Humans aren’t the only species faced with the threat of cancer. Dogs can also develop several types of cancer, resulting in life-threatening conditions that seem to arise out of nowhere.

While some of the types of cancer dogs can get are the same as those affecting humans, the most common cancers among the two species differ—and when it comes to treating cancer in dogs, owners may have to make tough decisions regarding the development of a treatment plan for their pet.

Here’s a look at the most common types of cancer in dogs and tips to identify cancerous growths and get connected with treatment options.

7 Common Types of Dog Cancer

Certain types of cancer are more prevalent in dogs than they are in humans. Here are seven of the most common types of dog tumors:

  • Lymphoma. This cancer affects your dog’s immune system and can cause cancer bumps on dogs to develop on the lymph nodes. While lymphoma may be the most common cancer in dogs, the reason for this high occurrence rate isn’t well understood.
  • Bone cancer. Several types of bone cancer, including aggressive and painful osteosarcoma, can develop in your dog’s limbs and result in sudden lameness and/or injuries brought on by weakened bone structures.
  • Oral cancer. Oral tumors can develop in the skin, gums or bone in the mouth and may require a surgical procedure to remove the tumor and possibly part of the mouth. These tumors are relatively easy to spot thanks to their visibility and the development of other symptoms, including excessive drooling and/or an unpleasant odor.
  • Soft-tissue sarcoma. These cancers can develop inside or outside the body. On the outside, these cancer bumps on dogs can be spotted in their early stages. Sarcomas developing inside the body, such as inside the chest cavity, are more difficult to identify until they’ve already grown large.
  • Mast cell cancer. Mast cell tumors typically develop on a dog’s skin and can be identified early on—although the characteristics of these tumors vary widely, making it difficult to identify mast cell cancer without diagnostic tools.
  • Mammary cancer. While mammary cancer can be very common in female dogs that aren’t spayed, spaying significantly reduces the chances of this cancer’s development.
  • Lung cancer. Older dogs may develop a dangerous and fast-spreading form of lung cancer that in many cases offers a grim prognosis. Coughing and difficulty breathing are among the most common signs of this cancer.

While this list represents some of the most common cancers affecting dogs, it is not comprehensive, and other types of cancerous tumors could develop on your dog.

Identifying a Cancer Growth On a Dog

The best outcomes for treating and eradicating cancer come when you’re able to identify and treat this condition early. While it’s sometimes difficult to tell a cancerous tumor on a dog apart from a fatty deposit, common in many dogs especially as they age, certain identifying marks and signs can help dog owners decide if a growth requires further evaluation.

The following signs and symptoms may indicate a cancer growth:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • A lump that changes shape or size
  • Unexplained lameness
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Chronic vomiting, bleeding or coughing
  • Other unexplained physical changes

Remember that the location of a tumor may make it hard to identify without diagnostic and imaging tools. If you notice other medical or behavioral changes in your dog and suspect they may be the result of a tumor, schedule a visit with your vet.

How to Find Dog Cancer Treatment Near Me

If your dog has been diagnosed with cancer, your local veterinarian can make a referral to a specialized clinic that can help you develop a custom cancer treatment plan for your dog. Some vet offices may also offer in-house cancer treatment services, so it’s best to start this search by collaborating with the vet that already provides care for your dog.

If you haven’t received a diagnosis but are concerned about a potentially cancerous growth, make an appointment with a local veterinarian to have the growth inspected. It’s possible the growth only appears to be cancerous and is not actually a threat to your dog’s health. However, if the tumor is cancerous, a vet will need to evaluate the growth to determine what type it is. This will dictate the next steps in treatment—and may affect where you go to develop a treatment plan for your dog.

Cancer can be a scary medical diagnosis for dogs and their owners—and treatment can be challenging for everyone involved. While the road ahead may be unknown, you can improve your dog’s prognosis by connecting them with medical experts who can develop a custom treatment plan and guide you through this uncertain process.

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