Treating Canine Lung Cancer with Surgery

Canine lung cancer is often a terminal disease. The cancer usually starts in a location away from the pulmonary organs in a dog's body and metastasizes to the lungs; it rarely originates in the lungs.

Canine Lung Cancer Explained

Although any breed of dog can develop lung cancer, it mostly seen in senior dogs in the medium and larger breeds. Studies have been done to find a link between canine lung cancer and second-hand smoke. The results of these studies have conflicting answers, but many scientists feel strongly that second-hand smoke is an environmental factor that can give a dog lung cancer.

A dog tumor is usually seen in dogs with this condition. The tumors usually appear as several masses, not just one big mass. Cancer in a dog's lungs is aggressive and will metastasize to the lymph nodes and thorax tissues.

Symptoms of Canine Lung Cancer

In the early stages of lung cancer, symptoms are rarely apparent in a dog. As the disease progresses and grows, the dog will begin to breathe irregularly because the tumor is displacing the trachea or because of fluid build-up in the lungs. A dog can also develop a chronic dry cough. The dog will also have a loss of appetite and energy and will, therefore, lose significant weight.

If the cancer spreads to a dog's limbs, one will notice the dog struggling to walk properly.

Diagnosing Canine Lung Cancer

A veterinary oncologist is the type of animal doctor a dog will need to visit if cancer is suspected or diagnosed. An x-ray of a dog's lungs will first be taken to see if there are any lymph nodes that have enlarged. A biopsy will follow to test the affected tissues for signs of malignancy.

Treating Canine Lung Cancer with Surgery

For primary lung cancer, surgery is usually the chosen course of action. A veterinary oncologist will make a surgical excision to try to remove the whole malignant tumor. If this is not possible, he will excise as much as he can and will then have a dog promptly follow up with radiation or chemotherapy.

During a dog's cancer treatment, he will also receive pain management services. Prescription pain medication is often prescribed. Natural supplements may also be recommended to help a dog's immune system.


The prognosis for a dog that had treatment for lung cancer is usually poor. The expected lifespan ranges from 2 months to 2 years, depending on the type of malignancy and the treatment given.

Lung cancer in a dog is a hard diagnosis to bear for any pet owner. The best thing one can do is follow a vet's recommendations for treatment and a dog's comfort.