Dog cancer symptoms, what are they?
Cancer, the word itself strikes fear into the hearts of every one who hears the diagnosis for themselves or a loved one. What is Cancer really? Is it some evil entity that invades the body of a living being? Is it punishment for some wrong doing that someone has done? Is it caused by the Devil? Maybe there is another answer that science can prove…. there is actually. I will go over some dog cancer symptoms and give you some hope too.
Listen up! Our bodies and those of every living being, including plants, are made up of cells. Those cells are in a constant state of being created, growing and dying. When those cells get damaged in any way, they often begin to grow in ways that nature did not intend. Those mutant cells continue to grow if they are not stopped. That is where another kind of cell, called T-cells comes into the picture. The job of the T-cells, also called Killer cells, is to destroy any damaged cells, to prevent mutation. Cool huh?
Things go very wrong
It’s a very complicated system and but I hope my simple description gives you a bit of an idea. Why do dogs get cancer? Our pets are just as vulnerable as we humans are, maybe more so. The dog foods that many (I would say most) dogs are forced to eat, are unhealthy and often full of toxins. After you’ve read this post, check out my pages on dog food starting with Dry Dog food. Dogs, and all living beings, require anti-oxidants in the diet, to combat the damage being done to our cells. Plants are loaded with anti oxidants, some more than others.
I will include a short video here on cell division.
If you have had dogs or cats as long as I have, (about 48 years worth of dogs and cats), then you will have had some that died of cancer. I have had 3 dogs that were diagnosed with cancer, two died of their cancers and one was healed. Cancer in dogs generally begins around age 5 in a dog, some as early as 3 years old. Some cancers grow slowly and insidiously, before taking life away.
What are the symptoms of cancer in dogs?
Some cancers show themselves early with lumps and sores, others grow and mutate quietly deep inside the body until there is a point of no return. The external lumps are the easiest to deal with, as they can be successfully cut out in most cases, giving the patient more time. However, the lumps are a symptom of a more serious problem, and that is the inability of the T-cells to destroy the damaged cells that are mutating. Lumps are a loud bell clanging and giving you warning of something very wrong. Sores that don’t want to heal and moles that grow and look sinister, are also danger signs.
Another sign is your dog losing weight, even though nothing has changed in the amounts you are giving your dog. Cancer cells are living though mutant cells and require lots of energy to survive and thrive. As the cancer grows, it requires more and more energy, taking energy away from the immune system. Feeding a dog with cancer, carbohydrates from starchy vegetables and grains, is like throwing gas on a fire. Cancer thrives on sugar, and starchy carbohydrates convert to sugar very quickly. Your dog will grow thinner and the tumors will grow larger.
The first dog that was taken by cancer
was our beloved Golden Retriever named Chelsea. She was the same age as our oldest son. We bought her at the age of 10 months when our son had turned 10 months. Chelsea grew up looking after our two sons, always gentle and always wanting to be where they were. For me, it was like I had three children, two human and one dog.
I loved her with the same fierce mother love that I had for my sons. Chelsea started showing some lumps, small ones along her mammary glands, actually inside her mammary glands. She was happy and seemingly healthy otherwise so we didn’t worry about it.
Chelsea would have been around age 7 or so, and as time went on, she developed a mole on her back that oozed pus. Our Vet cut out the troublesome mole but still the site did not heal. Another Vet had to do another surgery to clean up the incision and finally it did heal. That Vet was surprised that a test had not been done (by the previous Vet) on the mole to determine if it was cancer. Chelsea was spending a lot of time sleeping which worried me a bit, but I was told that dogs of that age begin sleeping more. When I asked about cancer treatment for dogs, I was told there was really nothing that could be done.
Time marched on
and she developed a couple more of the small lumps in her mammary glands, still she seemed okay over all. The word cancer had drifted across my mind more than a few times but was rejected because I couldn’t bear the thought. Around the age of 11, Chelsea began to have seizures, was having some trouble walking and she was sleeping even more. A Vet check was inconclusive for anything that might have been causing it. The Vet doubted it was epilepsy at this late stage in her life but I was hoping that it was, because there were meds for that. Chelsea was given some meds to ease her seizures and for her anxiety.
We had planned a camping trip with our young sons, 11 and 9 respectively, and with my parents agreeing to pet sit our beloved dog, we went ahead. We left on a Thursday, and were due back on Sunday. I felt something was very wrong with Chelsea and hated to leave her behind. She had been going camping with us for some years. Our kids had some fun that weekend, but I was miserable, worrying about our dog. When we arrived back home, I headed straight for my parents home to collect Chelsea. I knew my fears were justified when my parents told me that Chelsea had been anxious the entire weekend with more seizures.
That Sunday night, Chelsea collapsed with a grand mal seizure to the point she emptied her bladder and bowels. After that seizure, Chelsea was so weak, that she couldn’t walk. We cleaned her up, called the Vet and made an appt for Monday morning. I knew, in my heart, that she was dying and it was killing me softly. My husband and I decided to make her comfortable on a mattress on the floor, and set ourselves up to sleep there with her. Sometime during the night, Chelsea passed away. I woke up at 3 am to discover she was no longer breathing.
I can honestly say
that was the worst day of my life, and I had had plenty of bad days to compare it with. To describe it, would be to say that I felt like someone had reached in and grabbed a fistful of my heart, and simply just ripped it out. I felt like I had a hole, gaping and bleeding. I sobbed for three days, until I had no tears left. Even for a year after that, tears would come easily when the subject of Chelsea came up.
I always wondered what had killed her, as the Vet had never given us a diagnosis and the tests were incomplete. My education in Cancer had begun then, whether I realized it or not. This was before the marvels of the Internet, so researching anything had to be done through books, magazines and other literature.
A year after her passing, another dog walked into our lives, literally came walking through our door with my youngest son who was 10 years old. My son told me the dog, a Siberian Husky, came running over to him when he and his brother got off the school bus. I was not impressed, as I was not ready, or so I thought, to allow another dog to take over all of our hearts. By this time, I had begun my Pet Hotel business in the basement of our home, and had 4 comfortable kennels built in a room designated for it. It was the dead of winter, and I didn’t want to put the dog outside, so I popped him into one of the kennels in the basement.
To make a long story short
we adopted this dog and named him Gus. Our sons soon developed a strong love for our new dog, and my heart was completely lost as well. I began to heal from the loss of Chelsea, and happiness reigned in our home. Our happiness was soon cut short however. A little over 2 years after adopting Gus, he began favoring one of his hind legs and developed diarrhea around the same time. A powerful antibiotic and a special diet stopped the diarrhea but the tenderness in one hind leg persisted. Our Vet at the time told us that Gus had inflamed anal glands along with the diarrhea, that would more than likely be causing his limping. However, the word cancer popped up again…it couldn’t be..
Xrays were done and the Vet noticed some abnormal shading in the bones of the favored hind leg. The Vet told us she strongly suspected a type of aggressive bone cancer that would give us 9 months more with our dog, at most. Her recommendation to me was that when it was confirmed, Gus should be ‘put down’ immediately. The Vet’s reasoning was why prolong the suffering? I remember being angry at her recommendation. She suggested that we have a bone biopsy done to be sure. The only qualified Vet for that procedure was in another city.
The appointment was made, and a week or so later, we were gathered in the office, only to hear the dreaded words… bone cancer…6-9 months left to live, more if we had his leg amputated… maybe 18 months on 3 legs. The biopsy itself was hundreds of dollars, and amputation was going to push that number up to over $1000. This was about 20 years ago, a lot of money for a family with a mortgage and an overdraft on our chequing account.
Again, to make this painful story shorter… I will tell you more about our wonderful dogs in other posts, we chose not to torture Gus further with more surgery. He was absolutely miserable after the biopsy, and the last thing we wanted was to cause more misery with another procedure. 11 months later, we had our hearts broken again when with the Vet’s assistance, Gus passed away.
My education with Cancer
was increasing with each painful loss. During this time, I was throwing myself into my new business, grooming dogs and growing my Pet Hotel into a profitable home business. The surety that Chelsea had been taken by cancer was confirmed for me through a little Poodle that I took care of one weekend. This little dog had the same small lumps along her mammary glands, and her owner told me that the dog had been having seizures. Shortly after that weekend, I received a phone call from the owner, telling me that their little poodle had died. Her seizures had become worse just before her death. The Vet’s diagnosis was cancer, spread from the glands to the brain. The symptoms were identical to what Chelsea had.
So far we had seen lumps and sores with seizures, inflamed anal glands, diarrhea and tenderness in a leg, in our experience with Cancer. My education was not over….
A search on the Internet has presented these symptoms for cancer…..
- sores that don’t want to heal
- moles that grow and ooze
- unexplained tenderness in a limb
- trouble breathing
- trouble urinating or defecating
- suddenly being unable to walk
- a very bad body odour
- loss of weight
- loss of appetite
If your dog has at least three of the above symptoms, I would be very concerned about Cancer. Of course other diseases can have some of these symptoms too. Concerning the subject of Dog cancer symptoms, I will continue my story in the next post….. I promise it is a happier one.
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