Dogs and Cancer, the signs to look for

One in four dogs will die of cancer: it is the number one cause of death in dogs over the age of 2. There are several reasons for this staggering statistic:
1) not knowing the warning signs;
2) expense of treatment; and
3) a decreasing genetic pool in specific breeds.

It is known that some cancers have a genetic link: a family history of cancer is a warning sign that increases awarness for both the primary care physician and patient and will alert both to noting any changes in health for further investigation.

The same type of practice applies to our pet and their health. The owner will not know the specific’s of their dog’s family health history but due to the limited genetic diversity in some pure bred dogs some breeds have a greater tendency to develop certain illnesses, including cancer, than others.

Cancer Warning Signs

* Abnormal swelling/lumps
* Sudden collapse
* Weight loss
* Appetite loss/difficulty eating
* Sores that don’t heal
* Loss of energy/stamina
* Bleeding or discharge
* Persistent cough
* Foul odor
* Persistent lameness, stiffness or limping
* Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

If you suspect your dog is ill, contact your veterinarian.

High-Risk Breeds

All dogs face the risk of getting cancer, but the risk increases for some of the more popular breeds, including:

* Golden retriever
* Labrador retriever
* Boxer
* Cocker spaniel
* Scottish terrier
* Pug
* Shar-Pei
* Chow
* Collie
* Bernese mountain dog
* Rottweiler

Not long ago, a diagnosis of cancer meant a dog’s life would likely be short and painful but treatment options have expanded. The key to successful treatment is awareness of the symptoms, the knowledge that some breeds that are high risk for cancer, and early treatment.