Three Common Canine Cancers

Cancer is a debilitating disease affecting millions of Americans daily and can affect your furry friend too.

Posted: August 2, 2011, 3 a.m. EDT

Approximately 50 percent of all dogs over the age of 10 will be diagnosed with some form of cancer. Being aware of the possibility of cancer in your canine and having your veterinarian perform regular checkups can help to ensure that you are doing the best for your dog.

Dr. Heather Wilson, assistant professor in oncology at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM), names the three most common types of cancer in dogs:

  1. Lymphoma
    Commonly affecting the lymph nodes, Lymphoma can also affect other parts of the body such as the liver, spleen, bone marrow, gastrointestinal tract, and the central nervous system. While this disease is generally not curable, it is very treatable with chemotherapy.
  2. Osteosarcoma
    A bone tumor, it most often affects the limbs of large and giant breed dogs. These tumors are generally not curable, but can be treated with amputation of the affected limb and chemotherapy does increase survival explains Wilson. It is important to catch this early as most dogs will eventually succumb to the disease if it spreads to the lungs.
  3. Mast Cell Tumors
    Mast cell tumors commonly occur on the skin and tare the most common type of malignant skin tumors in dogs. Most of these tumors can be removed and cured with surgery. However, some are very aggressive and are so likely to spread that chemotherapy must be integrated into the treatment protocol after surgery. Other tumors may require radiation therapy if they are not completely removed during surgery.

“Any dog can get cancer, but certain breeds such as the Golden Retrievers, Boxers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Bernese Mountain Dogs are predisposed to many forms of cancer,” notes Wilson.

It is important to regularly perform at-home physical examinations on your pet. You should look for any lumps, specifically around the lymph nodes in the neck. However, not all tumors are visible; therefore, regular veterinary visits are crucial to guarantee your pet’s health.
While cancer can be extremely stressful for owners and pets, the good news is that with the amount of resources and specialists that are now available to treat cancer in pets, owners now have the power to make educated and responsible decisions to get their companion animals through this illness.

In recent decades, veterinary medicine has progressively advanced to offer technology and treatment of human quality for pets to help aid in cancer treatment and other illnesses.
 To learn more about canine cancer and how it can be treated, visit the oncology section at the CVM website.


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mary   dennison, Ohio

6/26/2014 5:18:30 PM

i have a4year old yorkie and he has some weird spots on his belly where his tits are they are just not right they are like a black color i have been keeping my eye on them and they seem to be just get darker and now he has a spot on his one ball sack and i am really worried about it he seems to have like when he sleeps he shacks like he is have a seiger and sometimes it takes me awhile to wake him up could he have cancer on his belly

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Barbara   Forked River, New Jersey

6/3/2014 6:36:16 AM

Some cancers are so hard to diagnose. It took a month and a half to figure out my beloved 5 year old has leukemia complicated by myositis of the head muscles. Too late. Just doing palliative care now. My instincts told me something was wrong early, but because of his age they just didn't know what to test for so tested for everything. It took too much time. Trust your instincts with your pets and research on your own.

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Teri   Camano island, WA

10/13/2011 8:33:14 AM

Nice article. Having just lost a dog to lymphoma, (after 19 months of treatment) I know first hand what dogs and people go thru.

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