The word ‘cancer’ sounds as catastrophic as the disease itself is. To define, you could refer it as a cluster of diseases in the body, in which there is an abnormal growth of cells in the body. These cells have the potential to spread and degrade the other parts as well.
Cancers are primarily characterized by tumors, though all the tumors are not cancerous. This disease spreads with the symptoms such as formation of lumps, uncharacteristic bleeding, protracted coughing, loss of body weight and irregular movement of bowels.
Where the disease is one of the most calamitous ones for the humans, it has a proper influence on the animals too. Our nurtured pets too, could get affected by this dangerous disease, which has the capability of taking their life within a short period of time.
While talking for dogs, a fact says that cancer is a major killer for your pets which are above the age of 10. Researches too prove that almost fifty percent of the pet dogs encounter some kind of cancer in their due life course.
In this, we would be discussing this burning topic on cancers, which would include the following aspects:
- The major types of cancers that affect the canines
- Causes of cancers in dogs
- Symptoms viewed while the dogs encounter cancer
- Preventing cancers in dogs
- Treatment of dogs with cancers
What Are The Types Of Cancers That Affect The Dogs?
The most common types of cancers encountered by the dogs are:
• Skin Cancers: cancers in the skin of dogs develop with the lumps or tumors that may be visible or not. Most of the visible lumps could be removed by surgeries. There may be some large tumors or tumors at certain places, where surgical option does not comes into play. These could certainly contain some cancerous cells which are capable of spreading to the other parts.
Biopsy is one of the treatments in the skin by which a destructive cancerous tumor could be destroyed, followed by surgery of the affected place.
• Breast Cancers: dogs visibly possess five breasts on each side of their stomach. Cancerous cells could hover in any of the breasts, which are characterized by the development of tumors in the body. About half of the tumors in breasts are not the causes of cancers while others could certainly affect the body.
These cancers could require the surgical removal of breasts from the body of pets, though it is first diagnosed through X-Rays etc.
• Leukemia: this is a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells in the body of dogs. It is a well-known fact that these cells are the main renderers of immunity in the body. The main culprit is a type of cell known as lymphocyte, which circulates in blood as well as the lymphatic system.
When lymphocytes are affected by the cancers, their number tends to multiply manifolds. Due to this, there could be an enlargement in the lymph nodes and there could be visible lumps on the throat area and other parts of the body.
Leukemia is generally the most critical of all the cancers as its treatment is highly complex.
Apart from these, other cancers which scarcely affect the dogs are Osteosarcoma, Mast Cell Tumor and Oral cancers etc.
What Are The Causes Of Cancers In Dogs?
There could be a hoard of causes due to which cancerous cells are developed in the body of pets. Some of these are as under:
- Prolonged ailments could be a cause of cancers in the body of dogs
- An imbalance in the naturally occurring enzymes in the body
- Environmental smoke from the industries, vehicles and tobacco
- Direct sunlight that is high in harmful Ultra-Violet rays, which could cause mutation in the cells of body
- Harmful chemicals if ingested with the food or linger on the skin
- Improper and unbalanced nutrition from the diet it follows
- Bacteria and viruses that attack the body of pets
- Consumption of heavy metals such as mercury and asbestos etc
- Canned foods could also be a cause of the cancers in dogs
What are the symptoms and effects on dogs that possess cancers?
One of the most prominent symptoms of cancers in dog is the presence of a lump. Though you dog is a low payer of attention towards itself, lumps could certainly affect its body. Other symptoms which may be perceptible on the body of pets are:
- Protruded body parts and skin masses
- Swelling in the legs, joints and muscles which hinder the process of its movement
- Impulsive bleeding which is also known as hemangiosarcoma.
- Paleness in mucus membranes
- Lymph node enlargement
- Lack of appetite
- Regular vomits
- Loss of body weight
These are some of the visible symptoms and effects that hover in the body of dogs, though there could be certain grave ones that could only be examined and found out by the vets.
Therefore, the pets that show these sorts of signals should be offered a vet examination as soon as possible.
Prevention Of Cancers In Dogs:
Though there are no confirmed methods by which you could help your dogs to prevent cancer, you could adopt the following methods to atleast stay away from it:
- The foremost step is spaying and neutering your dogs before they reproduce. This could prevent the development of cancer at least eight times more.
- Rigorous oral care should be offered to the pet regularly so that you could do away the chances of development of mouth and gum cancers in the dogs.
- Do not leave your dogs in direct sunshine, especially in the hot weather. The UV rays in the sun have the capability to develop cancerous cells in the body.
- Offer it a regular check-up from the vets. You could also get its blood tested to find out any increase in blood sugar or accumulation of infected lymphocytes. Remember! Prevention is better than cure.
- The most necessary step is a healthy and balanced diet which is highly natural. Too much use of canned food or artificial sources of kibbles may ingest hazardous chemical in the body of dogs. These chemicals are one of the prime causes of mutation and cancer-causing elements in the body.
Treatment Of Dogs Who Encounter Cancers:
Unfortunately, if your dog stumbles upon this perilous disease, there are hoards of treatment methods available to cure it. The treatment of a particular type of cancer may depend on the part of the body affected or its time of hover in the body.
A few of the most prominent types of treatments for cancers include:
Chemotherapy: chemotherapy for dogs is similar to that for the humans. It is a collective term that could be used to battle the disease with the help of medicines.
Dr. Joanne Intile, one of the successful oncologists in East End Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, New York says that chemotherapy could be offered to the dogs in many ways which include orally, with the IV fluids, topically, through skin absorption, through muscular absorption, directly into the tumor or into any cavity in the body.
Chemotherapy Could be of Three Types:
- Adjuvant: This involves medications after the tumor has been removed from the body of pets in the hope to prevent further spread of disease in the body of pets.
- Neoadjuvant: This involves medications to reduce the size of existing tumors.
- Induction: This involves the process of accelerating reduction for some specific cancerous cells that are born in the blood.
The most advantageous effect of chemotherapy in pets is that it does not offer any kind of side-effects to the body of dogs. While most of the dogs do not experience any change in the count of their hair, some specific long-haired dogs might experience slight thinness in their hair.
While the treatment is on, there could be chances when your dog experiences diarrhea and vomiting effects but these are easily curable at home. Severe reactions due to chemotherapy are rarely seen.
Despite of being highly effective, chemotherapy could have certain disadvantages too such as depletion of red and white blood cells in the body. The count of these is to be kept track of by the vet, who could change the dosage of medicines according to the needs.
Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy is a localized therapy, highly similar to the surgery. While chemotherapy spreads the medicine throughout the body, radiation therapy focuses on a particular part of the body.
This method is extremely useful for the tumors that are subjected near the critical parts such as brains and heart. The time taken to cure the dog with radiation method usually ranges between three to five weeks.
With the high advancement of science, cancer is not at all a disease that once got synonymous with the demise of a human being or animal. If your pet encounters cancer, be patient and offer it a scheduled treatment, so that it could get recovered and live again a happy life that once it led.