|Some signs can be subtle.|
While you can’t prevent your dog from getting cancer, you can educate yourself about early warning signs. As with humans, early detection is key. Here are the top 10 warning signs of cancer in dogs, courtesy of petMD.
1. Coughing or difficulty breathing
Although typically symptoms of heart and lung disease, coughing and abnormal breathing can also indicate cancer. This symptom will most likely occur if cancer in your pet's body has metastasized into his or her lungs.
2. Lethargy and depression
Dogs with cancer tend to suffer from depression and sleep more, become less playful, and be less willing to go for walks. Although lethargy or depression can set in with any illness, it is commonly seen in pets that have cancer.
3. Changes in bathroom habits
Any changes in your pet's bathroom habits including difficulty using the bathroom, frequent bathroom use, and blood in urine or stools are potential warning signs that cancer may have developed.
4. Abnormal discharges
Discharges such as blood, pus, vomit, diarrhea, and any other abnormal substance excreted from your dog's body should be checked out by a veterinarian immediately. A bloated or distended stomach could also be a sign of internal discharge.
5. Evidence of pain
Limping or other evidence of your dog in pain when s/he is active, or if the pain is too great for them to be active, can be indications of cancer of the bone.
6. Abnormal odors
Foul odors from any of your dog's orifices and/or body parts may be a cause for concern. Cancers of the mouth, nose, or anal regions can cause your pet to emit offensive odors.
7. Lumps and bumps
Not every lump or bump is necessarily cancerous, but consulting with your vet is the only way to be sure. If the lump is growing or not resolving itself, contact your vet and s/he will do a biopsy to determine the contents of the bump.
8. Weight loss
Sudden weight loss in dogs not on a diet can be an indicator of many diseases and illnesses. If coupled with another warning sign of cancer, you schedule an appointment with your vet right away.
9. Change in appetite
While a lack of appetite can be an indicator of many things, dogs never stop eating without a cause. A decrease in appetite can indicate an oral tumor, which would make it painful and difficult for your dog to eat and swallow.
10. Non-healing wounds
Lacerations or sores that do not heal within a normal time range on the surface of your dog's body may indicate infection, skin disease, or possibly cancer.
Keep in mind that no single sign is indicative of cancer alone, but if notice two or more signs, take your dog to the vet for a complete check-up.