What are some common types of cancer in dogs?

There are a lot of different types of cancers in dogs, but the most common type that we see are skin tumors: mast cell tumors, melanomas, and sarcomas. Also, tumors of the different reproductive organs. The most common type is carcinoma, and we also see a lot of bony cancers like osteosarcoma.

Dr. Meagan Darby
Hebron Animal Hospital

What are some signs and symptoms of dog cancer?

One of the biggest signs of cancers in dogs is a tumor that you can sometimes see and sometimes it's internal, especially if it's rapidly growing or if there is unexpected weight loss. If you notice your pet is drinking an excessive amount of water, that's another clear sign.

Why is early detection diagnosis of cancer in canines so important for these guys?

The earlier we detect the cancers, the more chance that we can intervene and potentially lengthen the lifespan of your pet or even get them to the point where they're in remission.

How will a veterinarian like yourself diagnose cancer in a dog?

It depends on the location. We can do a biopsy, which is either with a needle or sometimes we'll actually remove the mass and send it off under anesthesia. If it's something that's more internal, we'll have to do more diagnostics with X-rays or ultrasound.

What are some treatment options that are available for dogs with cancer?

Surgical removal is the number one treatment option for most types of cancers. Sometimes we can consider chemotherapy. With dogs, we're not going at such high dosages as you see with humans, so a lot of times you don't see as many side effects.

What are some side effects caused by cancer treatments?

Some of the cancer treatments, especially chemotherapy, can cause an increased risk for infection, appetite changes, and changes with their hair coat. Rarely they can get a really low neutrophils, which are really important for the immune system.

Are there any kind of tumors that cannot be removed?

If tumors are too large to remove safely and still be able to close the tissue around it, or if there's really important tissue next to it, like important stomach or blood vessels, that'll limit our ability to remove the tumor.

Are there any advancements in the treatment of dog cancer coming out on the horizon?

There's a new type of radiation, called stereotactic radiation, that can locate the radiation to a specific spot. This might be an option for your pet. Another type of treatment option is they're coming out with vaccines for certain skin tumors like sarcomas, melanomas, mass cell tumors.

What should I know about end-of-life care in case the cancer is not treatable?

If the cancer is not treatable and if some of these diagnostic options are not an option for your pet or your family, talk to your veterinarian about quality of life signs and things that we can do to keep your pets comfortable and happy during their final days.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 349-1020, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram