45% Of Elderly Dogs Develop Cancer. Here’s 9 Signs To Help You Detect It

Andrea A.
29/10/2015

Cancer is like the plague for dogs. It’s the most common cause of death. After reaching 10 years old, your dog has a 1 in 2 chance of being affected. Even though our treatments are improving, the earlier we detect it the better we are able to treat it.

Because we don’t have a sixth sense that lets us detect cancer in dogs, here are the 9 precursory signs that you should make yourself aware of.

1. “Lumps” under the skin.

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SourceBeware if you feel lumps or growths under your dog’s skin while stroking them. Usually, they are situated under the jaw or behind their knees. In females, they are also found around the mammary glands. And in males, they are found in their testicles. 

Don’t panic, not all ‘lumps’ are cancerous tumours, they could be cysts. If you are in doubt, it’s better to get a professional’s opinion.

2. A dry cough.

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SourceIf your dog is old and they cough a lot, it’s a bad sign. Like humans, this could mean lung cancer. This is more likely if they’re suffering from a dry cough. Take them to see your vet.

3. Bad doggy breath.

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SourceMouth tumours are among the most common. If your dog’s breath is becoming unbearable even when you haven’t changed their diet, inspect their mouth.  Of course, the best thing to do would be to get them examined.

Often, this type of tumour is a nuisance when it comes to eating. You should also be wary if your dog has suddenly become addicted to soft foods and doesn’t want to eat their dog biscuits.

4. Weight gain in their stomach area.

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SourceIf you notice an abnormal amount of weight gain, especially on their stomach, it could be a tumour. It could also be a sign of internal bleeding. In any case, they must get an X-ray quickly.

5. Weight loss.

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SourceIs your dog getting thinner despite not being on a diet? Could be bad news. But don’t panic because lots of things could explain this weight loss. But one thing is for sure: most dogs (and humans) affected by cancer lose weight. Therefore, it’s something you should bear in mind.

6. Chronic vomiting or diarrhoea.

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SourceIntestinal tumours often produce these types of symptoms when they develop. Despite there being many possible causes, vomiting and diarrhoea are certainly not to be taken lightly. The vet may decide to carry out an ultrasound or an endoscopy to find out more.

7. Limping or crawling.

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SourceBig dogs are more inclined to getting bone cancer. During the first stage of the illness they suffer from a lot of pain. If your dog hardly moves, limps or crawls when he walks, you need to have the painful area x-rayed.

8. They have trouble urinating.

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SourceBladder cancer is common among elderly dogs. One of the first signs is when your dog has difficulty urinating. In this case, don’t hesitate to get them examined.

9. Bleeding for no reason.

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SourceIf your dog hasn’t been in an accident or a fight and is bleeding (from the nose, gums etc...) or if you are finding blood in their urine, immediately take them straight to your vet. The causes also vary here, but some cancers manifest themselves in this way.

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