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Common Signs of Cancer in Dogs

 Submitted by Michael Adams on November 30, 2009

Cancer in Dogs: Often, as your dog gets older, you tend to get used to its slower reflexes, lethargic movements and long naps. However, sometimes these signs needn't just be an indication of ageing; these could also be the early signs of an illness. Cancer is one such illness or disease that strikes dogs with pretty much the same frequency as it does humans.

In fact, statistics say that the odds are higher when it comes to dogs. But, before you press the panic button, not all cancers are deadly, several times it's benign. In fact, in canine terms it is called neoplasia, which literally means new growth.

How to spot it? Unfortunately, in the case of dogs, you will have to be extra vigilant to spot the signs as your pet is not going to give in to weakness or show any symptoms unless it is acute or severe, by which time, it's possible, the problem could have aggravated. In the case of dogs, if spotted early, cancer is absolutely curable. The signs and symptoms of cancer vary, depending on where the cancerous tumor develops but some general indications of cancer include weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stools or urine, constipation, and loss of appetite. Also, if you notice a lump in your dog’s body that is growing and changes shape or color as it grows, or if there are sores on your dog's body that don't heal, and if your dog seems to be having difficulty breathing, all these could be indications of cancer. Of course, these could also be indications of some other infection or illness but one thing's for sure, if you spot one or more of these symptoms, it's time to consult a veterinarian and conduct a thorough physical check up. Some specific symptoms of different types of cancer include: Lymphoma: This is a cancer in the lymph system and this affects the animal's immune system. Typical symptoms of this cancer are lethargy and swollen lymph nodes. Abdominal cancer: Cancerous tumor in the abdomen causes weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting and usually this causes the abdomen to swell. Bone cancer: Large breeds of dogs are susceptible to this and this causes excruciating pain. So, if your pet has this cancer, it might limp or be extremely lethargic due to the pain. Testicular cancer: If your dog has been neutered you needn't worry about this. The obvious sign is a lump or growth in the testicular area. Mammary cancerous tumors: These affect the breast tissue in unsprayed female dogs. The most obvious symptoms is a lump or swelling in the mammary tissue. Skin cancer: This is also common among dogs. Here too, if you spot any lump or swelling, get it checked immediately. In all, even though the symptoms differ, one thing is for certain, any lump or swelling in your pet's body needs to be checked thoroughly. Get the vet to run tests as early as possible. Even if it isn't cancer and some other disease, it's always best to spot them early so you can have a stab at treating them.
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