We hear about cancer almost every day, from TV to personal accounts, and by now most of us have a general idea how it manifests. But what about animals, especially dogs? Some cancer symptoms in dogs are quite obvious while others are subtle and hard to notice, so you should get informed about them to be able to save your dog in time. Here are some first warning signs of canine cancer.
Probably the most common cancer symptom in dogs is weight loss. Dogs usually lose weight because of a gastrointestinal tumor which causes them to stop eating altogether. However, your dog can also eat as usual but still lose weight which is also a cancer sign. So, if you notice your dog losing weight without any apparent reason, pay a visit to your vet.
Every time you pet or brush your dog, pay attention to lumps, bumps or other skin changes. Those lumps can be benign or malign, and you basically have no way of knowing until your vet takes a sample and does tests. However, these skin changes are easier to treat if you notice them early. In addition, if you notice your dog having sores or lesions that are painful, itchy or won’t heal, you better consult your vet just in case.
Weakness and lethargy can also be a sign of cancer; so, if you notice your dog avoids going for walks, greeting people or is much less active, make an appointment with your vet. However, if your dog collapses, take action immediately. Larger dogs are especially prone to this symptom. They might fall down one day and seem better the next, but you should still bring them in for tests.
Just like collapsing, nosebleeds should never be ignored in dogs, especially with older dogs, since it can be a sign of nose cancer. However, if your dog is quite young, you should also bring them in for tests, because your dog could have something stuck up their sniffer.
Even though there are many reasons your dog might cough (windpipe problems, dog flu, fungal infection, heartworm, heart disease), if a cough persists for more than a couple of days, you have a reason to be concerned. This might be a symptom of lung cancer.
Unusually bathroom activity
Occasional diarrhea is usually nothing to be worried about, but if it persists for a couple of days or gets worse, you might want to visit your vet. Also, if your dog is constantly asking to go to the bathroom, has difficulty peeing or pooping, is vomiting or has blood in the stool or urine, you should inform the vet. All of these can be signs of potential cancer.
If you notice your dog is experiencing jerking of the paw, foaming at the mouth, frequent champing and chewing, it might be having a seizure. Unfortunately, seizures are often a sign of brain tumor and are typically seen in older dogs. If your dog seizes, see a vet immediately.
Even though there’s not much you can do to prevent cancer in your dog, there are certain things you can do to decrease the chances of cancer development. Spaying and neutering help prevent reproductive cancers, while some experts also advise giving your dog vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, lycopene, and selenium to prevent cancer. Also, healthy eating habits and regular exercise can be a significant factor in cancer prevention so make sure you get quality food and suitable dog accessories from your local pet shop.
So, remember these cancer symptoms the next time you notice something unusual about your dog’s behavior. By reacting quickly and making sure your pup gets the best diagnosis and care, you’re giving them the best chances of getting healthy again.