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Cancer in Dogs

Our Pflugerville veterinarians understand how concerning it can be to discover a lump on your dog. While many lumps are not cancerous, several cancers are common in dogs, and it can be beneficial to be on the lookout for signs of this dangerous disease.

Types of Cancer in Dogs

Our dogs are cherished members of our families and are frequently our most devoted friends, so we understand how upsetting it is to think that your dog may be suffering from a serious illness like cancer. While no one wants to think about their dog getting sick, knowing the signs of cancer in dogs and being able to recognize any symptoms early is the best way to help your dog get treatment before the disease progresses.

It may surprise you to learn that dogs can get many of the same types of cancer that people do, and with very similar symptoms. Here are some of the most common types of cancer that our Pflugerville vets see in dogs:


Lymphoma is a very common cancer in dogs, and there are more than 30 different types that can affect them. Lymphoma is a term used by veterinarians to describe a group of cancers that arise from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that aids the immune system in fighting infection. Multicentric, alimentary, mediastinal, and extranodal lymphoma are the most common types of dog lymphoma.

Mast Cell Tumor 

Mast cell tumors are skin tumors that can be difficult for your veterinarian to remove, depending on their location. The good news is that if the tumor is detected early and completely removed, this type of cancer is curable.


Skin tumors are also caused by melanoma. These tumors are frequently found in and around the dog's mouth, as well as on their feet. Melanoma is a cancerous tumor that spreads quickly to other parts of the dog's body.

Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer) 

Osteosarcoma is the most common form of bone cancer in dogs. Although any breed can be affected by this type of cancer, our vets most often see osteosarcoma in larger breeds.


This type of cancer is extremely dangerous and necessitates immediate treatment or it will be fatal! Hemangiosarcoma tumors in dogs can grow quite large and are commonly found in the spleen, but they can grow anywhere there are blood vessels and spread to other organs, including the heart and lungs of the dog.


This is a slow-spreading form of cancer in dogs, but can be difficult to treat. Amputation and radiation are commonly used to treat dogs with fibrosarcoma to prevent a recurrence.

What are the signs & symptoms of cancer in dogs?

It can be difficult to spot cancer signs in your dog just by looking at them. Blood tests in dogs frequently fail to detect certain cancers. However, there are some telltale signs that your dog may be suffering from cancer that you should be aware of. When it comes to cancer in dogs, early detection is the key to a successful treatment outcome, just as it is in humans. If your dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed below, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • Sores that don't heal
  • Bleeding or discharge
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Strong odor
  • Swelling
  • Lumps or bumps beneath the skin
  • Lethargy, depression, disinterest in exercise
  • Difficult or painful breathing or coughing
  • Straining when going to the bathroom
  • Challenges when eating or swallowing
  • Pain or difficulty walking, lameness or stiffness

Is cancer painful for dogs?

Cancer in dogs can be painful depending on the type and location of the tumor. Some signs of pain in dogs with cancer include limping, difficulty getting up, decreased appetite, and changes in behavior. It is important to work closely with your veterinarian to manage pain effectively and improve your dog's quality of life.

Does cancer spread quickly in dogs?

Cancer in dogs can spread at varying rates depending on the type of cancer, its location, and the overall health of the dog. Some cancers may spread quickly, while others may progress more slowly. It is important to consult with a veterinarian for an accurate assessment and appropriate treatment plan.

That being said, Hemangiosarcoma is considered one of the most aggressive cancers in dogs. As noted above, it is a rapidly growing cancer that often affects the blood vessels and can spread quickly to other organs in the body, thus necessitating immediate treatment.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog is showing any of the symptoms listed above, or other signs of illness, contact Pfennig Lane Animal Hospital in Pflugerville for help.

New Patients Welcome

Pfennig Lane Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Pflugerville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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