Distinguishing Symptoms of Canine Cancer From a Virus or Infection

Some of the most common canine cancer symptoms are the same as the indicators of ordinary viruses or infections. To best protect your dog's health, you must be aware of the key differences between carcinoma cancer and less serious canine illnesses.

Recognize the Common Symptoms

Some of the symptoms that may be present for either cancer or a less serious illness include:

  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Digestive problems, including diarrhea and vomiting
  • Changes in behavior or personality

Know your dog's healthy behavior and personality and be aware of any changes to these norms. While most dogs recover from common viruses and infections in a matter of days, cancer symptoms are ongoing and persistent. It is important to recognize symptoms as they develop so that you are aware of how long your dog has displayed signs of illness. Keep a log of symptoms and their severity to share with your veterinarian.

Check Your Dog Thoroughly For Signs of Cancer

Canine cancer comes in many forms, but it frequently results in an abnormal growth on your dog's body. If your dog shows one or more symptoms of cancer, conduct a thorough examination of your dog for tumors or other growths. These may be located anywhere on the body, but common areas include the lymph nodes, the back, the jaw and other joints.

As you are examining your dog for abnormal growths, note any cuts, bleeding or sore spots that may be signs of internal injuries or infections. It's important to keep in mind that some types of dog cysts are benign and generally harmless. Still, if you notice any unusual growths during your examination, inform your vet immediately so he can decide how to best diagnose and treat them. Usually a veterinarian will take blood and tissue samples to determine the nature of an abnormal growth.

Warning Signs that Require Immediate Attention

A large number of canine viruses and infections require no veterinary attention and will pass naturally on their own. However, if your dog displays more serious symptoms it is best to take him to a veterinarian immediately. Symptoms of canine cancer that require urgent veterinary attention include difficulty breathing or eating, bleeding or other discharge, or sudden and extreme weight loss. Your ability to recognize these and other changes in your dog's health and behavior quickly will increase the chances of full treatment and recovery for your pet.

The chances of your dog developing cancer increase as he ages, but it is possible for even very young dogs to have cancer as well. Many types of canine cancer are treatable if detected early. If your dog has mild symptoms that persist for more than a few days, or if you recognize an unusual growth or any number of more severe symptoms, consult a vet.