Skip to content

Healthy Dogs

Select An Article
Font Size

Dogs and Cancer: Get the Facts

A vet answers 10 commonly asked questions about cancer in dogs.
(continued)

continued...

Because mixed-breed dogs come from a much larger gene pool, they would be less likely to get genetic-based cancers. But that doesn’t do anything for spontaneous cancers or environmentally caused cancers.

 

Q: What can I do to help prevent my dog from getting cancer?

A: The biggest thing is spaying your dog. If you spay a dog before its first heat you’ll reduce the chance of mammary cancer eight-fold, just because of the hormonal influence.

Good oral care can help decrease oral cancers. And if you’re buying a purebred dog, check its line to see if there’s a specific kind of cancer in that breed’s line.

But overall, prevention is difficult because we don’t know the causes of most cancers. I think, rather than trying to prevent cancer, identifying it early and treating it quickly is the better strategy.

 

Q: If my dog has cancer, does that mean he’s going to die?

A: Absolutely not. Probably the majority of the cancers we see can be dealt with surgically. A lot of the breast cancers, a lot of the mast cell tumors, a lot of skin tumors, soft tissue sarcomas, many of those tumors can be removed surgically and are cured. Even in situations where they have advanced to a lymph node, there are options that can prolong your dog’s life and even cure him.

 

Q: What kinds of treatments are available for dogs with cancer?

A: We have pretty much all the options that are available to people. There’s surgery, obviously. Radiation therapy is available in about 40 facilities around the country. Chemotherapy has become commonplace. Now some places are even doing research and clinical treatment of patients with immunotherapy tumor vaccines, where we’re using the immune system to stimulate the destruction of the cancer.

 

Q: The FDA approved the first drug for treating canine cancer in dogs in June 2009. What other advancements will we be seeing in the treatment of canine cancers?

A: There have been several things, like the tumor vaccine I just mentioned. There is a new vaccine against oral melanomas, the most common oral tumor. Radiation therapy and technology is expanding so that the machines that we’re using can now treat brain tumors and nasal tumors and deep-seated tumors that previously we couldn’t access surgically.

Veterinary oncology has progressed amazingly in the past two decades. Twenty years ago, most people didn’t even know dogs got cancer. Today it’s common to find people whose dogs have been treated for cancer. There are so many more facilities for treating canine cancer now, and there are veterinarians who do nothing but treat cancer.

 

Q: What does it cost to treat a dog with cancer?

Next Article:

Today on WebMD

bulldog in party hat
Breeds with longevity
Doberman Pinscher Clipped Ears
The facts about ear cropping and tail docking.
 
dog with duck in mouth
Which are considered smartest?
boxer dog
What are their health issues?
 
Pit bull looking up
Article
Pets: Is My Dog Normal
Slideshow
 
Dog scratching behind ear
Slideshow
dog catching frisbee
Slideshow
 

Love your pets, hate your allergies?

Get tips for relief.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Dog Breed RMQ
Quiz
Lady owner feeding dog
Slideshow
 
pooldle
Slideshow
bulldog in party hat
Slideshow