and become very big they suggest a common form of cancer called lymphoma.
That is why it is best to visit a veterinarian to determine the cause and prescribe the treatment. A biopsy or cytology of these enlarged lymph nodes can aid in the diagnosis.
2- Wincing, Whining or Crying.
When people are in pain, it’s easy to complain about it.
Dogs, unfortunately, can have a hard time to tell you what they experience and feel. To start with the obvious, they can’t tell us because of that whole not-talking thing.
However, Most dogs will let you know when they’re in pain using these actions (Wincing, Whining or Crying). That’s must be enough signs for you to know that your dog is experiencing some kind of pain or an injury.
If your dog is whine and shies away from your hand when you start to pet him/her, this indicates that there is something wrong.
Your dog must go to the veterinarian and he/she might need full examination and x-rays to determine the cause.
1- Aggressive or Unusual Behavior.
I think that you heard the expression, “Like a wounded animal?” many times. Well, there’s a reason.
Just like people get frustrated and cranky when they are in pain, your dog will have the same reaction. If your dog’s behavior changes for the worse, it indicates that something is not right.
A sudden increase in barking, pacing, growling or any restless or aggressive actions is not always a behavioral problem.
The first thing to do when your dog is having an aggressive behavior is to make an appointment with your veterinarian so the dog can be checked for illnesses.
If your beloved dog exhibits any of these signs or behaviors, contact any qualified vet’s office as soon as you can. Just one quick appointment and check-up will give you peace of mind and your pet a healthy and happy life.