Who would have thought that cancer would become the leading cause of death in dogs over 10-years old. Cancer simply means that certain cells are reproducing faster than normal. Older cells in the cancerous area are not dying off like they should which is why they can grow so fast. The good news is if it is caught early enough, some can be cured. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help catch it early so a proper treatment can be administered, before it is too late.
Most Common Types Of Cancer In Dogs
The most common kind of cancer include:
- Malignant lymphoma – tumor of the lymph nodes
- Skin cancer – mast cell tumors
- Mammary gland tumors – breast cancer
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Soft tissue sarcomas
- Bone cancer
Learn The Warning Signs
The warning signs in dogs are quite similar to those in people. You might notice a bump on the skin or a lump. Perhaps a wound is not healing properly or there might be a swelling of some sort such as in the lymph nodes, under the arm or abnormal bleeding. Many times, there are no signs but there might be something about your dog that isn’t quite right. They might become lethargic or just don’t feel well. That is the best time to bring it to the attention of your veterinarian. Watch for any of the following warning signs:
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- Change in your pet’s elimination habits
- Difficulty defecating or urinating
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Any unexplained discharge or bleeding
- Offensive odor
- Persistent stiffness
- Difficulty breathing
- Repeated vomiting
- Persistent cough
Cancer rates in dogs and pets in general have increased simply because they are living longer with great care and attention by their owner(s). Years ago, dogs often died from a common illness or hit by a car but today the vaccines are quite effective plus more are living indoors. They are simply living longer. A cancer diagnosis is no longer an automatic death sentence.
Natural Remedies For Cancer In Dogs
If the cancer is found early, it can usually be treated with surgery to remove it and your pet can live a long, healthy life with a little extra attention. If you are an advocate of natural treatments, then most of you will want to avoid steroids, radiation and chemotherapy. These treatments rarely prolong survival, dish up plenty of side effects and can cost thousands of dollars. A calm state of mind and spending time with your pet in nature, can also greatly help the healing process.
If your dog is older and the tumor is growing slowly, it may not require immediate treatment, as long as it is not causing any pain or discomfort. Many times your dog might pass from other age-related issues before cancer becomes a problem for them. Regular exercise can be done on a daily basis that is good for both of you.
The folks at rescueme.org have developed a special diet that contains ingredients that have been proven to slow down the growth rate of cancerous tumors. They point out that it is not the cancer itself that hurts your pet; rather it is the fast rate of growth of the tumor or the side effects of cancer treatments that can kill your dog.
The Cancer-Prevention Diet
The cancer-prevention diet revolves around a high-protein, grain-free meal that is most similar to their wild counterparts. Companies such as Sojos offer grain-free based, dehydrated foods that are convenient and easy to serve up to your dog. For a 60-pound dog, mix together the following:
- 2 cups of dry Sojos Grain-Free Complete (Beef or Turkey – or you can mix them)
- 3 cups of water to soak the dry food
- ¼ pound of ground turkey breast – raw
- ¼ cup of plain, organic yogurt
- 2 teaspoons of Health From The Sun – Pure Fish Oil
- ¼ teaspoon of organic green tea
- 1 Brazil nut – finely chopped
Supplements For Your Dog
- Yunnan Baiyao
- Xiao Chai Hu Tang Wan
- Enzymatic Therapy
- Milk Thistle
Dog Breeds Prone To Cancer
Some breeds are more prone to cancer than others. Anytime there is an inbred population, you have no idea what traits have been passed along. For example, Bernese Mountain dogs, Boxers and Golden Retrievers are more prone to cancer. Thought genetics plays a role, we cannot ignore toxins, chemicals and pollutants in the environment.
Cancer Prevention Tactics
- Like people, it is important to give them a line of defense with a good quality supplement that contains vital antioxidants that can help prevent free radicals (toxins, chemicals and pollutants) from attacking healthy cells in the body.
- Your veterinarian should examine any lump, mass or tumor for a proper diagnosis and treatment, especially if you notice any changes in the growth or mass.
- Breast cancer in dogs is highly preventable through spaying the animal. Spaying your animal before their first heat cycle can help prevent them from developing breast cancer later in life.
Written and approved by Dr. David L. Roberts, DVM