Detecting Cancer in Dogs

Dogs can be affected by many of the same health issues that effect people. Just as in humans, not all diseases have to be fatal or even particularly painful. Cancer in all it’s varied forms is one of these health issues. Dogs particularly can be affected by several types of cancer depending on sex, breed and age; including breast cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, osteosarcoma (OSA), prostate cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid cancer, tonsillar cancer, and transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder.

Despite the type of cancer a dog may have, like in people if the cancer is caught early enough it is very possible that treatment can be administered with positive results. With cancer however detection may be difficult; while some cancers might present early on some may not present signs until later stages. Even in the later case where a cancer might not present till later stages aggressive treatment can still be effective.

Symptoms to Look For

The issue with “common” early signs of cancer in dogs is just that; they are common. Many of the symptoms in this section are also very common symptoms of other health related issues that have absolutely no connection to any form of cancer. That said if your dog displays any of these signs he or she should be brought in for examination. Common early signs of cancer in dogs include but are not limited to:

  • Depression
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Lack of energy
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

(I told you they were pretty common)

Other signs that may appear in later stages include:

  • distended abdomen
  • growths on the skin, testicles, or breasts
  • lumps underneath the skin

As with any symptom of any disease or health issue the symptoms above are NOT mutually exclusive to any one disease or health issue. Other health issues that they could represent are urinary tract or bladder infection, food poisoning, an upset stomach or other less serious conditions. This is especially true if your pet is young or a breed that has a rare incidence of cancer. For example, osteosarcoma (OSA) occurs more frequently in large or giant breeds than in smaller breeds. In addition, the majority of cancers occur in middle-aged and older dogs.

Early Detection is the Key

The key to cancer as we discussed is early detection. What this means is that your dog needs to see his or her vet on a regular basis, most of the time a routine, regular exam will provide all the opportunity needed to detect early signs. Because cancer is more prevalent in older dogs as a guideline dogs about 7 or older should have a full veterinary physical exam at least once a year more if they currently have health issues you know about or if they are a breed that is particularly susceptible to a disease or cancer.

Geriatric Dogs are a Concern

Older dogs (geriatric) naturally exhibit reduced energy which is not going to be a sufficient tell as to whether or not cancer should be a concern. However, if your dog is getting up there in age and has low energy and displays sudden onset of any of the following signs they need to see their vet as soon as possible.

  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Coughing or rapid, labored breathing
  • Weakness or exercise intolerance
  • Increased thirst and/or frequency of urination
  • Change in bowel function with constipation or diarrhea
  • Bloody or purulent discharge from a body opening
  • An increase in temperature, pulse or breathing rate
  • A growth or lump anywhere on the body

Our doctors are experienced in identifying and diagnosing hard-to-detect diseases and disorders. If you want to put your mind to rest, bring your pooch in for a routine exam and we will be able to eliminate your concerns.

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posted 1 week ago

Great clean facility, super friendly staff! Dr Joel was really nice, attentive and knowledgeable! Love that they have Sunday hours and that they see small pets like our guinea pig. They took great care of her and were able to get us a Sunday appointment right before closing on Saturday. Would recommend and go back.

Jacqueline Franer
Jacqueline Franer
posted 1 week ago

I really appreciated the time the doctor spent with us. Dr Jacob was very very thorough and did not rush us out. He answered all my questions and concerns and then some. I learned more from him in an hour than I did from our previous vet over the last 7 years. We decided to switch vets because we wanted to be closer to home. I am so glad we did! I highly recommend.

james rawe
james rawe
posted 1 month ago

Thank you to Dr. Jacob Mathias!! Every visit is exceptional and makes us and our fur babies feel like family. He even takes the time to warm up to our dog who is very nervous around men. Thank you to the support staff as well! I will always refer Tipp City Veterinary Hospital!! You guys are outstanding!!

Anna Burkhead
Anna Burkhead
posted 4 weeks ago

We've never felt less than welcome here and have always left feeling confident in what was explained to us and any procedure that has been done. We are never rushed and it's easy to tell that everyone here truly does care for your pets and their best interest. I highly reccomend visiting Tipp Vet Hospital for all of your pet's needs.

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