The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Warning Signs That Your Dog May Have Cancer

Monday, February 8, 2016

Warning Signs That Your Dog May Have Cancer

There are many symptoms that point to the possibility of dog cancer. Each one of these symptoms can be caused by another condition. However, if you notice your dog having a few of these warning signs at the same time, it's best you bring your dog to a vet for a check-up.

Collapsing

Collapsing is a major warning sign for dogs. This is because dogs are usually active and playful when they are awake. If a dog is always napping or sleeping instead of greeting you when you are near, it is a sign that there is something is out of the ordinary happening. Pay attention to the baseline of activity of your dog so that you will automatically notice when it is collapsing from lethargy.

And don't wait out to see if your dog is fine after some time. The symptoms of collapsing, lethargy, and weakness are usual signs of dog cancer. Bring it to a vet for attention as quick as you can. This is particularly true in the large breed dogs, like the Great Dane or Saint Bernard breeds. Even though they may collapse and seem fine the next time, it could be a sign that there's a tumor of the spleen.


Coughing

It is quite rare for a dog to be cough. Though it can happen if something gets caught in its throat. For example, when it chokes on food or when a piece of fur or dust enters the dogs mouth. Also, some small breed dogs can develop coughs due to problems with their windpipes. We wouldn’t be too concerned if your dog only coughs once or twice every once in a while. Some dogs do that to clear the airways to their lungs.

However, if your dog is coughing continuously throughout the day for a few days in a row, bring your dog to a vet quickly for a checkup. It may be a sign that your dog has developed infections in the airway due to dirt, or grass that it sucked in. There’s also a chance that your dog may have bronchitis or pneumonia. Worst case scenario, your dog might have lung cancer.


Weight Loss

When it comes to dog cancer, weight loss is one of the top symptoms that vets tend to see. Just as sudden weight loss is a big health warning for human beings, it’s a bad sign for dogs as well. It is certainly good practice to weigh your dog on a consistent basis. This will give you a true measure of its weight as opposed to just trying to guess by sight.

The presence of gastrointestinal tumors can cause sudden weight loss in dogs. Dogs stop eating as much as they do because of these gastrointestinal tumors. And even if your dog eats as much as it usually does, it can still lose weight due to cancer. So no matter whether your dog belongs to a big or small dog breed, if you realize that your dog is losing weight either quickly or slowly, bring it to a vet for immediate attention.


Mouth Changes

When it comes to detecting oral cancer, your dog’s mouth offers a lot of clues. Oral tumors can grow quickly and spread around the rest of a dogs body. It is among one of the most challenging cancers to treat, so the earlier you detect it, the better. It is also more common amongst larger dog breeds compared to smaller ones.

Though you may not be as experienced as a vet, there are several tell tale signs that tell you that a dog potentially has cancer. Firstly, you can check for bleeding of the gum. This shouldn’t be too hard to spot, as traces of blood would be left on the ground or on the fur near its mouth. Secondly, look out for any unexplained loss of teeth. A weak gum would leave loose dog teeth and may eventually fall out of the mouth. Also, look out for swollen glands near the neck area. That’s where the lymph nodes of your dog are located.


Nosebleeds

Nosebleeds in dogs are another telltale sign that your dog may have cancer. Though, this cancer symptom is much more alarming for an older dog than it is for a young dog. Sometimes, a nosebleed could instead point to a condition known as coagulopathy. This is a condition where the blood has lost much of its ability to clot and could lead to continuous bleeding. Other times, it could be because there are tumors in the nasal airways that cause the bleeding.

For younger dogs, nosebleeds could occur when the there are foreign objects blocking the nasal airways. It may require surgery to remove those foreign objects. In any case, do bring your dog to a vet immediately if the nosebleed persists for longer than a day. There are a few options to treating nose cancer in dogs, one being radiotherapy. Though it does take quite a bit of time and investment, radiotherapy could well bring the spread of the cancer under control.

  
Diarrhea or Changes in Bathroom Habits
  
Occasionally, your dog may have diarrhea from eating the wrong foods. Dogs sometimes like to scavenge the table or floor for leftover foods and this can cause disease and infections in the intestine. The result is loose excrement. Besides infections from eating the wrong foods causing diarhhea, it could also be caused by dog cancer. Tumors in the intestine could be upsetting its functioning. So, if you find your dog having persistent diarrhea, bring it to a vet immediately. The vet will perform a diagnosis by performing a fecal examination. If not, the diagnosis can be done through either ultrasound examination or colonoscopy.

Vomiting is another cause for concern. Like diarrhea, vomiting could be caused by a dog eating the wrong foods. It could also be caused by intestinal tumors affecting the dog's digestive fuctioning. Another sign of intestinal tumors is if blood is found in a dog's urine or feces.


Discharge

Discharge from your dog’s nose or eyes usually happens when there are foreign objects caught inside. Your dog’s immune system then secretes discharge to protect itself against the foreign objects. Sometimes discharge can also happen because of allergies. Infections could be another reason. The discharge that comes out is usually watery, but when it is a yellow-green color tone it could indicate an infection.

In rare cases, the nasal discharge is a sign of cancer. In this situation, nasal discharge is a symptom of facial tumors, whereas eye discharge is a sign of eye tumors. Monitor the discharge that comes out from your dog’s nose and eyes. If it comes and goes within the day, chances are that the discharge was due to a foreign object or a temporary allergy. However, if there is continuous discharge over several days, bring your dog to a vet immediately to have him checked.


Seizures

Seizures are a neurological condition where there are unusual, uncontrolled spikes of electrical activity in your dog’s brain. Signs of seizure include sudden bursts of activity, like chomping and chewing, shivering, and foaming at the mouth. At times, they lose so much control over their bodies that they can unknowingly poop or pee during a seizure.

The main thing you should do when you see your dog having a seizure is to make sure it is not near any sharp objects or furniture near its head. Then, gently comfort your dog by stroking it’s fur. Never put your hand near its mouth when its having a seizure as it may unknowingly chomp on your hand. Seizures in older dogs may be a strong sign of dog cancer. If you have an older dog, or if you find your dog having constant seizures, bring it to a vet for a diagnosis immediately.


Skin Changes

If you see any lumps or changes on your dog's skin, it could either be benign or cancerous. When you see this, it's best to bring your dog to a vet to check on it. When you pet or touch your dog, take the opportunity to feel for lumps or swelling. You can even schedule in routine checks on its skin.

If you do spot something unusual on your dog's skin, the only way to tell whether it is benign or cancerous is to take a sample. So if you do spot something unusual, bring your dog to a vet quickly. Also take note of sores that don't heal or lesions that cause constant itching on your dog. They too could be a sign that your dog may have cancer. This cancer symptom is more common among older male dogs. So if your dog falls into that category, pay particular attention to its skin.


Weight Gain

If you see your dog rapidly getting bigger, it may be a cause for concern. Just as sudden weight loss may be a sign of cancer, so is sudden unexplained weight gain. Of course, it's important to know when the sudden weight gain is normal and abnormal. Normal causes of sudden weight gain could be a sudden increase in your dogs meal size. Another normal cause of rapid weight gain is if your dog has been under-exercising.

And when assessing its weight, be measure it objectively. Sometimes, our eyes play tricks on us. Your dog may look bigger at certain times of the day, especially after meals. So the best way to objectively know if your dog is suddenly putting on a few pounds is to routinely weigh it. If you do find that your dog has sudden unexplained weight gain, bring it to a vet immediately for a cancer diagnosis.


General Pain or Discomfort

If your dog is in constant pain and discomfort, it’s a sign of potential dog cancer. So how to tell if your dog is in pain? The most obvious indicator of stain is when the dog is vocal about it. If for no telling reason your dog starts to whine, it could be in pain. This is especially true if it whines when you’re near it. It could be trying to communicate it’s in pain to you. Another sign is if it is panting heavily when the weather is not hot or when it did not perform any strenuous exercise. Lastly, your dog could be in pain if you notice that it has lost its appetite to eat. Generally, dogs love to eat and have a good appetite for food.

When you constantly notice these signs that your dog is in pain, it is a cause for concern. Bring your dog to the vet immediately for an expert diagnosis.


Unusual Odors

Dogs are well known for having bad breath. A dog’s bad breath comes from the accumulation of bacteria in its mouth. It could also be due to bad digestion after a meal. But if you consistently smell unusually foul odors from your dog’s nose or mouth, it could be because there are tumors there. Other signs of mouth cancer include continuous drooling, swelling of the gum, and bleeding from the mouth.

Do check with a vet quickly when you notice these signs. An expert diagnosis is needed to ascertain where your dog has tumors in its mouth. Mouth cancer can spread quickly to other parts of the body so early detection does a lot of good.




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