Cancer is a disease that happens to human beings, and our loyal dog companions alike. In fact, cancer is the leading cause of disease-related death in canines. This is why it is important for dog owners to keep their eyes open for early warning signs and symptoms of this illness, which is potentially deadly. Should you notice any of the following signs in your dog, you should make an appointment to take your dog to their vet as soon as possible. Just as is with humans, the sooner that cancer is detected, the greater chance your dog has of recovering completely.
Bumps, Lumps and Swollen Areas
The first physical signs of cancer in dogs are often lumps and bumps. Though not all lumps are cancerous, the only way to know for certain is to take your dog to the veterinarian. Your vet may take a sample of the lump and examine it under a microscope. In doing so, he or she should be able to tell if it is cancerous.
Weight Loss and a Decrease in Appetite
If the dog is losing weight and his appetite is not strong, this may indicate that there is a tumor in the intestinal tract, or in another area of the body. Through blood tests, the veterinarian can tell if any of the dog’s body organs aren’t working properly, however this in itself is not enough to provide a diagnosis of cancer. Through an ultrasound and X-rays, a veterinarian can check for bumps and lumps that may be on the inside of the body, and therefore aren’t visible to the naked eye.
An Unpleasant Odor
Dogs are not known to have a particularly good smell, however a foul odor can mean that something is wrong. In particular, anal cancer and mouth cancer can cause the dog to have an unpleasant odor. Also, an ulcerated tumor that is anywhere on the body can smell bad. If your dogs has an offensive odor, it is a good idea to have him or her checked out right away.
If your dog is not interested in playing, or seems to have lost their usual vigor for life, there may be a tumor that simply isn’t obvious to you. Once again, with the help of a blood test and ultrasound, you can know for certain.
An Abnormal Discharge
Should your dog be bleeding or have discharge from any part of their body, a visit from their veterinarian is in order. As an example, a nosebleed can seem harmless, but it can also be a sign of nose cancer.
Wounds That Are Not Healing
Should your dog have sores or wounds that just don’t seem to heal, this can be a sign of cancer, a skin disease or an infection. In either of these cases, they need attention from a vet right away.
Changes in Relieving Themselves
Is your dog having difficulty urinating or defecating? Do you see blood in their urine or stool? These can be signs of digestive or urinary cancer.
Keep in mind that there is no need to panic if you should notice any of the above signs in your dog. It just means it is time to take them to their veterinarian as soon as possible. If it does turn out that your dog has cancer, this doesn’t mean that your dog is going to pass away. Thankfully, there are advances in veterinary oncology that allow many dogs to undergo treatment that can be life-saving.