The thought of our beloved dogs getting cancer isn’t a pleasant one, but it’s an important consideration for every dog owner. According to the AKC, 1 in 4 dogs will develop some form of cancer. The rate rises to 50% as they pass 10 years of age, and it is the most common cause of death in senior dogs. Since cancer is so common, every owner should keep a close eye on their dog and have any noticeable issues looked at by their veterinarian.
What to Watch For
Signs of cancer to watch for include, but are not limited to:
- Unusual lumps and bumps
- Weight loss and lack of appetite
- Sores or wounds that refuse to heal
- Discharge from their mouth, nose, or anus
- A bad odor
- Limping or stiffness
- Trouble breathing
- Bathroom issues
None of the above is a guaranteed cancer diagnosis. These are signs and symptoms that should be looked into by your veterinarian whenever they are present with your dog, especially if your dog is exhibiting more than one of these symptoms. Even if they do show multiple symptoms, it still might not be cancer, but it is likely something serious that needs to be addressed.
Comprehensive testing is often done to rule out any other potential diagnosis, such as blood work, urinalysis, and fecal testing. If these come back normal, they may have an ultrasound or MRI done to look for tumors. If any are found, they’ll want to collect a sample for testing. This is known as a biopsy.
Once it has been determined that your pup has cancer, your veterinarian will likely refer you to a board-certified veterinary oncologist that specializes in the treatment of canine cancer.
Treatment varies greatly depending on the type of cancer, its location, and its severity. The main avenues of treatment are typically radiation treatment, chemotherapy, and surgery. According to the AKC, there has been an uptick in using immunotherapy as a treatment method, as well. The best thing to do is thoroughly discuss your dog’s diagnosis, the available options, and the pros and cons of each. Being informed can make things a little easier when you see the veterinary oncologist to further discuss these options. Never be afraid to ask for a second opinion if you’re not sure or you’re getting conflicting information.
Trust Maryland Veterinary Surgical Services With Your Companion’s Health
Your companion’s health is important, and the team at MVSS is ready to provide the best care possible for your furry family. We are dedicated to combining comprehensive exams and assessments with informative and honest discussions of your companion’s care. Once we have worked with you to decide on the best course of action for your dog, our professionals will use their surgical expertise to work towards the goal of giving your companion an active and pain-free life. We are proud to serve loyal companions in Catonsville and Baltimore. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 410-788-4088 or visit us online. For more information and tips for pet health, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.