The simplest definition of cancer is the abnormal growth of cells. Normally, cells grow, divide, and then die in that order. Anything varying from this is considered abnormal. When your dog is young and small, its cells increase rapidly in the usual manner until it reaches adulthood. Cancer cells do not die. Instead, the abnormal cells continue multiplying, eventually becoming a health problem.
You likely know something about different types of human cancer. However, if you have a dog it is important to learn about cancer in dogs. This way, you will be able to detect it early and save your pet from a lot of pain.
What are the symptoms of canine cancer?
- Swelling that does not go away
- Sores that persist and do not heal
- Loss of weight
- Lack of appetite
- Unpleasant odor
- Reduced physical activity
- Difficulty swallowing or eating
- Difficulty breathing, defecating, or urinating
Cancer occurs when the DNA is damaged. In that sense, it can be a genetic condition. DNA is present in every cell. Therefore, any damage caused to DNA can affect the proper functioning of cells, especially in how they grow, divide then die. The body can repair DNA damage in normal cells, but is unable to do so in cancer cells.
It is possible for your loyal friend to inherit damaged DNA. However, other factors that can cause DNA damage include smoke and pesticides.
How Does Cancer Occur?
Cancer can affect any part of the body. It really does not matter where. Some cancers create masses (tumors) while others, such as leukemia, do not. There are two types of tumors: malignant and benign.
Malignant tumors have the ability to spread to tissue near the affected body part. Cancer cells can also break off from the solid mass and travel to other areas. They can enter the blood stream or lymphatic system and reach other body parts. Once they reach their destination, they create new tumors. A cancer that spreads is named after the place of origin (where it first developed.)
Benign tumors, on the other hand, are not dangerous since they do not spread into the nearby or far away tissues. Benign masses can grow big, calling for removal. However, there is nothing to worry about. The mass can be removed without causing any harm and it does not grow back. Malignant tumors may grow again even after they have been removed.
There are different methods of detecting cancer depending on the area suspected to be affected. It could be in the dog’s blood, its skin, lymph nodes, or abdomen. Early dog cancer detection allows for a variety of treatment options.
Once you notice a mass or tumor on your dog a specialist takes a sample using a needle aspirate, a surgical biopsy or both. Using a microscope in the lab, the technician is able to determine if the sample has cancer cells or not.
The other methods of diagnosis include evaluating surgical specimen smears and open lesions. Chest x-rays can also be used to establish whether or not the condition has spread to the lungs.
Fluoroscopy and ultrasound are used by professionals as diagnostic avenues. The vet might conduct urinalysis and a blood count tests for extra information about your pet’s health.
After getting proof that your dog has cancer, you should refrain from vaccinations. This is something many vets will tell you. It is because vaccines can pressure your dog’s immunity and hinder the progress of the treatment it may undergo. Be sure to talk to your vet about whether or not to vaccinate your dog.
More on Canine Cancer
As you learn about cancer, you should know a few more things. For example, canine cancer is more common than you think. It’s at the top of the list of natural death causes in dogs. The frequency of cancer in dogs is similar to that in human beings.
However, the risk of skin, breast, bone, and leukemia cancer is much higher in dogs than in humans. The most common types of cancer in dogs are lymphoma, skin, connective tissue, oral, bone, and breast cancer.
What Causes Cancer
Cancer happens when the DNA is damaged. Apart from a dog inheriting it, certain environmental factors can expose dogs to the danger of developing cancerous cells. They include chemicals such as herbicides, insecticides, smoke, radiation exposure, viruses, additives and preservatives in dog food, as well as improper breeding.
Canine cancer is a condition affecting many dogs across the world. It is essential to look out for the symptoms of cancer in your dog. The importance of early detection cannot be overstated. If you suspect your pet is showing signs of cancer, you should visit the nearest vet.
Do not guess what your dog might be suffering from, or ignore any abnormal symptoms such as swellings or sores that do not clear up. A skilled vet will provide you with a conclusive analysis. If your dog has cancer, take the necessary treatment and curb the disease before it gets out of hand.