Cancer in Dogs: Signs/Symptoms, Types, Treatment and Cancer Therapies Cost

Cancer is likely one of the most painful diagnoses a dog owner can make. Cancer is considered as the leading reason for dog death. It will depend on the severity of its situation, to be curable or not. Specifically, if it is diagnosed and treated early, half of all tumors are curable, meaning that understanding the signs of cancer is essential.

Dog owners should always keep in mind that the risk of developing illnesses such as cancer is greater as our dogs get older. Based on the statement of Dave Ruslander, a veterinary oncologist, half of the pooches aged 10 and above develop a tumor at some point in time. Like humans, cancer in dogs is a real problem and affects individuals in the same manner.

You will learn more about dogs, symptoms, treatments, and many more in this article. I may not be a veterinarian or dog owner specialist, but I know I can help you to understand it by offering you comprehensive information. It may be at first confusing, but now it is essential for you to know how to spot cancer indications in dogs so that you can assist them as quickly as possible.

Cancer in dogs: What do you need to know about it?

According to the Drake Center, not all cancer in dogs will be noticeable, but it commonly appears as fleshy but solid lumps underneath their skin. Pooch owners usually discover cancer while bathing or petting their dog. 

Once you noticed a lump, it is advisable to consult your veterinarian about it…never do a personal diagnosis on your pet.p Early detection is always the key to help your dog survive. Therefore, it is vital that you always check your dog and have a regular veterinary checkup.

The vet will usually do a needle pulled to get a cancer sample of the cells if you told your veterinarian that you had noticed a lump below your dog. Through the cells, he will be able to examine to know what kind of cancer your dog has. However, since some types of cancer cannot be visualized, your vet will do a checkup by feeling it with touch.

What are the symptoms or signs of cancer in dogs?

Cancer in dogs is a very complicated condition. Usually, if a dog is suffering from cancer, the dog owner will notice big changes in her pet’s routine. There will be changes in their energy, mobility, and food intake. Some of you might think that it is just a change in mood, but these signs, if not taken seriously, could lead to a very serious condition. 

The warning signs of cancer in dogs are different from the structure in the body the tumor is attacking and what type of cancer it is. Like us humans, in doggies the symptoms of cancer are very similar to those of cancer patients who have a tumor. A bump or a lump, enlarged lymph nodes, a wound that doesn’t cure, lameness and an unusual bleeding form some classic warnings that we generally see in sick dogs. Some instances indicate little or no signs of animals who have cancer, at least in the early phases of the disease.

Some of the symptoms that you should know are: 

  1. Weight loss
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. Abnormal swelling
  4. Difficulty in eating like swallowing or drinking
  5. Odor
  6. Loss of stamina or energy
  7. Difficulty in breathing
  8. Difficulty in urinating or pooping

Veterinarians and dog specialists and trainers have always said that once you realize that your dog doesn’t feel well or show low energy, then the best approach is to consult a veterinarian. Their conduct may be caused by a severe problem like cancer. The more early you seek assistance, the better the opportunity of your dog’s survival.

As a pet owner, you should always be a keen observer. Some signs like unexpected weight loss or excessive leg licking could mean your pet is suffering from either cancer or bone tumor. 

You should know your pet’s routine and what they look like because sometimes, the signs are unnoticeable if you do not know much about your pooch.  

Types of cancer in dogs

Like what I said, dogs are susceptible to the same kinds of cancers people can have, and it could be treated as quickly as possible if they were arrested early. In general, many dogs are tumor-stricken. The most common kinds of cancer in dogs are:

  • 2. Mouth and Tumor of the Nose— once your dog has this kind of disease, you will realize that your pet has a mass in his or her gums, it will have trouble eating with abnormal bleeding and odor. Furthermore, the symptoms of nose cancer are bloating, swelling of the face, and breathing difficulty.
  • 3. Malignant Histiocytosis – big sport dog breeds are the ones that are most affected by this tumor. Unfortunately, there no reported treatment for this type of tumor. 
  • 4. Bladder cancer– some dogs breed are more susceptible to such tumor. Bladder cancer grows slowly and may not display warning signs for 3-6 months. In the meantime, bleeding and urinary obstruction are prevalent symptoms of this type of disease.
  • 5. Brain Cancer – unusual seizures or behavior could mean your dog might be suffering from a brain tumor. 
  • 6. Lymphoma – a swollen lymph node is the first sign of lymphoma. 
  • 7. Bone Cancer – one of the most common types of primary bone tumor is osteosarcoma. This kind of tumor occurs in many parts of the body. However, it mostly attacks the bones bordering the shoulder, knee, and wrist. It mainly affects older big dogs. 
  • 8. Mast cell cancer –this form of cancer can grow in almost any part of the body. It is frequently seen as a skin lesion. However some dog breeds are more susceptible than other pooches, such as boxers. Some people claim genetics may be responsible for this tumor of a pooch.

What are the treatments for cancer in dogs?

Treatment for the tumor of your pet will rely on the sort of cancer it has. The treatment will be determined by your vet. Usually, your veterinarian will suggest one therapy to help your dog survive, but sometimes they will also prescribe a combination of distinct cancer treatments for your pet, depending on how serious it is or how uncommon the type of cancer is. In some cases, the following are recommended by most veterinarians to pet owners:

  • Surgical removal of the cancerous tumor.
  • Radiation Therapy to kill the remaining cancerous cells.
  • Chemotherapy that can be administered topically, orally, subcutaneously, intravenously, intramuscularly, intracavitary, intratumorally. 
  • Stem cells for dogs that have been diagnosed with cancer in the blood.
  • Immunotherapy through getting an anti-cancer vaccination.

How much do cancer therapies for dogs generally cost? 

Though it is difficult to determine how much dog cancer therapies generally cost, most dog owners would say, treatment for cancer in dogs is either affordable, costly or very costly. 

Just like what human cancer patients experience when they undergo therapy, the medicine and the treatment for your dog’s condition could also be a pain in the pocket. The cost of the treatment and medicines for cancer in dogs depends on the type of tumor, and how severe it is. 

To know more about the cost of the treatment and medicines for your pooch’s condition, it is better to consult your oncologist or veterinarian because they could give a rough estimation of the cost. Mostly, vets layout a treatment plan for you, and this plan has a proposed price. Keep in mind that though your vet gives you a rate, many factors could affect the eventual price of the plan. 

Types of pet insurance

Pet insurance helps deal with this situation. Many kinds of insurance cover tumor therapies. However, you need to understand the rules and the conditions written on the pet insurance contract.

Pet insurance does not cover cancer treatment costs before, but that has changed. These are some of the well-known pet insurance that you could check:

  • 1. Nationwide. It is one of the biggest and famous pet insurance in the US. It has insurance plans for both cats and dogs. Adding on, it also covers cancer. 
  • 2. Trupanion. This has only one pet insurance plan. It has 90 percent reimbursement and has no spending limit. Trupanion covers many things like surgery, supplements, hospitalization, diagnostic examination, and medication. 
  • 3. Progressive. This pet insurer offers insurance through Pet’s Best. It covers hospitalization, medicines, surgery, accident, illness, injury, and cancer treatments.


It is no more a secret that cancer treatment is expensive, but as a dog owner, we can make sure that we introduce our dog to a healthy lifestyle and a healthy environment.

Knowing that most dogs breeds are vulnerable to cancer, pet owners should always make sure that they do regular check-ups.

Keeping a close eye to your dog’s routine and health and knowing them better is one of the best steps that you could do to ensure that they are healthy. Once you notice some changes, you better consult your veterinarian because early detection is the key to help your pooch survive. 

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