The various kinds of dog cancers are one of the leading causes of death among our canine companions. Fifty percent of dogs over the age of 10 develop cancer. Experts say, however, that most canine cancers are curable of caught early. Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells that may either be benign or malignant. Benign are slow-growing and removable cancers while malignant cancers are aggressive and spread throughout the body. It is hard to pin down the actual cause of cancer, making prevention difficult.
Read on to find out the different kinds of dog cancers, symptoms and possible treatments. Being aware of the symptoms and types of cancers can help greatly in its detection and help ensure early treatment for the best prognosis. Some possible signs of cancer include lumps or bumps, changes in sizes of lumps, runny and bloody nose, difficulty urinating, bloody urine, weight loss, change in appetite, non-healing wounds, coughing and breathing irregularities, depression or lethargy, difficult bowel movement, limping, drainage and odor from ears, and increased urination.
There are many different kinds of dog cancers including lymphosarcoma, soft tissue sarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, oral melanoma, mammary neoplasia and mast cell tumors.
Lymphosarcoma, or lymphoma, refers to malignant neoplastic disorders affecting the lymph tissue. This is the most commonly treated type of cancer although it can be very aggressive. However, with early diagnosis and treatment, it can be properly managed. It frequently involves multiple lymph nodes and can spread to the liver and spleen. An advanced lymphoma can also spread to the bone marrow.
Soft tissue sarcoma are tumors that arise from connective tissue. This type of cancer is most commonly seen in older dogs and larger breeds of dogs. They would appear as firm masses on the legs, mouth or chest often appearing to be on top of, or right under, the skin. There are several types of soft tissue sarcoma tumors including fibrosarcoma, hemangiopericytoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, nerve sheath tumor, neurofibrosarcoma, malignant schwannoma, leiomyosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, liposarcoma, myxosarcoma, lymphangiosarcoma and synovial cell sarcoma. Soft tissue sarcoma can be treated and removed via surgery and other therapies.
Hemangiosarcoma is a type of cancer that arises from cells lining blood vessels. It is a malignant and highly metastatic type of cancer that affects middle-aged to older dogs. This cancer tends to involve the spleen, heart, liver and skin but can spread anywhere. Hemangiosarcoma can be diagnosed through surgical biopsy. Its treatment involves controlling the metastatis.
Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer in dogs. It is a malignant type that involves the abnormal production and proliferation of bones, usually in the long bones of large and giant breed dogs. It can also occur in any other part of the skeleton. It usually occurs in middle aged to older dogs. Osteosarcoma is very aggressive and if untreated can cause progressive lameness. Surgical removal of the primary tumor via amputation is the most common treatment protocol. Partnered with chemotherapy, this can enhance the dogï¿½s quality of life. Unfortunately, osteosarcoma is an extremely malignant cancer and most dogs would eventually succumb to its effects.
Oral melanoma or tumors of the mouth and throat are common in dogs. It includes malignant melanoma, fibrosarcoma, squamous cell carcinoma and epulides. These groups of tumors should be biopsied and observed via x-rays or CT scans to determine the type and extent of the cancer. Surgical removal is the treatment for any of the oral tumors. Radiation is also helpful.
Mammary neoplasia or mammary tumors are the most common tumors that affect female dogs. More than 50% of tumors found in female dogs are reported to be mammary tumors. This type of cancer typically crops up in older females who have not been spayed. It seems to occur more commonly in toy and miniature poodles, English springer spaniels, pointers and German shepherds. One of the causes is thought to be the fluctuating hormone levels that occur in females as they mature through their heat cycles. Early diagnosis is key and surgical removal is the treatment protocol for mammary cancers. Chemotherapy may also be explored.
Finally, mast cell tumors are common but usually benign accumulations that form nodular skin tumors. When mast cells degenerate they release histamine and other substances that can cause or contribute to stomach ulcers and skin lesions. Mast cell tumors can become malignant and can spread to other sites and should therefore be diagnosed and treated at once via surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and immunosupressive steroid administration. Treatment will depend upon the stage of the cancer and the veterinarian oncologistï¿½s recommendations.
Dog cancers are indeed a sad reality that responsible pet owners should be educated on. Early diagnosis and treatment are the best chance of getting a good prognosis. Once you begin to see some of the signs and symptoms of canine cancers, immediately work with your vet so you can be sure of a long, healthy and good quality of life for your beloved pet.