Tumors in Dogs: Types, Symptoms, Treatments, and Therapies



Dogs having a tumor is a common disease, especially in senior or old dogs.

It is believed that tumors are the main cause of death in dogs that are over 10 years of age. Fortunately, nowadays 50% of tumors in dogs are treatable if diagnosed on time.

The most common types are:

  • Malign lymphoma
  • Cancer affecting the dog´s lymphatic glands
  • Mast cells tumors, a form of skin tumor
  • Tumors in the mammary gland
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Bone cancer

Tumors in Dogs: Symptoms

There are many alarm signs that must call for our attention, since they may reveal a serious health problem in our dog: the tumor.

Next, the most frequent tumor symptoms in dogs are enumerated:

  • Fainting: the dog seems tired, lacking its usual joy, it looks weak or it falls down suddenly. These symptoms demand prompt veterinary care. Passing out is often one of the first symptoms of spleen tumor, especially in large dogs. This unpleasant feeling should not be underestimated even though the dog seems better.
  • Coughing: you should not worry if this occurs sporadically. It is of minor importance since often small dogs are prone to tracheitis, which causes coughing. However, if the cough is persistent and deep, it might signify there is a lung tumor, especially, if you have noticed other symptoms in this list. Owners must always analyze their dog’s situation to provide proper treatment.
  • Weight loss: it is one of the first symptoms of the presence of cancer in dogs. You should be worried if the dog eats as usual but the scale does not show it. Lack of appetite may indicate the presence of a GI tract tumor.
  • Weight gain: on the other side, even gaining weight may be a sign of cancer. Especially an increased appetite, which is unmotivated; or obesity without any change in eating habits.
  • Changes in the mouth: dog owners are generally not attentive to changes happening in the mouth of their pet, maybe because it is a difficult area to inspect and the dog usually shows resistance. Unfortunately, in the oropharyngeal area, one of the most aggressive and devastating cancers may develop. This one affects mainly older dogs. This type of tumor manifests with blisters, inflammations, bleeding gums, gums changing their color, and bad breath. An excellent way to observe that our dog is not producing any worrisome change is to brush its teeth regularly, and take advantage when it is yawning. You can also look at your furry friend´s mouth at mealtime to check there are no alarming changes.
  • Nose hemorrhages: epistaxis or nose bleeding is a particularly disturbing sign on an old dog, and it may indicate the presence of nose cancer. In a puppy dog, nose bleeding may indicate involuntary inhalation of a foreign object. Despite this, it is a symptom to pay attention to.
  • Urine and feces: it may sound funny but feces and other physiological needs may tell us a lot about our dog’s health. You should be worried if you observe constant diarrhea, the continuous desire to defecate (more than normal), difficulty to urinate, the presence of blood in urine and vomits.
  • Eye and nose secretions: if these are persistent, then as owners we should take it as an alarm. These may be the first symptom of eye cancer or it may be a face tumor.
  • Epileptic convulsions: these occur with uncontrolled movements, foam coming out of the mouth, and spasms. These may be a sign of brain cancer, especially in older dogs.
  • Changes in the skin: these may occur in different forms, like lumps, swelling, changes in the coat. Furthermore, dog owners must worry about non-healing lesions that cause itching and pain. When you are cuddling your dog, remember to carefully caress it with care, to keep it controlled.
  • Pain: if we notice our dog is experiencing some kind of pain when you are petting it, or when you are holding it in our arms, it is better to call the vet. If the dog is suffering from generalized pain or if it is very notorious, it may be a tumor.

Tumors in Dogs: Therapies and Treatments

A dog diagnosed with a tumor starts a very similar treatment to that of humans. In general, cancer is removed through a surgical procedure and, if it is necessary, chemotherapy and radiotherapy may be used.

Besides, researchers are studying vaccines and drugs for the immune system so dogs can also fight against cancer.

For now, however, prevention is the best path together with a timely diagnosis. These are the optimal factors to treat cancer.

Tumors in Dogs: How Long Can a Dog Live with a Tumor?

The chance for a dog to be cured of cancer, thanks to the breakthroughs of veterinary medicine, is around 60%, although it depends a lot on the breed, the tumor development stage, and the general clinical condition of our dog.

Tumors in Dogs: Which are the Most Affected Breeds?

There are dog breeds whose cancer incidence is more frequent. The most prone breeds include:

Mixed breeds are less susceptible to develop genetic tumors since their genetics is enriched by the presence of different breeds. This peculiarity makes mixed breeds stronger and less prone to suffer from cancer.

Tumors in Dogs: Feeding

If your dog is fighting against a tumor, you can help it with a proper diet. Its feeding must provide energy to combat this disease and it should be enriched with supplements, this feeding might help to cure it.

Diet should include:

  • Less proportion of carbohydrates and sugar: sugar derived from corn and wheat feeds cancer cells. It is better to avoid potatoes and carrots. Help your dog consume whole grains, like rice and oats.
  • High in proteins and fats: protein sources must be high quality and easy to digest, better yet if these derive from the lean parts of fish, chicken, cow meat, or hunting. Non-saturated fats are very important to combat cancer, especially omega-3.
  • Boiled vegetables: as a source of vitamins and minerals.
  • Supplements: the most recommended are digestive enzymes to allow the dog to get all its nutrients from ingested foods, and vitamins A, C, and E, to promote the immune system and counter fight lack of appetite.

Tumors in Dogs: Find a Professional

If you have more doubts, you may consult a professional near your house, who will provide the best assistance and answer all your questions.

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