By: Diana Smith
Canine cancer is very much a real thing. It mostly occurs in older dogs, but, in truth, it can happen at any age. In addition, cancer can occur in both purebred and mixed breed dogs, while some breeds are considered high risk. As a matter of fact, the National Canine Cancer Foundation claims that every third dog is put down because of cancer. Knowing how to spot a potential cancer case in your canine friend is the best way to increase its chances for survival. With this in mind, here are some warning signs that might tell you when you should take it to the vet.
Dogs don’t cough as often as humans do. If you are a dog owner, you can doubtlessly tell a dog sneeze from cough. This doesn’t necessarily need to spell out “cancer” – small breed dogs with windpipe problems can develop coughs as well. However, taking your best friend to the vet is always the best option; even more so if your dog continues to cough for more than a couple of days.
While nosebleeds may be a regular thing in some people, they are never normal in dogs. This is particularly worrisome in older dogs, as it may be a sign of nose cancer. This been said, nose cancer isn’t common in younger dogs; if this is the case, you should worry about a foreign object being stuck up there, or a potential injury.
Older dogs with sores, lumps, bleeding, gum color change, or a strange odour coming from their mouths are potential oral cancer victims. The older your dog gets, the more it’s important that you frequently and thoroughly check their teeth, gums and oral cavity in general. If left untreated for too long, an oral cancer can truly be devastating, which is why you need to perform regular checkups in order to identify the potential cancer before it advances and spreads.
As a sign of brain tumors, seizures should always be promptly addressed, as soon as you notice sudden and uncontrolled bursts of activity. These bursts include champing and chewing, foaming at the mouth (it’s not always rabies) or jerking of the legs. While seizures in dogs are more difficult to spot than in humans, knowing what to be on a lookout for will increase the chances of catching the tumor before it advances beyond operability.
Weight issues have managed to seep into the world of dogs as well; nowadays, dogs have a tendency of becoming overweight, much like people do. This is largely caused by poor diet, so you should make sure that your dog has good eating habits. Good pet store offers healthy food that you can even order online.
On the other hand, if your dog is eating less, but is growing in size, you should get it checked out. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Alternatively, weight loss is the number-one symptom of dog cancer or gastrointestinal tumor(s), to be exact. The dog will stop eating and, consequently, start losing weight at a rapid pace. In fact, even if your dog is maintaining its regular appetite and yet somehow is losing weight, a vet visit might be in order.
These warning signs should in no way be disregarded – your dog can’t complain about headaches, dizziness or oral issues, which is why it’s your duty, as an owner, to keep an eye on your favorite animal. If caught early, cancer can be manageable and even treatable, so make sure that you perform regular checkups on your dog, regardless of its age.