Cancer Symptoms in Dogs: The Critical Danger Signs

Canine cancer strikes half of all dogs over 10 years old, causing a variety of symptoms. Early detection of canine cancer, which can be a terminal illness, is the first line of defense in defeating the disease. Stay alert to emerging symptoms of cancer to enhance the chances of your dog's survival.

Characteristics of Canine Cancer

Cancer cells proliferate through the process of metastasis. Cancer cells metastasize through the bloodstream and lymphatic system, forming tumors in new locations. Generally speaking, a dog afflicted with cancer might have difficulty eating and swallowing; recovering from sores on the body; walking, playing and exercising; and urinating and defecating.

Common Canine Cancers and Their Danger Signs

Cancerous tumors can develop in most parts of the body. Common types of canine cancer and their symptoms are:

  • Skin cancer, which causes skin lesions.
  • Testicular cancer, which causes enlargement of testicles, blood in the urine, a soft or hard lump in testicles, squatting during urination and enlarged breasts.
  • Bone cancer, which causes lameness.
  • Brain cancer, which causes unintended urination and seizures.
  • Breast cancer, which causes masses and lumps in breast tissue.
  • Hemangiosarcoma, which causes tumors of the liver, heart muscle, skin and spleen.
  • Lymphoma, which causes swelling of the lymph nodes, spleen and other organs.
  • Mouth cancer, which causes mouth sores and bad breath.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Canine Cancer

Not all bumps and lumps you find on your dog are malignant tumors; some are benign and pose little or no threat. If lab tests confirm your dog has cancer, your vet may recommend surgery, chemotherapy or radiation-or a combination of treatments-to target the particular type of cancer your dog has.