Top 5 Diagnosed Dog Cancers

Cancer is one of the biggest fears that most pet parents have. About 25% of dogs will get it, but early detection may help improve your pup’s chances of recovery. Let’s learn about the five most common dog cancers, the symptoms to watch for, and common treatments.

Cancer affects roughly one in four dogs. The numbers are even higher for older dogs. Some dogs have a genetic predisposition that makes them more vulnerable, but any dog can get cancer. Some types are more common than others, so here are the top five dog cancers, the most common symptoms, and treatment types for each.

1. Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a common dog cancer that affects the lymph nodes and lymphatic system. Specifically, it’s cancer of the lymphocytes, the white blood cells. It can affect various organs in the body, such as the liver, spleen, and bone marrow. Experts don’t know the exact cause of lymphoma in dogs, but it’s probably a combination of things like infectious viruses or bacteria, environmental contamination, and genetic predisposition.

Treatments: Common treatments for lymphoma include chemotherapy, omega-3 fatty acids, immunotherapy, and functional mushrooms.

2. Mast Cell Tumors

A mast cell tumor (MCT) is the most common malignant skin cancer in dogs. Nearly 20% of the skin tumors diagnosed in dogs are mast cell tumors. They can grow from the skin anywhere on the body, including the trunk, head, neck, and paws. While any dog can develop mast cell tumors, Boxers, Boston Terriers, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers have genetic predispositions to these dog cancers.

Treatments: Common treatments for MCT include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, cryosurgery, quercetin, probiotics, stress reduction, functional mushrooms, immunotherapy, turmeric, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Melanoma

Melanoma is another type of skin cancer. There’s also oral melanoma and subungual melanoma (the skin under the toes). Melanoma affects the melanocytes (pigment cells) in the skin, starting as a pigmented mass and sometimes bleeding as it grows. Oral and subungual melanomas are more likely to be malignant and can spread to other parts of the body.

Treatments: Common treatments for melanoma include surgery, radiation, cryosurgery, functional mushrooms, artemisinin, omega-3 fatty acids, and Boswellia sacra.

4. Bone Cancer

Osteosarcoma is a relatively common type of cancer that primarily affects the long bones, such as the limbs, but it can also grow in the ribs, skull, pelvis, and more. It’s more prevalent in large and giant breeds and tends to occur in older dogs, but it can affect dogs of any size or age. This is a very aggressive dog cancer that can spread quickly, destroy bone, and cause a lot of pain.

Treatments: Common treatments for osteosarcoma include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, Chinese herbs, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and cryotherapy.

5. Hemangiosarcoma

Hemangiosarcoma is cancer in the cells that create blood vessels. Tumors can happen anywhere, but they’re most common in the liver, spleen, skin, and heart. It can cause internal bleeding because the tumors are made of regular and abnormal blood vessels that rupture easily. Like osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma is aggressive and can spread to organs in different parts of the body. It can affect any dog, but it’s most common in mature dogs, seniors, Retrievers, and German Shepherds.

Treatments: Common treatments for hemangiosarcoma include surgery, chemotherapy, Turkey Tail mushrooms, and immunotherapy.

Most Common Symptoms of Dog Cancer


Animal Wellness is North America’s top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats, with a readership of over one million every year. AW features articles by some of the most renowned experts in the pet industry, with topics ranging from diet and health related issues, to articles on training, fitness and emotional well being.


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