Watching for Signs that Might Point out Cancer in Dogs
It is an undeniable fact that dogs bring us so much joy. From lifting our spirits when we are feeling low to being such excellent companions, dogs can change our perspective about life. This is why we always hope for our dogs to be in perfect health. Unfortunately, dogs are susceptible to getting cancer. The best way to gain some control over this sad fact is by ensuring that you are always looking out for signs that might indicate that your dog has cancer.
In some instances, some dogs show outward signs such as having unusual growths and lumps. On the other hand, some dogs might have cancer but may not show immediate physical signs. This proves to be a challenge because dogs cannot communicate with their owners when they are experiencing pain or changes in their body. Consequently, it becomes our responsibility to have a keen eye so as to be able to observe unusual physical and behavioral changes in our dogs.
Physical Changes Caused by Cancer
As highlighted above, dogs might show certain physical signs associated with cancer. They include;
- Unexpected large growths
With cancer, there are high chances of developing cancerous tumors. These tumors can be observed as large growths on different parts of the dog’s body. If you notice a growth on your dog, it is crucial to promptly book an appointment with your veterinarian. The vet will be able to examine the dog and subsequently establish whether it has cancer or not.
- Presence of lumps under the skin
In addition to growths, small lumps are another physical sign of cancer in dogs. However, it is important to note that lumps might also be a result of aging. Even so, one should regularly look out for bumps that are abnormally growing in size. Also, if the dog is experiencing bleeding or discharge from that region, you should schedule a consultation with your vet.
- Unexplained weight loss
If your dog has maintained the same diet but continuously loses weight over the course of a few months, it might be an indication of cancer. This symptom is known as cachexia which translates to the weight loss or reduction in muscle mass due to various illnesses.
- Unusual odor
Whereas dogs might have an unpleasant smell at times, a persistent and strange odor is an early sign of an unhealthy dog. The smell might also be as a consequence of the tumors that mentioned earlier.
Emotional Changes in Dogs That Have Cancer
- Extreme fatigue
Dogs are mostly cheerful and playful. However, signs such as dullness, lack of enthusiasm and fatigue might be a mode of communication by the dog. If this does not change after a while, the prudent thing to do would be to have the dog checked out by a vet.
- Loss of Appetite
Dogs might lose their appetite from time to time. The first step that one should take when this happens is to change the dog’s diet. Try to introduce mild tasting dishes such as white rice and meat like chicken. However, if changing the diet does not do the trick, you should consider having the dog checked out by an animal care expert.
Parts of the Body That Should Be Given Special Attention
The first place that one should consider checking out for growths or lumps is on the dog’s skin. This is because despite having hair all over their skin, dogs are still under the threat of getting skin cancer. It is essential that you have your dog checked to see if it has tumors or small lumps.
Other than the skin, one should not neglect to check other areas such as the feet, eyes, and nose. You should also check around the dog’s mouth. This is essential seeing as dogs can be affected by skin cancers such as melanoma which results in lumps on the skin around the mouth.
Looking After Your Dog Post Cancer Diagnosis
Other than identifying abnormalities and changes in behavior, it is vital also to know the various treatments that are available for your dog. In addition, one needs to understand how to proactively look after the dog to ensure that they stay healthy. This might include having to provide your dog with a high-protein diet so that it can help with the weight loss.
In consultation with your vet, you will be able to come up with other effective methods of taking care of your dog. This will be determined in consideration of your dog’s breed and health status at that time. Your vet will provide you with medication that aims at preventing cancer from getting worse or spreading further. Surgery is generally reserved for extremely severe cancer cases. Having pet insurance might come in handy when it is time to pay for the treatment.
For more about canine cancer, check out the additional content available on our website.