Lung Cancer in Dogs
Lung cancer is a disease most often found in older dogs around 10 - 12 years of age. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of cases of lung cancer in dogs being diagnosed by veterinarians, however, the increase may largely be due to the fact that our dogs are now living much longer than they ever have.
Other possible reasons for the increase in cases could be, improved diagnostics and awareness of the disease, or possibly increased exposure to cancer-causing agents.
While exposure to cigarette smoke has also been linked to this condition, it appears that some breeds are more likely to develop lung cancer than others. Some of the breeds at increased risk include boxers, Doberman pinschers, Australian shepherds, and Bernese mountain dogs.
Types of Lung Cancer Seen in Dogs:
- Primary lung tumors are tumors that originate in the dog's lung. While primary lung tumors are rare in dogs, when they do occur, more than 80% are cancerous. Sadly, these tumors have a moderate to high chance of spreading to other parts of the dog's body including the lymph nodes, lining of the chest cavity, bones and brain.
- Metastatic lung tumors are tumors that originate from cancer elsewhere in the dog's body then spread to the lungs.
Symptoms of Lung Cancer in Dogs
In the absence of diagnostic testing, it can be challenging to detect lung cancer in dogs. It is estimated that 25% of dogs with a lung tumor show no related signs of cancer. When symptoms do become evident they can include any of the following depending on the size and location of the tumor:
- Rapid breathing/wheezing
- Weight loss
- Labored breathing
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced exercise tolerance
- Gastrointestinal ulcers
Primary lung cancer and metastatic lung cancer both have similar symptoms although coughing tends to be less common with metastatic tumors.
Diagnosing Dog Lung Cancer
Because a large percentage of dogs show no signs of lung cancer, tumors are often detected when the dog has an x-ray or other diagnostic testing due to an unrelated condition.
If you've noticed that your dog is displaying signs of lung cancer, contact our Clemmons vets to book an examination for your dog.
The primary way that vets confirm a diagnosis of lung cancer in dogs is through a chest x-ray. If the x-ray shows signs of a lung tumor, an ultrasound-guided aspirate or biopsy, abdominal ultrasound or CT scan may be the next steps in the diagnostic process.
Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, further testing may be helpful in determining the extent of cancer in your pup's body.
Treatment of Lung Cancer in Dogs
In some cases surgery to remove the portion of the lung where the tumor is located can be successful. Most dogs tolerate this surgery well and are able to return home soon after the procedure. If however your dog's tumor cannot be surgically removed, or if the cancer has spread, chemotherapy and/or radiation may be the recommended treatment option.
Prognosis - Life Expectancy
Sadly the outlook is poor for dog's diagnosed with lung cancer. A dog diagnosed and treated for a single primary lung tumor that has not spread to the lymph nodes has an average survival time of about 12 months, however, if the dog's lymph nodes also show signs of cancer or if multiple tumors are found life expectancy is only about 2 months.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 displaying any signs and symptoms of lung cancer contact Animal Hospital of Clemmons right away to book an examination for your canine companion.
Looking for a vet in
We're always accepting new patients, so contact our veterinary hospital today to book your pet's first appointment.
Related Articles View All
What can you do to help make your puppy's first experience home alone a positive one? What should you do if puppy cries when left alone? Is it safe to leave puppy outside all day? Our Clemmons vets delve into the emotional topic of leaving your puppy alone for the very first time.
Is your dog experiencing patchy hair loss, bald patches, or all-over thinning of the coat? Could be allergies, seasonal shedding, or more severe conditions such as alopecia. Our Clemmons vets delve into the topic of dog hair loss in dogs and what to do.
If your four-legged friend is constipated it could be due to something as simple as a change in diet, but constipation can also be a sign of a very serious health concern! Our Clemmons vets explain why constipation in dogs should never be ignored.
Your dog hasn't been running or playing but you notice that they are panting heavily. Why might this be happening? Today our Clemmons vets discuss causes of excessive panting in dogs and when to be concerned.
Acupuncture has been used as a treatment for people for centuries, but did you know that this ancient Chinese therapy is also available for pets? Here, our Clemmons vets explain how acupuncture for pets works and the conditions it can be used to treat.