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Can Dogs Get Cancer? Symptoms And Treatment

Can Dogs Get Cancer? Symptoms And Treatment
Can dogs get cancer

The bond between a dog and it’s owner is unbreakable. The last thing we ever want is to see our furry friends suffer. Unfortunately, sometimes we have no choice. Clearly, we already know that dogs can have many diseases that we as humans can get too. Such as heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy… Therefore many dog owners might worry if dogs can have cancer? Sadly, the answer is yes.

In fact, dogs can suffer from different types of cancer. But one thing you need to keep in mind is that a cancer diagnosis isn’t a death sentence. Thankfully, there are plenty of options out there for treating cancer.

Cancer is caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. It can also spread to other parts of the body, causing even more damage. Also, cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10.

The most common types of cancer dogs can get:


Hemangiosarcoma is a tumor formed from cells that line blood vessels. This type of cancer occurs more often in middle aged or elderly dogs. Also, it’s more common in large dog breeds. It develops slowly and doesn’t cause any symptoms at first. By the time symptoms start showing, the cancer is already well developed. That’s why most hemangiosarcomas aren’t diagnosed in time. Unfortunately, treatment is ineffective if the tumor is in it’s advanced stages.


Lymphoma appears as swollen glands that can be felt under the neck, behind the knee, or in front of the shoulders. This isn’t the only way lymphoma can appear. Sometimes it also affects glands inside the body. Such as the glands in our abdomen. Luckily, this type of cancer is treatable if diagnosed in time.


Osteosarcoma is the most common type of primary bone cancer in dogs. It’s actually the most common one in humans too. We find this tumor most commonly found in longer bones. Such as arm or leg bones. It mostly affects elderly dogs, especially larger dog breeds. The most common symptoms are pain, swelling over the area of the affected bone and lameness in the affected leg or arm.

Bladder Cancer

This type of cancer develops slowly and symptoms start to show after six months. The most common symptoms are urinary obstruction and blood in urine. If your dog’s pee seems to be colored red, contact your vet immediately.

Mammary Carcinoma

About half of all mammary tumors are malignant. They are especially common in non-spayed female dogs. Surgical treatment can be successful if the tumor has not spread to other parts of the body. However, prevention is the best treatment. Therefore one way to minimize the chances of this cancer is spaying.

Malignant Histiocytosis

Malignant Histiocytosis manifests as localized lesions in the spleen, lymph nodes, lungs or bone marrow. They can also occur as multiple lesions in different organs. Sadly, there still isn’t any effective way for treating this tumor.


Melanoma is cancer of the skin. However, it doesn’t affect the skin directly but instead affects melanocytes. These are the cells producing our skin pigment. This cancer is especially common in dogs with darker skin. Tumors usually occur in hairy spots as a small and dark lump. However, it can also appear in different forms, such as large and flat masses. This cancer has the tendency to metastasize, which makes the treatment difficult.


Testicular cancer is especially common in unneutered dogs. It’s highly preventable by simply neutering your male dogs. The prognosis is, thankfully, also pretty good. In most cases it’s cured surgically. However, sometimes some additional treatment is required.

Symptoms of cancer dogs can get

The symptoms largely depend on the type of cancer that affects the dog. Some common ones are:

  • Lumps and bumps
  • Swelling
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Change in appetite
  • Lethargy or depression
  • Pain
  • Abnormal odors
  • Abnormal discharges from the eyes, mouth or ears
  • Depression
  • Coughing

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, contact your vet. Make sure to schedule an appointment immediately.


Undoubtedly, the only one who can diagnose cancer is a professional. Therefore, your vet will be the one diagnosing your dog. Schedule regular check ups for your dog. An early diagnosis will largely help the chances for treating the cancer. Treating cancer before it advances is key to successful recovery.


Treatments for dog cancer are relatively similar to human cancer treatments. The methods include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Holistic or herbal therapy

Combining methods is usually the best way for treating most tumors. Clearly, your vet will be the one deciding which type of treatment is the best.

If you want to know how long can a dog live with cancer, read this.