What are the Signs of Cancer in Dogs?

Cancer is among the most common health issues in senior dogs, along with arthritis and cognitive decline. Although one in every four dogs will develop cancer at some point, it will affect nearly half of all dogs over ten. According to the Veterinary Cancer Society, it is the leading cause of death in senior dogs. But how can you tell if your dog has cancer?


Lumps and bumps beneath the skin of a dog. Odors that do not belong in the mouth, ears, or any other part of the body. Discharge from the eyes, mouth, ears, or rectum that is abnormal. It is swelling in the abdomen.


What are the Symptoms of Cancer in Dogs?

Cancer is the uncontrollable growth and development of abnormal cells that can spread throughout the body, destroying normal tissues. There are numerous types of cancer, and the signs and symptoms differ depending on the type and location of the disease. 

As a result, it’s critical to keep an eye on your dog’s overall health and to consult your veterinarian if you notice anything out of the ordinary, either physically or behaviorally. Here are some warning signs to look out for.

Strange lumps and bumps. These growths can appear anywhere, so check your entire pet during petting sessions or as part of your dog’s grooming routine regularly.

  • Open wounds or sores that do not heal.
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss.
  • Discharge from any body opening, such as the nostrils, mouth, or anus. This includes things like bleeding, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • There is a foul odor. Tumors in the mouth, nose, or anus can cause foul odors.
  • A decrease in stamina or a lack of interest in exercise and play. This could be your dog’s old age slowing down, but it could also be one of the first signs of illness.
  • Limping or stiffness are examples of mobility issues. Although this can be caused by arthritis, it can also be caused by cancer of the nerves, muscles, or bones.
  • Having difficulty breathing or going to the bathroom. If your dog is wheezing, having difficulty urinating or straining to poop, they should immediately see a veterinarian.

Don’t be alarmed if none of these symptoms indicate your dog has cancer. Other illnesses or problems, including relatively innocuous ones like benign fatty tumors, could be to blame. However, the sooner your dog is diagnosed, the sooner it can begin life-saving treatment.


How Do Veterinarians Diagnose Cancer in Dogs?

How will your vet confirm your fears if you suspect cancer in your dog? They will almost certainly perform a complete wellness check, including blood work and urinalysis. This will allow them to evaluate organ function and rule out other possibilities. They may also use scans like an ultrasound or CT scan to determine the location and size of the tumor. Finally, a sample of the tissue in question will be required for examination under a microscope. 

This will be accomplished through a biopsy. A fine-needle aspirate is a type of biopsy in which a very thin needle is inserted into the tumor to extract a sample of the cells.

Your veterinarian may also refer you to a veterinary oncologist. These experts specialize in cancer research and treatment. Vet Specialists can help you find a board-certified veterinary oncologist. Feel free to seek a referral or a second opinion from your veterinarian. You want to ensure your dog receives the best possible care, including clinical trials for new treatments.


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