Knowledge about and when to suspect that your dog may have cancer
What to expect when your dog has cancer diagnosis…We all love our dogs so much so how could this be? While the big “C”diagnosis can feel devastating to a human, when we hear about cancer in dogs, we suddenly feel completely helpless. Of course, our dogs are members of the family, so handling this fearsome diagnosis in your beloved pet can be just as difficult for the rest of the famly, as it is when humans get the disease. Here is some thoughtful advice from experts in veterinary medicine when your dog has cancer.
Different types of Dog CancersThe variety of cancers that occurs in dogs is just as vast as those found in humans. On PetMD.com the information is very thorough and in fact, by alphabetical order, you can locate all the types of cancer dogs can get, using this link: Alphabetical list of types of Cancer in Dogs
Those of us with the larger breeds, such as Labradors and Retrievers have probably experienced the discovery of lumps and bumps under our furry best friends’ skin and on their bodies. Usually, the Veterinarian will tell us they are Lipomas, which are fatty cells that collect and form a lump. The severity of these Lipomas can increase with age. The advice from our Veterinarians is keep a watch on whether they grow larger and/or become hardened. According to the American Kennel Club Health section, Lymphomas are the most typical cancers found in dogs. However, skin cancers happen often in shorter haired breeds. Skin cancers will grow unevenly as they get larger, just like we see in our human mole-like growths. Regular inspection of your pooch’s skin and body lumps is just as important for them as it is for our own self-examination.
Cancer Warning Signs in CaninesA great article is on Rover.com about the 8 Early Warning Signs of Cancer in Dogs, so we can get a degree of fore-warning if our beloved canine is developing the disease. As you read Elizabeth Geier’s list of symptoms, you will quickly notice that just like in humans, sudden weight loss, limping, bleeding or discharge, tiredness, breathing or bowel difficulties and lumps are the first indications that something is wrong in your fur pal. Since our precious tail waggers cannot talk to us about how they feel, our powers of observation are critical to catch their cancer diagnosis early. An immediate trip to our Veterinarian is the best move to make when we discover any of these warning signs.
What you Can Expect to HappenThe Veterinary experts will run several tests after listening to your description of symptoms and doing an overall doggie exam. Depending upon the findings, the Vet will recommend a course of treatment. The next challenge we face as the owners of our four-pawed family is to tackle the expense of treatment. Pet insurance from reputable companies is the best way to assure peace of mind if your dog becomes ill with any disease. When you are on a limited budget, cancer treatment in dogs can be as relatively expensive, as it is in humans. Work with your Veterinary clinic to weigh the best options for treating or curing your pet.
Most Veterinarians will tell you that if the cure is not a guarantee, that you can keep your fur partner comfortable and pain free as long as possible. However, when your dog stops wagging their tail, does not want to eat and is in obvious constant pain, it is time to let go. It is a hard decision for us owners to make, but keep one thing in mind. You are helping your dog by not letting them suffer. It is probably the most unselfish act you will take, when your dog lets you know it is time for them to go wait for you on the “Rainbow Bridge.”
Doggie Diva would like to acknowledge and thank the following resources:
List of Canine Cancers
Lumphoma in Dogs article
8 Early Warning signs of Cancer in dogs By Elisabeth Geier
Photo Credit: Angela N. on Flikr, "Sad Mummy"
- Doggie Diva