Although it usually afflicts older dogs, cancer can strike dogs of any age, and any breed – though some types of dogs are more susceptible than others, warns Christine McLaughlin for Dogtime. Canine cancer is treatable, however, with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, but it is important to detect it as early as possible. Watching for warning signs of cancer is the key to successful recovery from the disease, cautions Melissa Smith of Petful. Here’s how to spot it before it’s too late.
Abnormal Lumps Or Swelling
Most lumps you detect on your dog are probably benign. However, if you run your hands over your dog and detect any raised area that wasn’t there before, have a vet check it out to be sure it’s harmless.
Every dog has her down days, but if your dog is inactive or moody day after day, the problem may be illness-related. Cancer exacts a heavy toll on the system, and may reveal itself by making your pet exhausted.
Pets lose weight for a number of reasons. However, if your dog begins to lose his appetite and shed weight despite a consistently healthy diet, this could be cause for concern.
Offensive odors from your dog’s mouth may be a sign of gum or tooth disease, but it could also be a sign of cancer. Watch out for strong odors from the ears and backside as well.
Discharge or Bleeding
Pus or blood draining from ears, eyes, mouth, nose, or other bodily openings may signify infection — but it may also signify cancer. It is imperative that you have such discharges checked out.
Lameness Or Obvious Pain
If your dog has a limp that doesn’t go away, it could be a sign of cancer. Watch for pain or sensitivity in any other part of your dog’s body as well. Sometimes your dog uncharacteristically snapping at you may be a sign of internal pain.
Wounds That Won’t Heal
Superficial wounds that don’t heal within a normal range of time may be signs of a skin disease, but may also be an indication of a more serious malady such as cancer.
Although coughing and breathing difficulty may indicate a cold or pneumonia, these symptoms may also be manifestations of lung cancer.
If these or any of the above listed symptoms persist, take your dog to a vet for a diagnosis. If tests indicate cancer, consider consulting a veterinary oncologist to learn your options.
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