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Causes of cancer in dogs, signs, effects and the treatment of dog cancer:


It is still not known why cancer develops in dogs, but the cause is when one or a group of body cells spontaneously starts to divide and multiply. Some factors that may cause this such as viruses, toxins, hormones acting as triggers and genetic factors. Injured or abnormal tissue is at more risk of developing cancer, eg a fracture site may be more prone to develop a bone tumour.

Dog Cancer


The most common type of cancer seen in dogs is benign skin cancer. Benign dog cancers are unlikely to spread around the dog's body.

Malignant cancers will spread and cause disease elsewhere so should be diagnosed by your vet as early as possible so that appropriate treatment can be undertaken. Most will be surgically removed to prevent their spread.

Female dogs may develop cancer in their reproductive organs or breast tissues due to the oestrogen hormone acting as a trigger.

Male dogs with undescended testes are at risk of testicular cancer so should have this condition treated by their vet.

Older dogs may develop lipomas, fatty lumps that form a benign mass. These will feel soft, grow slowly and cause few problems.

The Drummer Boy
Whilst my four legged companion sat beside me I wrote a book which tells the story of The Drummer Boy. This novel is about the ghost of a Gordon Highlander Drummer Boy from the Battle of Waterloo who haunts a modern day army nurse.

Chapters take place in modern day Aberdeen, at the Noose & Monkey bar and restaurant as well as His Majesty's Theatre and Garthdee. Other scenes take place at Tidworth and during the Napoleonic War.

Read the first three chapters for free on most devices.

Flat Coated Retrievers Book

Flat-Coated Retriever (Comprehensive Owner's Guide) is a detailed flat coated retrievers book, published by Kennel Club Books, which will prove useful to any owner. Chapters include the history of the Flat Coat dog, advice on choosing a puppy, health care and training tips.

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Any tumour is occupying space that it should not and can have an effect on the rest of the dog's body. For example, chest tumours may cause difficulty in breathing to the dog or bowel cancers may cause bowel blockages. Untreated tumours may spread to other tissues and organs causing more problems throughout the dog's body.


The following could be signs of cancer in your dogs, or may be another sign of ill health and should be reported to your vet:
  • A change in your dogs urinary or bowel habits, appetite or water consumption.

  • Weight gain or loss should be reported to your vet.

  • Any limb abnormalities or a limp.

  • Lumps or bumps.

  • Any abnormalities around or in the mouth, eyes, nose or ears.


Early examination by your vet is recommended if you suspect dog cancer. Early treatment is key to successful management and treatment.

Most vets will want to take a biopsy of laboratory analysis to aid the correct diagnosis of dog cancer. Some may do this before proceeding to surgery, others may remove the tumour and send off a biopsy.

Chemotherapy may be prescribed by the vet for tumours that are unable to be surgically removed or after surgery. This may be in tablet or drip form. Chemotherapy side effects can include vomiting, diarrhoea, greater risk of acquiring infections due to the immune suppression, anaemia, blood loss and general weakness.

Radiotherapy may also be used for more aggressive tumours.

Sadly not all dog cancers and tumours are treatable and you may have to make the decision to put your dog to sleep to end its pain and suffering.

Read the health page.

Dog Portraits from Karla's Creative Capers

Free UK Delivery on Pet Portraits from photographs at Karla's Creative Capers who did the portrait on the left from a photo of my Lucy. The portraits are ready to hang on the wall and are of a high quality canvas. For full details see www.karlascreativecapers.co.uk

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