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Pet Cancer Awareness

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month - Know the signs for early detection.


Do you know what the top cancers in pets are, and can you recognize the early signs? One out of three dogs is diagnosed with cancer (National Canine Cancer Foundation). Early detection can lead to many dogs surviving cancer. The American Animal Hospital Association provides information this month on the most common forms of cancer in pets.

Mast Cell Tumors are generally found in senior dogs. If you see lesions on your dog's skin, this may indicate he or she has cancerous tumors and a vet visit is warranted asap.

  • Area of the body affected: immune system, skin, tissues.
  • Breeds most often affected: Beagles, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Labrador Retrievers, Schnauzers, mixed breeds.

Osteosarcoma is a form of cancer that attacks the bones. This type of cancer tends to affect large breeds and usually hits around four to seven years of age, and tends to hit male dogs more than females. If you see swelling and lameness, this may indicate bone cancer.

  • Area of the body affected: bones.
  • Breeds most often affected: Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retriever, Great Dane, Rottweiler.

Hermangiosarcoma (malignant hemangioendothelioma or angiosarcoma) unfortunately has little in the way of signs to be concerned about and one often doesn't know their dog has it until it is too late to treat it. Dogs that are often affected by hermangiosarcoma are large breed dogs.

  • Area of the body affected: blood vessels in most often the liver, heart and/or spleen.
  • Breeds most often affected: German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retrievers.

Melanoma, or skin cancer, moves quickly through the body and the sooner a dog is treated, the better their outlook is. Some common initial signs a dog may have melanoma are leaking eyes, sores around, or in, the mouth area, and swollen feet. Dogs that are older and that have dark pigment on their skin are more likely to develop melanoma.

  • Area of the body affected: skin.
  • Breeds most often affected: No specific breeds.

Lymphoma usually is first seen as swollen lymph nodes on a dog's neck or on the back of their knees. Typically dogs are affected around six to nine years old and this cancer is difficult to treat if not diagnosed early on.

  • Area of the body affected: lymphoid, and other types, of tissue. 
  • Breeds most often affected: Airedales, Basset Hounds, Boxers, Bull Dogs, Bull Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, Scottish Terriers.
There are many other types of cancers that can be found in dogs. The National Canine Cancer Foundation has a complete list on their site with more information on symptoms, breed incidence, and treatment.

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