Monday, June 13, 2011

Canine Cancer And Its Impact on Dog Health

Dog cancer tends to have a variety of impacts on the health of the dog which results with many types of canine diseases. Cancer is an emerging health issue and is of great importance since it is life threatening in most cases. Some dogs are genetically predisposed to it while others may acquire it from pathogens (disease causing), toxins, drugs and as a complication of some common health problems.

Canine cancer symptoms are highly non specific and resemble many common health problems in the initial stages of the disease. Unfortunately, once the cancer is identified as the cause it is often incurable; such it will be in a more advanced stage. Both benign (slow spreading) and malignant (fast spreading) forms of such cancers can be result in severe symptoms, benign tumors are less dangerous.

Clinical studies show that the symptoms are exhibited in two different phases, initially mild, while recurring and severe in advanced stages. All these symptoms are only helpful in suspecting that cancer is the cause and not that helpful. Only detailed laboratory and pathological sampling can confirm the presence and extent of the disease. Along with specific treatment through surgery, chemotherapy and the application of radiation, symptomatic therapy can help in improving the quality of the affected dogs. Incurable dogs are usually kept on life long symptomatic treatment plans only.

Generally, a dog with cancer appears dull, non social, anorexic (appetite loss), ataxic (uncoordinated muscle movement), intolerant and gradually loses weight. Any of these symptoms usually do not help in making a confirmatory diagnosis, as these symptoms may be seen in many other health problems of dogs. Involvement of a specific part, system or organ of the body can help to some extent to suspect dog cancer as the underlying cause.

The Veterinary Cancer Society publishes a helpful list of common cancer symptoms in small animals. These include:

1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
2. Sores that do not heal
3. Weight loss
4. Loss of appetite
5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
6. Offensive odor
7. Difficulty eating or swallowing
8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
10. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

Systemic Symptoms:

Canine cancer can appear at any part of the body, and can be caused by any number of factors as pathogens such as viruses, high doses or prolonged use of some drugs, extreme defects in physiology etc. Age is a significant factor in the development of dog cancer.

Different organs/systems such as the bladder, liver, pancreas, intestines, lungs, spleen, mammary glands, testes or bone marrow can be the site of a dog cancer. Similarly the lymphatic system, musco-skeletal system, circulatory system and urinary system are the most commonly affected parts of a dog's body almost all types of malignant forms of cancer. Lymphomas (lymphatic tissue), hemangiosarcomas (bleeding in the heart, liver, spleen and skin), osteosarcomas (bone) are some examples of such deadly dog cancers.

Specific dog cancer symptoms that are related to affected organs or systems are sometimes helpful in making a diagnosis. Difficulty in urination, abdominal pain, bleeding through open cavities (ears, nose, anus etc), unusual growths and lumps on the dog's body which grow larger with time, recurring vomiting, incurable diarrhea etc. are somewhat specific signs for dog cancer.

One most common finding which lead to the suspicion of a dog cancer is the recurrence and incurability of symptoms, even if symptomatic treatment has been applied. Ulcers are the best example, which are related to abdominal pain. Ulcers that recur even after symptomatic treatment, can cause the passing of blood into the feces and may develop into an incurable malignant form of dog cancer.

Cancer Symptoms Requiring Emergency Treatment

• Your dog has collapsed
• Bleeding after receiving chemotherapy
• Loss of appetite while undergoing treatment
Canine Cancer Symptoms Requiring a Call or visit to your Veterinarian
• Skin - Sores, bumps, lumps
• Leg - Large breed with swelling or a limp
• Seizure - In older dog that has a seizure (uncontrolled shaking) for the first time
• Nose - blood coming from the nose
• Mouth - Lump, bump or growth
• Breast - lump or swelling

Battle Cancer is a site for dog cancer and Canine cancer which helps dog fight against cancer.

Canine Cancer And Its Impact on Dog Health by Pratibha Suyal.



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