Dog Food and Cancer: Everything You Need to Know
Cancer is the main cause of death in canines over 10 years old. If detected early, the cancer is treatable, and the vet can help cure your dog. Statistics indicate that 50% of dogs above the age of 10 develop cancer at a certain point.
Cancer in dogs ranges from lymphomas, mast cell tumors, mammary gland cancer, to even bone cancer. It is advised that you take your pet to the vet for regular check-ups even when they show no signs of disease. General examination by the vet is crucial for early detection of cancer, and you will have spared your buddy's life.
What is the Most Common Cancer in Dogs?
Some of the common cancers that your dog is prone to include:
Osteosarcoma, also known as bone cancer, is a type of cancer affecting large dog breeds like Great Danes, Mastiffs, and Irish wolfhounds. Cancer attacks the long bones and can spread to the lungs or other bones via the bloodstream or lymph nodes. As a result, your dog will present with signs of swelling, limping, and pain in the affected limb.
Mast Cell Tumors
Mast Cell Tumors occur on the dog's skin and are impossible to diagnose without microscopic investigations. The grades of the tumors range from low or intermediate grade, which is unlikely to spread and can be treated by surgery, to the high-grade tumors with more likelihood of spread and treated by surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy.
Melanomas in dogs occur on the skin, toenails, and mouth. Most of the skin and toe melanomas are benign, while oral melanomas are malignant. They present as heavily dark and raised masses in the mouth. Your dog will show signs like drooling, bleeding gums, difficulty chewing or swallowing, and foul odor. Diagnosis is by fine-needle aspiration or biopsy, and first-line treatment is surgery.
Hemangiosarcoma is a form of cancer arising from the epithelial cells lining the blood vessels and attacking the spleen, liver, heart, and skin. Splenic tumors in dogs are not noticeable until the spleen ruptures, and your dog shows signs of hypovolemic shock following massive blood loss, pallor, general weakness, and difficulty breathing. The most affected canine breeds include German shepherds, Portuguese water dogs, golden retrievers, and Skye terriers.
Transitional Cell Carcinoma
Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) is a type of tumor affecting the urinary system, bladder, ureters, urethra, and kidneys. Cancer may ascend even to the prostate gland in male dogs. Treatment is by surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.
Mammary gland carcinomas
Mammary gland carcinomas are tumors occurring in unspayed female dogs. It presents as tiny nodules around the nipple, which is easy to overlook. The small nodules grow into a large, painful tumor that forms an ulcer and becomes an open wound. 50% of these tumors are malignant but can be surgically removed if caught early to prevent metastasis. Spaying your pet before she reaches her first heat cycle will lower the risk of mammary gland carcinoma.
What Causes Cancer in Dogs?
There is no specific cause of cancer in dogs; it can be a combination of genetic, feeds, or environmental influence. In addition, the particular breed of dogs is susceptible to certain types of cancer because of their genetic predisposition.
Environmental factors leading to dog cancer include exposure to harmful rays, polluted sites, radioactive waste, asbestos, smoke, and pesticides. In addition, other carcinogens affecting dogs are present in hormones, viruses, and carcinogenic pet foods.
There is an increased risk of mammary gland cancer in female dogs if not spayed before their first heat cycle. The risk is at 8% if they are sterilized after the one heat cycle and 26% if they experience two heat cycles.
How to Detect Cancer in Dogs
Detection of cancer in your pet can be done early with regular check-ups by the vet. However, some cancer can manifest in different signs and symptoms like:
- Sudden and irreversible weight loss
- Pain on the affected site
- Lack of appetite
- Difficulty in breathing
- Bleeding from gums
- Abnormal discharge from the ears, nose, mouth eyes or rectum
- Urine and stool incontinence
The vet conducts further investigations to help with the cancer diagnosis. Diagnostic techniques include fine-needle aspiration, blood work, rectal exam, urinalysis, and radiographs. After the necessary workups, the vet can determine the tumor type, metastasis, and cancer stage. Treatment options available based on the results are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and a holistic approach.
How to Prevent Cancer in Dogs
Having your dog diagnosed with cancer is devastating for both you and the dog. However, there are several ways on how to prevent cancer in dogs, such as:
Regular check-ups by the vet will help with the early detection of cancer in your dog. You should consider having your buddy insured, which will make it easy and cheaper for her to visit the vet on a routine basis.
Stick to a healthy, nutritious diet as the carcinogens in pet food are the leading cause of cancer. Cornucopia pet foods are healthy with no preservatives, pesticides, sugars, artificial sweeteners, or GMOs. Our certified organic foods are full of minerals and vitamins to keep your dog healthy and protect it from cancer, kidney, and heart disease. Starting your dog with Cornucopia organic pet foods from a young age is highly recommended.
World-renowned veterinarian Dr. RG Broderick notes that after starting his patients on a Cornucopia diet, he has not needed to perform a cancer surgery in 22 over years. Since switching to his food, his patients have lived up to three times as long as the national average, and with only minor routine vet bills.
Spay your female dog to lower the chances of mammary gland carcinoma and neuter your male dog to reduce the occurrence of testicular and prostate cancer.
Limit your pet's exposure to sunlight as severe heat damage may be sensitive to regions like the nose, paw pads, inside the ears, and groin.
Take your canine friend to the veterinarian if you notice any unusual redness, moles, or lipomas on the skin, as they may be an early sign of cancer.
Exercise your dog regularly to lower the chances of obesity. Obesity is attributed to several types of dog cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and heart conditions.
Limit the use of herbicides with 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic as it is linked to malignant lymphoma and transitional cell cancer. Pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides exposure can make your dog susceptible to certain forms of cancer.