Canine Cancer — What You Can Do To Protect Your Dog

Cathy P Turner
3 min readFeb 19, 2021


Cancer is an unfortunate reality that many people with dogs must face. The scary truth is, the disease is quite common in pups.

The Flint Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University projects one in four dogs will experience the disease. Dog cancer is a serious issue facing all dog lovers.

In simple terms, cancer is a disease where some of the body’s cells divide without stopping and spread into the surrounding areas of the body. Cancers can form solid tumors, which are masses of tissue. The tumors are malignant and can invade nearby tissue, or spread throughout the body, traveling via blood. Cancer is equally life-threatening to both dogs and humans. That’s why it is important to learn about the disease and monitor your dog’s health.

Signs and Symptoms of Canine Cancers

The Flint Animal Cancer Center found that cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs, with as much as 50% of pups dying fro the disease. Similar to humans, early detection is important so treatment can get started before the cancer has a chance to spread throughout the body. Keep in mind possible signs of cancer don’t immediately indicate cancer, but they’re definitely a reason to get to the vet:

Common Types of Dog Cancer

Cancer is most prevalent in senior dogs. The American Kennel Club’s Canine Health Foundation estimates one-third of dogs over seven will experience cancer in their life. Cancer comes in all types like carcinoma, sarcoma, melanoma, lymphoma, and leukemia. It can occur at any age, to purebreds or mixed breeds.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, these are the six more common types of cancer in dogs:


As with any type of cancer, the best way to beat it is early detection. Be mindful of changes in your dog’s behavior. If you notice abnormalities, do not wait to call your vet. Unfortunately, there aren’t clinical trials or statistical studies that prove you can prevent cancer in at-risk dogs. Stacey Hershman, DVM, a holistic housecall veterinarian told

Whole Dog Journal, “But common sense and clinical experience make a strong case for avoiding anything that exposes an animal to known carcinogens or weakens the immune system.”

The best prevention is giving your dog a healthy lifestyle. Make sure your pup eats the right foods, gets enough exercise, breathes clean air, drinks clean water, and stays away from harmful substances. Poor oral hygiene has also been linked to some cancers, so be sure to keep your pup’s teeth clean.

Treatment and Costs

There are many different types of cancer treatments for dogs. Some of them are:

Researchers are also developing new drugs to heal dogs. For example, the Yale School of Medicine developed a new vaccine that may treat canine cancer. They are working with the Veterinary Cancer Center to test the vaccine on patients.

All those treatments sound expensive, right? There’s no way around it, treatment incurs a cost. We can’t provide you with a definite number, but here are some estimates provided by the National Canine Cancer Foundation. “An initial visit to confirm a cancer diagnosis can be upwards of $200. Major surgery….can start at $1,500. Chemotherapy treatments might range from $200 to $2,000. Radiation therapy can range from $2,000 to $6,000 or higher. You’ll also need to factor in additional medications that might be needed-such as pain relievers or antibiotics-which could cost another $30 to $50 per month for an indefinite period.”

Early Detection Is Key

The most important advice is this: know your dog’s regular behavior. If you notice changes or the symptoms mentioned above, it’s time to talk to the doctor. Do not delay.

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Cathy P Turner

Veterinary medicine