Common Types of Cancer in Dogs | Causes Symptoms Diagnosis Treatment


Why you should know Common Types of Cancer in Dogs?

Dogs can get a wide variety of cancer. There are nearly one hundred types of cancers in dogs. cancer can come in almost any organ especially kidney, liver, and the can come on dogs skin, into the heart and it can actually come into joints and even the long bone of dogs. If you are a dog owner it is really important that you understand and familiar with all types of cancer in dogs.

Types of Cancer in Dogs

What is cancer?

Cancer (neoplasia) is a transformation of normal cells into abnormal malignant cells, and it can take many forms. Some involve solid masses, or tumors, while others involve the blood or bone marrow in leukemia. Cancer can develop in virtually any organ or body system.

So what are the different types of cancers out there? Well, this article will give you a list of cancers, and I don’t go into all the specific symptom, diagnosis, and treatment details. I am in the process of writing an article for each of the cancers listed bel

Canine lymphoma

  • Canine lymphoma is one of the most common types of cancer in dogs.
  • it is a condition in which cancer cells can grow anywhere there is lymph tissue.
  • Therefore, the cancer cells can grow in almost any organ in your dog’s body and will eventually cause one of them to fail.
  • This disease commonly occurs in middle-aged dogs.

Symptoms of canine lymphoma

  • The most common symptom of canine lymphoma is swelling of the lymph nodes.
  • Since the disease can invade virtually any part of the body, other symptoms will depend on the location affected.
  • If canine lymphoma occurs in the chest, your dog will have likely experience shortness of breath.
  • If the disease occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, your dog may suffer weight loss, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Diagnosis of canine lymphoma

  • Two of the most common methods of diagnosis for canine lymphoma include urine and blood tests.
  • The veterinarian will also notice that lymph nodes near the skin surface are enlarged.
  • A biopsy may be performed on one of the swollen lymph nodes to confirm the diagnosis. The biopsy will also give more information on the severity of the disease.

Treatment of canine lymphoma

  • The preferred method of treatment for canine lymphoma is chemotherapy.
  • Most dogs that undergo this treatment go into remission.
  • The chemotherapy drugs can be given orally at home or as an injection at the vet’s office.
  • Dogs that are in stage 5 of canine lymphoma, the stage where bone marrow is affected, don’t respond well to chemotherapy drugs.

Prognosis of canine lymphoma

Treatment for canine lymphoma is relatively effective, but can also get expensive. Dogs that have one remission can usually go into remission a second time. However, the second remission usually lasts half as long as the first. Most dogs undergoing treatment for canine lymphoma can survive one to two more years after diagnosis.

Canine osteosarcoma

Canine osteosarcoma is one of the Types of Cancer in Dogs that can develop in any bone but affects the limbs in most cases. Larger dogs have a far greater risk of developing this type of cancer. The disease normally affects middle-aged to older dogs but has been known to affect younger dogs as well.

Canine osteosarcoma Causes

  • Canine osteosarcoma can be caused by various things.
  • Two of the most common causes include chemical carcinogens and radiation.
  • Foreign metal objects inside your dog may also cause him to develop canine osteosarcoma.
  • Abnormalities such as healed bone fractures are also a common cause.

Canine osteosarcoma Symptoms

The most common sign of canine osteosarcoma is lameness in the affected limb. The tumor develops deep inside the bone and causes more pain as it grows. You may also notice swelling as the tumor grows and replaces normal bone.

Diagnosis of Canine osteosarcoma

The veterinarian will first take an x-ray to try to determine the cause of your dog’s lameness. If nothing can be determined from the x-ray, then a biopsy may be performed. A small area of bone will be removed and sent to the lab for analysis. This is the most definitive method of diagnosis.

Treatment for Canine osteosarcoma

  • Canine osteosarcoma causes severe pain as the tumor grows.
  • Therefore, treatment involves trying to limit the spread of the disease as well as limit the amount of pain your dog suffers. Chemotherapy and radiation are the main methods of treatment.
  • If your dog experiences too much pain, amputation of the affected limb may be necessary. Some vets advise for euthanasia in cases of severe pain.


Canine Melanoma

  • This type of cancer in dogs is a very serious type.
  • It can affect your dog’s toes, mouth, skin, or behind the eye.
  • In most cases, the cancer is benign if it only affects the skin.
  • However, if it occurs in the toes, mouth, or behind the eye, it is usually malignant.

So, what are some of the symptoms of this disease?

Canine Melanoma Symptoms

  • Dogs with melanoma develop tumors in the affected area.
  • Skin lesions will have an odd color and shape.
  • Most dogs also experience coughing, drooling, bad breath, and difficulty swallowing. It is also common for the dog to lose his appetite, which will, in turn, lead to weight loss.

Did you know that many experts believe, that can be harmful to feed your dog with commercial food. It’s not that hard to make your dog’s food yourself using these homemade dog food recipes. Not only your dog will be healthier, but you’ll probably save lots of money on dog food costs.

Canine Melanoma Diagnosis

If you suspect your dog has melanoma, you will need to consult a veterinarian. The vet will perform a complete physical exam. A blood sample will also be drawn to get a complete blood count. The next step in diagnosing canine melanoma is to take a chest x-ray. Since the tumors will be visible, a biopsy will also be done.

Canine Melanoma Treatment

If your dog has been definitively diagnosed with melanoma, he will have three treatment options. They include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Radiation treatment is aimed at reducing the size of the tumor. Surgery involves trying to remove all of the tumors. If this isn’t possible, at least part of the tumor will be removed.

Canine Melanoma Prognosis

As mentioned earlier, canine melanoma is a very serious cancer. If the skin is affected, the prognosis of meaningful recovery is very poor. If the eyes, mouth, or toes are affected, the situation is even more bleak. Even with treatment, the tumors may spread. Even if your dog receives successful treatment, cancer may recur sometime in the future.


Canine Mast Cell Tumors

Canine mast cell tumors are a serious form of cancer can spread throughout the dog’s body. The danger with these tumors occurs with the release of chemicals that the cells produce. Mast cells are special cells that help your dog deal with inflammation and allergies. Canine mast cell tumors are formed by a group of these mast cells.

Canine Mast Cell Tumors Cause

Although These types of cancer in dogs are very common types, there is no known cause. There seems to be evidence that the dog’s genetics play a role because certain breeds have an increased risk of developing the tumors. It also appears that canine mast cell tumors are associated with over-stimulation of the immune system in dogs with inflammatory conditions or allergies.

Canine Mast Cell Tumors Symptoms

Symptoms of canine mast cell tumors occur because of the release of histamine and other chemicals from the tumors. These symptoms will vary depending on the location and severity of the condition. Common symptoms of canine mast cell tumors include bloody vomit, dark feces, anorexia, and irregular heart rhythm and blood pressure. It is also possible for your dog to develop abnormalities in blood clotting. Other symptoms of canine mast cell tumors include coughing, labored breathing, and enlarged lymph nodes.

Canine Mast Cell Tumors Diagnosis

Canine mast cell tumors can occur in various shapes and locations. Therefore, it is necessary to collect tumor cells and examine them under a microscope in order to make a diagnosis. This examination will help determine how cancer will behave and also determine the best method of treatment.

Canine Mast Cell Tumors Treatment

The best way to treat this type of cancer in dogs is to have them surgically removed.

At least one inch of healthy tissue is also removed from around the tumor to reduce the chance of cancer cells spreading.

Surgical removal of canine mast cell tumors can also be followed by radiation.

Radiation usually reduces the likelihood of cancer spreading or recurring sometime in the future.

Chemotherapy is also used to treat some cases of canine mast cell tumors although they usually don’t respond well to the treatment.

Canine Mast Cell Tumors Prognosis

  • Dogs in the early stages of this condition usually have a better prognosis than those in the later stages.
  • The location of the disease will also determine the prognosis.
  • Canine Mast Cell Tumors on the limbs is one of the Types of Cancer in Dogs with high survival rate, it has the best chance for survival.
  • If the tumors occur in the genital area, nail bed, muzzle, or mouth, the dog will have a moderate prognosis.
  • Dogs with canine mast cell tumors in the internal organs have the least chance for survival.

Canine lung cancer

Canine lung cancer is a devastating disease for dogs and usually proves to be fatal. It is most often caused by cancer cells that have spread from other parts of the body to the lungs. On rare occasions, the cancer cells will originate in the lungs.

Canine lung cancer Symptoms

  • There will usually be no symptoms in the early stages of canine lunger cancer.
  • Symptoms of later stages usually occur when the disease spreads to other parts of the body.
  • They include heavy breathing, panting, and weight loss. Most dogs also experience a loss of appetite during the later stages.

Canine lung cancer Treatment

  • If the veterinarian suspects your dog has canine lung cancer, he may refer you to an oncologist who will be able to provide specialized treatment.
  • Treatment of the disease depends on whether or not it has already begun to spread. If the disease is localized to one area, treatment will usually involve surgery.
  • If it has already spread from other areas, canine lung cancer will have to be treated with radiation or chemotherapy.

Canine lung cancer Prognosis

  • Symptoms only appear during the late stages as stated earlier, so canine lung cancer is one of the fatal types of cancer in dogs disease.
  • The length of survival can range from a few months to a few years depending on how early it is detected.
  • You may need to talk to your veterinarian about what signs to look for to determine when to euthanize your dog.

Canine pancreatic cancer

  • The pancreas is responsible for producing hormones and digestive enzymes.
  • Canine pancreatic cancer is a difficult condition to treat and usually proves to be fatal.
  • Your dog will likely only show symptoms once the disease has progressed to an advanced stage.


  • Tumors usually develop in the pancreas as a result of canine pancreatic cancer.
  • Therefore, you may notice that your dog’s stool has blood in it.
  • Most dogs also experience seizures, lethargy, and loss of coordination. Other symptoms of canine pancreatic cancer include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.


As mentioned earlier, symptoms of canine pancreatic cancer usually don’t show until the later stages. Therefore, diagnosis isn’t made until the condition has already progressed. The veterinarian will have to perform enzyme and blood tests in order to determine if canine pancreatic cancer is to blame for the symptoms.


Unfortunately, canine pancreatic cancer is very difficult to treat effectively. Surgery is one of the common methods of treatment but is useless if the disease has already spread to other organs. Gastrointestinal bypass surgery may also be performed if the tumor will eventually cause bowel obstruction.

Other treatment options for canine pancreatic cancer include radiation and prescription drugs. So that the pancreas won’t have to secrete digestive enzymes, the veterinarian may choose to withhold food from your dog. In this situation, your dog will need an IV to provide vital nutrients and vitamins.


The prognosis for a dog with canine pancreatic cancer is poor. Most dogs don’t live longer than a year after displaying symptoms of the disease.

Canine Lymphosarcoma

Canine lymphosarcoma is malignant cancer that affects the lymph nodes throughout the body. This disease can affect dogs of any age or breed but usually occurs in middle-aged or older dogs. Canine lymphosarcoma is not usually


As is the case for most canine tumors, there is no known cause of canine lymphosarcoma. It is possible that genes play a role in the occurrence of this disease. Certain breeds have a high risk of developing this form of cancer. These breeds include Golden retrievers, Pointers, Boxers, and German shepherds.


There are many symptoms of canine lymphosarcoma that you should be aware of. The most common include a lack of energy, enlargement of the lymph nodes, and difficulty breathing. If canine lymphosarcoma affects the gastrointestinal system, your dog may also experience vomiting or diarrhea. Other symptoms include pale mucous membranes, decreased appetite, increased thirst, and increased urination.


To diagnose canine lymphosarcoma, the veterinarian will usually take a blood sample to perform tests. It may also be necessary to take x-rays and perform a physical exam. A biopsy may also be needed to confirm the diagnosis of canine lymphosarcoma.


  • The main goal of treatment for canine lymphosarcoma is to force cancer into remission initially and during subsequent relapses.
  • The main treatment for this disease is chemotherapy because this cancer usually occurs throughout the body.
  • The chemotherapy drugs commonly used include prednisone, vincristine, doxorubicin, and cyclophosphamide.
  • If the canine lymphosarcoma only affects a localized area, your dog may also benefit from surgery or radiation therapy in addition to the chemotherapy.

Canine prostate cancer

Canine prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in dogs that targets older dogs. The cancer cells can spread to other areas of the body such as lymph nodes, bones, and lungs. The disease can occur with no known cause and can affect castrated and non-castrated canines. To make matters worse, the condition usually goes undetected until it has advanced to the later stages.


Two of the most common symptoms of canine prostate cancer include general pain and weight loss. The prostate gland will become enlarged and push against the wall of your dog’s urethra. This will make it very difficult for him to urinate and blood may be present in the urine. Also, canine prostate cancer usually weakens a dog’s hind legs. You may notice that your dog has an arched back and takes shorter steps while walking.


  • As mentioned earlier, canine prostate cancer usually goes undetected until the later stages of the disease.
  • The disease can be detected via urine tests, ultrasound scans, and contrast x-rays.
  • The veterinarian may even insert a camera into your dog.
  • Although these methods prove useful, the most definitive method of diagnosing canine prostate cancer is to perform a biopsy of the rectal wall.


Treatment for canine prostate cancer includes radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. Unfortunately, most dogs with the disease won’t respond to anti-androgen drugs to fight cancer. Also, a dog’s prostate is more complex than a human’s prostate, so surgery can prove to be very dangerous. Most cases of canine prostate cancer are treated with chemotherapy and radiation.


  • The prognosis for a dog with canine prostate cancer is very bleak.
  • After diagnosis, the average dog will survive for approximately six weeks.
  • Most dogs with canine prostate cancer won’t survive for more than a year.


Another aggressive cancer that is often metastatic, which means it spreads to a remote location by tumor cells carried in the blood. This cancer can occur in any sex, age, or breed of dog. It arises from the blood vessels. There are certain breeds that are more susceptible which are, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, and English Setters.

A combination of surgery and chemotherapy is the treatment used to add years onto the dogs’ life. However, surgery alone will not do the trick and 10% of dogs will pass away in under a year, possibly two to four months. Combine the surgery with chemotherapy and you will add five to seven months onto your dog’s life. but 90% of these canines do not live for more than a year. It depends on early intervention and location.

Mouth Cancer

Oral cancer in dogs is very common and it affects older canines. If you see anything unusual in your dogs’ mouth consult a vet. The two most common tumors of the mouth are benign & malignant. I won’t get into that in this article. Like I said there will be more articles to come that will focus on the symptoms of treatment of each individual cancer listed in this article.

If your dog is having problems chewing, decreased appetite, or is bleeding from the mouth, and is drooling or has bad breath, it could be from dental issues or cancer in the mouth. If you suspect any problem with your dog, always consult a vet. But there is no need to run to the vet for every single little problem your dog has though.

Mammary Carcinoma

This tumor is most common in female dogs which have not been spayed. The good news is that if it is treated early on, it is known to be a successful outcome. The chances of your dog (female) developing this Mammary Carcinoma that has been spayed before the first heat cycle is very rare. A 0.5% chance prior to first heat cycle; 8% chance after first heat cycle; and 26% chance of developing this tumor after two heat cycles. Get your dog spayed! You could save her life. The most likely treatment for this is a surgical procedure to remove the tumor. Many veterinarians will spay a dog having a mastectomy (unless she is very old). The value of this in decreasing the recurrence of tumors is still controversial.

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