Cause And Symptoms Of Cancer In Dogs


Cancer is a challenging reality for pet owners but a common issue. Statistics indicate that 1 in 5 cats and 1 in 3 dogs will develop cancer at some stage in their lives, making it a significant cause of death among older pets. On a positive note, many cancers can be effectively treated if detected early.

Symptoms Of Cancer In Dogs

Dogs with cancer can display various symptoms. These might include lumps, new swellings, wounds that don't heal, enlarged lymph nodes, or unusual bleeding. However, many signs are less specific, such as:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Behavioral changes or neurological issues like seizures or head tilts
  • Coughing or respiratory changes
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss
  • Difficulty with exercise
  • Pale gums
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

If you are concerned about your dog's health, especially if you notice any behavior changes or new lumps, it's important to schedule a veterinary exam promptly.

Causes Of Cancer In Dogs

Cancer can develop for unknown reasons and can be influenced by several factors, including:

  • Age
  • Viruses and infections
  • Exposure to chemicals and toxins
  • Genetics
  • DNA mutations
  • UV damage or other environmental triggers

What Does A Cancerous Lump On A Dog Look Like?

You cannot determine if a lump on a dog is cancerous just by looking at it. Cancerous and benign lumps can look very similar. Lumps can vary in shape, size, and texture; some might feel firm and immovable, while others are soft and flexible. They can also differ in appearance—some may be hairless, pigmented, or ulcerated, and some may be painful to touch while others are not. Lumps can be found under or above the skin.

It's also important to distinguish lumps from lymph nodes. Dogs have several pairs of lymph nodes (under the jaw, in front of the shoulders, behind the knees and under the armpits) that are typically small, oval, and non-painful. Enlarged lymph nodes can be a sign of cancer. If you discover a new lump or bump on your dog, it's crucial to schedule an appointment for a proper diagnosis with your vet.


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