7 Common Warning Signs of Cancer in Dogs

by Gayla on January 26, 2014

Cancer is a disease that not only affects us humans, but makes our loyal dog companions ill as well. With cancer being the leading cause of disease-related death in dogs, it is important for dog owners to be on the lookout for early warning signs and symptoms of this potentially deadly illness. If you notice any of the following signs, make an appointment to see your veterinarian right away. The earlier the cancer is detected, the greater your dog’s chance of making a full recovery.

Unusual lumps, bumps and swellings

Lumps and bumps are often the first physical signs of cancer. While not all lumps are cancerous, the only surefire way to know whether or not your dog is healthy is to schedule a visit with your veterinarian. They will take a sample of the lump and either look at it under the microscope, and will then be able to tell you what it is.

Loss of appetite and weight loss

Unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite may be in indicator of a tumor in the intestinal tract or anywhere else in the body. Blood tests will indicate if any body organs aren’t working properly but this itself isn’t diagnostic for cancer. X-rays and ultrasound can be used to check for lumps and bumps on the inside of the body that you can’t see from the outside.

Offensive Odor

It is not uncommon for dogs to be a bit smelly at times, but a foul odor is often an indicator that something is wrong. Anal and mouth cancer in particular can produce bad odors, but an ulcerated tumor anywhere on the body can smell bad. If you notice your dog smelling unusual or off, have your vet take a look at your pup.

Lethargy

Dogs that are uninterested in playing or seem to have lost their usual stamina may have a tumor that just isn’t obvious. Again, blood tests and ultrasound will be used to help your vet reach a diagnosis.

Abnormal Discharge

If you notice bleeding or discharge from any part of your dog’s body, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. For example, a nose bleed may seem harmless, but can be an indicator of nose cancer.

Wounds that Do Not Heal

If your dog has sores or wounds that are not healing, this may be sign of cancer, infection or a skin disease. In either case, they will need medical attention immediately.

Changes in Bathroom Behavior

If your dog is having difficulty urinating or defecating or you see blood in their urine or stool, this may be a sign of urinary or digestive cancer.

Remember that there is no reason to panic if you notice any of these symptoms in your dog. Just schedule a visit with your vet as soon as possible to see what is causing the problem. Cancer isn’t necessarily a death sentence, and advances in veterinary oncology mean that many dogs with cancer can undergo treatment that will allow them to enjoy life for longer.

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