Quite possibly one of the most fearful experiences a dog owner could have is discovering an unusual lump or bump on their dog. Although this is always worthy of further investigation, (always by a vet) it does not always mean that your dog has been struck down with cancer. In fact, in more cases than not, the discovery of a lump on the dog leads not to cancer, but will turn out to be a wart, cyst or some other unwelcome growth. This does not mean that all growths are not cancerous, but that panicking and worrying is sometimes undue, at least until further investigation is complete.

Frequently inspecting your dog is essential. This is not just to detect cancerous tumours, as many other canine maladies come in the form of a bump or boil. It is, however, extremely important never to leave a discovery to just go away. Because, if it is cancer, then every second is valuable to ensure that treatment starts in earnest.{+++}

twogretsFortunately, research into the treatment of canine cancer is continuing at a furious rate, and has been for the past twelve years. Scientists at the University of Cincinnati have developed new treatments for certain types of cancer in dogs, and other new treatments are constantly under development.

Radiation treatment has been implemented with high levels of success. However, at present certain cases are more suitable for treatment than others. The treatment has been working more successfully in cases where the tumour was localised. (A localised cancer is one that has not spread) The radiation treatment prevents the cancer from spreading by sterilising the cancer cells so they don’t reproduce. This may not result in a reduction in the actual size of the lump straight away, but it will ensure that cancer is unable to affect the rest of the body.

This particular method of treatment is more suited to low grade cancers. (Low grade cancers do not begin to spread until the latter stages of the illness) It is also more effective on smaller tumours, because larger tumours will need to be removed before radiation treatment can begin. Cancers on the limbs, chest, face and mouth are more suited to this treatment, whereas cancers affecting the brain, spinal column and intestines are not.

It is highly important to accept that not all tumours are cancerous and that not all cancers are tumours. A tumour may be benign, in which case it will not spread and will not cause illness, but it is always wise to keep an eye on such things in order to monitor any growth or change in shape or texture. A tumour may also be malignant, in which case it is going to, or already has, spread and caused cancer. A cancer may develop from a neoplasm. A neoplasm is a new growth on the body. If a neoplasm is malignant, then it is cancer.

For a dog to receive the radiation treatment he will need to be in an otherwise good state of health. This is so that his body will be strong enough to tolerate the radiation. Although the treatment is painless for the dog, it does have certain side effects such as hair loss, skin burn in the treated area and skin ulcerations.

A dog diagnosed with cancer will be referred to a specialist for treatment. Before treatment commences the dog will undergo certain examinations to ensure he is in a fit state. They include a blood profile, a chest x-ray and urinalysis. The treatment will last for a total of three weeks. The radiation is administered in six minute sessions each week day, but the dog is required to remain at the treatment centre for a further ninety minutes for monitoring. The entire treatment programme will cost $1150.

Certain dogs are more prone to cancer than others. The unlucky breeds include; Boxers, Boston Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Airedales, Border Collies and Scottish Terriers. Un-spayed bitches and un-neutered dogs are also at higher risk. Cancer is more commonly found in older dogs and since modern medicine is lengthening dog’s lives, statistics indicate a sharp rise in canine cancer which can be misleading.

Certain types of cancer are more commonly found in certain breeds or type of dog. Large dogs are prone to bone cancer. Short nosed dogs are prone to cancer of the skin, breast, testicles and brain. Long nosed dogs such as Labradors and Dobermans are prone to cancer of the nose. Boxers are susceptible to cancer of the skin, testicles and bone. They are also prone to lymphoma, an aggressive cancer which attacks the lymph nodes. Darker coated dogs are more likely to develop skin cancer than lighter coated dogs. Cocker Spaniels are prone to cancer of the skin, anus, mouth, throat and breast. However it is worth noting that these cancers are not peculiar to these breeds.

If your dog has to undergo any form of cancer treatment it is important to ensure that he is well nourished throughout the whole illness. This is important for many reasons, one of which is concerned with the behaviour of cancer cells inside the dog’s body. In order for the cells to grow, they need nutrition.

They steal the nutrients they need from the dogs food intake, particularly glucose and fats. It may seem like an option to reduce the intake of these nutrients in the dogs diet and replace or supplement them with other ones that will not encourage the cancer to grow. However, fats and glucose are essential to help the dog to fight the disease. A reduction in the processing of these nutrients (i.e. he takes in the nutrients but they are processed into energy by the cancer cells and not by him) will result in a reduction in the dog’s sense of smell and taste. Also it is likely that liver problems will develop if his food intake is not sufficient to feed both him and the cancer cells.

These nutrients are essential to the body so that it can perform OMEOSTATIC mechanisms. This means the body will simply not function correctly without fats and glucose, which is why people and animals become weakened by cancer. If necessary, force feed or tube feed your dog to ensure he is receiving sufficient nourishment. If this does not happen a downward spiral of energy wastage, weakness and weight loss will occur. Any element of that downward spiral can result in any other element occurring, but remove one element and the symptoms should lesson.

Owners of all dogs should be vigilante of possible cancer in order to reduce the risk of cancer developing to untreatable stages. Any suspicions should be dealt with as priorities. But do this in a calm and rational manner to ensure that nobody worries unnecessarily and nothing problematic is overlooked.

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