The bad news about canine cancer is that it’s a killer. The good news is that it’s often treatable if it’s caught in the early stages. There are many different kinds of cancer, but the following lists the most common signs of cancer in dogs. Get your dog to a vet as soon as possible if your dog is showing one or more of the following signs.
Changes in the skin
Your dog’s skin is often the first organ in the body to show signs of cancer. It’s good to examine your dog every day to note any skin changes, such as when you are brushing or petting your dog.
Usually, hard and immovable lumps are of more concern than soft ones that move easily with the skin. Older dogs often grow benign lumps, but these lumps should be checked out.
Minor wounds that will not heal or take far longer to heal than usual.
Strange colored spots suddenly appearing around the dog’s mouth.
A strange smell that your dog’s skin or body never had before. The smell comes back very soon after bathing.
Changes in the dog’s behavior
When dogs are sick, they act differently. These symptoms are not only common signs of cancer, but for many other illnesses.
Loss of appetite, all or just a part of the appetite. Dogs often lose their appetite in very hot weather, but if your dog has always been a chow-hound and suddenly turns his or her nose up at food, then call the vet.
Loss of weight because of the loss of appetite.
The dog seems apathetic or lacks interest in just about anything. Events that used to get the dog excited, such as the prospect of going for a walk, no longer evokes much of a reaction.
The once-reliable dog suddenly becomes incontinent. This can be due to nerve damage but also the dog may feel so bad that any movement, even to go outside, causes pain.
The least you need to know
You know your dog best, so you will be the best person to see any strange changes in your dog. Changes in weight, appetite, sleeping habits or skin problems are signs not to ignore. Even if your dog suddenly becomes incontinent, get it checked out. Cancer is incurable but treatable if caught early enough.