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Pet health issues: Common cancers found in dogs

Posted on: September 20th, 2010 by

By: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
A nurse tends to a sick dog.
Before I began working for a pet insurance company, I had no idea that animals could develop cancer. But I’ve recently learned that dog cancer is the cause of almost half of the deaths of dogs aged 10 years and older.

Much like cancer in humans, dog cancer symptoms will vary depending on the type of cancer that has developed in the dog. Cancer can cause a rapid decline in pet health and pets that show any unusual symptoms should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Although there are numerous types of dog cancers, there are four types that seem to affect pet health the most.

One of the most common is dog lymphoma. Lymphoma accounts for 10-20% of all cancer found in dogs and causes swelling of the lymph nodes. The most noticeable lymph nodes are located on the sides of the neck and inside the armpit area. When the lymph nodes are swollen, owners usually notice that something doesn’t look right on their pet.

Another common cancer found in dogs is skin cancer. Malignant (cancerous) tumors tend to grow fast and usually have an irregular shape. Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to skin cancer, as well as dogs that have light colored hair and spend a lot of time in the sun. If your dog is lighter in color, ask your veterinarian if he or she might be at risk for skin cancer.

Bone cancer is another form of cancer that can affect pet health in dogs. Bone cancer accounts for 5% of all cancers found in dogs. This type of cancer occurs in the limbs of dogs 75-85% of the time. Bone cancer is most common in older giant breed dogs. Limping is usually the first sign of bone cancer.

Breast cancer is another common cancer in dogs. Breast cancer is a unique pet health problem that it is almost 100% preventable. Spaying a dog before her first heat cycle can nearly eliminate her risk of getting breast cancer. One in four un-spayed dogs over the age of 4 years will develop breast cancer. Dog health insurance will help cover the cost of having your dog spayed, which can keep her from developing this devastating disease.

Dr. Jack Stephens, the pioneer of the pet insurance industry in the US and the president of Pets Best Insurance thinks the reason more pets are developing cancer is because they are living longer thanks to new developments in technology.

“Early detection and identifying the exact type of cancer is critical to determining which course of treatment should be taken,” Dr. Stephens said.

Dr. Stephens suggests giving special attention to dog health care and finding out which cancers are most common in your pet’s breed so you will know what to look for.

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