Types of Cancer in Dogs: Explained

Types of Cancer in Dogs: Explained 1

Dogs are the most common pets around the world, and for many people, they are considered to be part of the family. As a result, when dog owners learn that their beloved pet has cancer, it can be a devastating experience. Cancer is a disease that occurs when cells in the body grow and divide uncontrollably. There are many different types of cancer, each with its own unique set of symptoms and treatment options. 

In this article, we will take a look at six of the most common types of cancer in dogs. We will explain what each type is, how it is diagnosed, and some of the treatment options available.

Oral Melanoma

Oral melanoma is a type of cancer that affects the cells that produce pigment. While there are many different dog’s oral cancer types, this is the most common type, and it usually occurs in older dogs. Oral melanoma can occur in any part of the mouth, but it is most commonly found on the lips or tongue. 

You can often see oral melanomas as black or blue-black masses in your dog’s mouth. However, not all oral melanomas are visible, and some may not cause any symptoms at all. Oral melanomas are usually diagnosed with a combination of x-rays, biopsies, and blood tests. However,  in some cases, a fine-needle aspirate may be all that is necessary. The best treatment option for oral melanoma is surgery. However, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be used, depending on the tumor’s size and location. 

Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. It is one of the most common types of cancer in dogs, and it can occur at any age.  There are two main types of lymphoma: multicentric and alimentary. Multicentric lymphoma is the most common form in dogs, and it affects the lymph nodes all over the body. Alimentary lymphoma occurs in the stomach and intestines. 

Lymphoma is usually diagnosed with a combination of blood tests, x-rays, and biopsies. Treatment options include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. While there is no cure for lymphoma, treatment can often extend a dog’s life by several years. 

Mast Cell Tumors

Mast cell tumors occur in the cells that release histamine and other substances that are involved in allergic reactions. Mast cell tumors can occur anywhere on the body, but they are most commonly found on the skin. 

Mast cell tumors are usually diagnosed with a combination of biopsies, x-rays, and blood tests. The most common treatment option is surgery, but radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be used. In some cases, mast cell tumors can be cured with surgery alone. However,  if the tumor has spread to other parts of the body,  treatment will be more complex, and since mast cell tumors are known to recur, a lifelong lookout is often recommended. 

Osteosarcoma

Osteosarcoma is a type of cancer that affects the bones. It is the most common type of bone cancer in dogs, and it usually occurs in middle-aged or older dogs. Osteosarcoma can occur in any bone, but it is most commonly found in the legs. 

Osteosarcoma is usually diagnosed with a combination of x-rays, biopsies, and blood tests. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. In some cases, amputation of the affected limb may be necessary. Even though this may sound drastic, it can often be the best option for extending a dog’s life. And your furry friend will adapt amazingly well, oftentimes learning to run and play just as before. 

Hemangiosarcoma

Hemangiosarcoma is a type of cancer that affects the blood vessels. It is most commonly found in the heart, but it can also occur in the liver, spleen, and skin. Hemangiosarcoma usually occurs in older dogs, and it is more common in males than females. 

The most common symptom of hemangiosarcoma is a sudden collapse. However, some dogs may show signs of lethargy, reduced appetite, and weight loss leading up to the collapse. Your vet may suspect hemangiosarcoma based on your dog’s symptoms and history. However, a diagnosis will usually require x-rays, ultrasounds, biopsies, and blood tests. With early detection and treatment, some dogs may survive for several months. However, unfortunately, the average survival time is only two to four months.

Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is a type of cancer that affects the thyroid gland. It is most commonly found in middle-aged or older dogs, and it is more common in females than males. Thyroid cancer can occur in any breed of dog, but it is most commonly found in Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Bulldogs, and Poodles. 

The most common symptom of thyroid cancer is weight loss. However, some dogs may also show signs of increased thirst and urination, increased appetite, and lethargy. Your vet may suspect thyroid cancer based on your dog’s symptoms and history. However, a definitive diagnosis can only be made through biopsy or thyroidectomy (surgical removal of the thyroid gland). The most common treatment for thyroid cancer is the surgical removal of the affected gland and surrounding lymph nodes. This is usually followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy. 

Types of Cancer in Dogs: Explained 3

If you ever suspect that your dog may have cancer, it is important to take them to the vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Early detection and treatment can often be the key to a successful outcome. And even though cancer is a scary thing, with the advances in veterinary medicine, there are more options than ever before for treating this disease. So if your furry friend is ever diagnosed with cancer, don’t despair – there are many options for effective care.

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