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5 Warning Signs of Cancer In Dogs

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One of our long-time clients, Abigail, is dealing with cancer right now.  I’m currently taking care of her and her kitty sister Audrey.  Estimates are that 50% of dogs over age 10 will contract cancer.  As with us, early detection can go a long way toward successful treatment.

Since our dogs can’t talk to us to let us know they aren’t feeling well, here are signs to look for that your pet may be fighting cancer:

  • Swollen lymph nodes.  Although they’re scattered throughout the body, the easiest ones to find are behind your dog’s jaw or knee.  If they’re enlarged, it may mean lymphoma.  Biopsy is the method used to detect it.
  • Oral Odor.  Dogs that have an oral tumor may change their food preference from dry to moist food, or the way they chew food may change.  You may also notice a strong breath odor if your dog has an oral tumor.  CT scans are often used to detect oral tumors in dogs.
  • Chronic Vomiting or Diarrhea.  Any time your dog has unexplained vomiting or diarrhea that continues for more than 24 hours, take him to the vet to be checked out.  Tumors in the gastrointestinal tract can cause the digestive upset.  Ultrasound or endoscopy are common diagnosing methods for these types of tumors.
  • Chronic Weight Loss.  If your dog is losing weight, and you haven’t had him on a weight reduction program, it’s definitely a sign something is wrong.  This doesn’t always signal cancer, but it definitely needs to be checked out.
  • Lameness.  Large breed dogs with unexplained lameness may be suffering from bone cancer.  Radiographs are a common diagnosis method for this type of cancer.

There are many efforts under way to find a cure for cancer in pets.  Petco and Blue Buffalo have partnered and are working toward a goal of raising $1.5 million dollars to help find a cure for pet cancer.  For more information on this effort and more information and resources on pet cancer, go to

I’m doing all I can to make Abigail as comfortable as possible until her people return.  Let’s hope a cure is found soon for this terrible disease!


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