Dogs truly are man’s best friend. They are stress relievers for dog owners. However, for dog parents, their dog is the centre of the universe, the reason for their existence, and the reason for their lives.
The care regime evolved alongside the dynamics between pets and humans over time. Pet parents are constantly concerned about their dogs’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being, whether it is through diet, walks, playtime, or stimulating activities.
As ominous as it may sound, another checkpoint on your list as a dog parent is required. Cancer is a common disease in dogs, and as varied as they can be, an early diagnosis can almost always protect our furry friends from harm.
Just as it is with humans, it’s important to keep an eye out for unusual symptoms early on and consult the vet to draw out a proper treatment plan. Bhupender Khanal, Founder & CEO, Dogsee mentions 10 early signs of cancer in dogs that you should keep an eye out for.
Here are a few more warning signs to look out for in dogs:
Lymphoma– One of the most common types of cancers in dogs is lymphoma (caused by an abnormal growth of cells in the lymph nodes and other organs).
Lumps and bumps underneath your pet’s skin – While playing with your dog, try to run your hands over their skin without applying pressure to check for any bumps or lumps developing under the skin. If a lump persists, it could be serious and must be shown to the vet for expert advice.
Abnormal odours from any body part – Sometimes unusual odors being emanated from the mouth, ears or other parts of a dog’s body can be a primitive indicator of cancer.
This calls for your attention. It must immediately be communicated to a vet for professional advice if you start noticing changes in your dog’s behavior or appetite as well.
A physical examination and blood tests may be crucial for a proper diagnosis.
Persistent sores and wounds – Look out for non-healing wounds/ sores on your dog’s body. This could be a result of a compromised immune system in your dog and another sign of cancer. At times, cancerous spots can resemble lesions.
Loss of appetite – Dogs love eating. So, this may be one of the most easily identifiable symptoms. A prolonged repulsion to food or continuous loss of weight can be indicative of stomach tumors, which may rapidly turn cancerous if not taken care of early on. However, such a change in appetite may also be a dental or other medical issue.
Erratic breathing or coughing – Cancer of the pharynx is common among dogs.
If you notice your dog having difficulty in breathing, chronic coughing or weight loss, consult your vet at the earliest. Another symptom of such cancer can also be the growth of lumps in the dog’s throat.
Changing bathroom habits – A sudden change in the drinking or bathroom habits of your dog can imply growth of tumors in the mouth or bladder. This can mean your dog starts urinating more frequently, at unusual places, experiences difficulty in walking or standing after urinating or has blood in their feces or urine.
Difficulty in swallowing – This warning sign can be easily spotted in dogs and be suggestive of tumors in the mouth that can turn cancerous if left unattended.
Decreased energy levels – Dogs are known for their active persona. If you observe your dog lying down for long or being less responsive, this can easily be concerning.
Check your dog for unusual lumps or swelling in the neck or mouth region. Early detection is vital to save your pet from pain.
Collapsing – The presence of cancer can cause lethargy in dogs. It may also lead to collapsing and persisting weakness in your pet deterring them from their usual friendly gimmicks. Inconsistent behaviours, too, may be symptomatic of splenic cancer.
Some early warning signs for this include changes in appetite, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst or panting, and a decrease in physical activity.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, you should consult a veterinarian as soon as possible and take your dog for a physical examination. Early detection means a thorough diagnosis and prompt treatment for your pet.
Depending on the type and stage of cancer, treatment options may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of the three. The treatment plan would be tailored to the needs of the pet and the family’s preferences.