Symptoms of cancer in dogs

Cancer is a disease that affects numerous dogs each year, becoming one of the leading causes of canine death today. There are many types of cancer, and not all of them are life-threatening. As their name indicates, they will all be malignant tumors, so it is important to know how to detect them and start appropriate treatment. The symptoms of cancer in dogs will be varied depending on their location. However, we should always go to a veterinary clinic, so they can confirm the location and prognosis. 

Symptoms of cancer in dogs. Clinical signs of external tumors in dogs

A good proportion of cancer that affects dogs will be detectable by physical examination. These will be mostly skin cancer . What we will find will be masses on the skin or subcutaneous. These tumors can be more or less adherent, have a more or less smooth surface, appear rough or not, ulcerate or not, and of very different dimensions.

In this way, tumors will appear in the perianal area, such as hepatocarcinomas, in the testes such as Sertolinomas, in the mammary glands, in the mouth, ears such as squamous cell carcinoma, in the subcutaneous lipomas or throughout the skin surface such as mast cells or histiocytomas. Just by looking at our dog and feeling it regularly, we can detect them .

On the other hand, the veterinary check-up, at least annually, includes a thorough examination that also serves to detect cancer with these manifestations. Since although we detect them at home, it will be the veterinarians who, through samples of the masses, confirm the diagnosis.

Clinical signs of internal tumors in dogs

Cancer affects internal organs in the same way. Among them, the most frequently damaged are the spleen and liver. On the other hand, both the liver and the lungs are organs that are frequently affected by metastasis , especially the latter. Cancer can start in one part of the body, but can reproduce and affect other areas.

In internal organs, tumors are not externally observable, so the diagnosis can arrive at a very advanced stage of the disease. Symptoms that should make us suspect are weight loss, apathy, vomiting, diarrhea, ascites, pale mucous membranes, dyspnea, weakness …

Also, cancer is more common in older dogs . That is why it is important, not only to go to veterinary check-ups, but to periodically explore it ourselves at home. From the age of seven it is advisable to start routine annual exams. A checkup and, at a minimum, a blood test is ideal.

Common symptoms in dogs with cancer

As there are several different types of cancer, the symptoms can also be disparate and different depending on the type of cancer you suffer from. That is why we must look not only at what we can or could see with the naked eye, as external masses, but we must look at the systemic symptoms that our pet may externalize. These can be among many others :

  • Unjustified tiredness and fatigue
  • Unjustified weight loss
  • Lack of appetite, loss of appetite
  • Fall of the mood
  • Obvious symptoms such as the possible masses mentioned above.

If we appreciate one or more of these symptoms in our dog, we must go to a veterinarian for a complete check-up and provide us with a possible diagnosis in the event of a tumor, since the symptoms can be very nonspecific at times.

How to prevent cancer

In most cases, cancer unfortunately cannot be prevented . It is a condition that, aggravated by some possible external factor, cells begin to proliferate uncontrollably.

Depending on the type of cancer, there will be some factors that we must carry out or avoid so that this condition does not appear or is delayed as long as possible.

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Preventing our dog from being exposed to the sun during the strongest hours and for a long time will reduce as much as possible the probability of squamous cell carcinoma, especially those with white layers.

Above all and the most important thing is to go to a veterinarian if we appreciate any symptoms. An early diagnosis is half the battle won. No one is going to tell you online if your dog has cancer or not because it is necessary to perform complementary medical tests of precision.