Cancer in Dogs

What I Need to Know About Cancer in Dogs

Your dog isn’t just “man’s best friend.” Your dog is a member of your family. When a dog is diagnosed with cancer, it is devastating. Did you know that more than 6 million dogs are diagnosed with cancer every year?

Cancer is even more prevalent in dogs over the age of 10, at a rate of 50 percent.1 While any dog can get any type of cancer, environmental stressors such as tobacco smoke, pesticides, and obesity can also increase the risk of cancer.

Would you know if your dog was suffering from cancer? Many pet owners don’t and we want to help.

Canine Tumor Symptoms

Be observant to any changes in your pet’s physical appearance and behavior. Not all cancer warning signs are apparent right away, with some changes developing over time. Much like in people, early detection can significantly increase the likelihood of a good outcome.

If you notice any of these symptoms of cancer in your dog, contact your veterinarian to check things out. In the event that cancer is diagnosed, know that a wide variety of cancer treatments are available. Even if the cancer is not curable, there is almost always something that can be done to improve your dog’s quality of life.

  • Enlarged or changing lumps and bumps
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Chronic weight loss or weight gain
  • Change in appetite
  • A persistent cough
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Unpleasant odor from the mouth
  • Difficulty breathing, eating or swallowing
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Bleeding or discharge from any opening

Regular wellness exams will provide your veterinarian the opportunity to check for signs of cancer, but you can take a more proactive approach to your pet’s health by looking for these warning signs regularly. When in doubt, get it checked out.

  1. National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research. Accessed July 23, 2018, from https://ccr.cancer.gov/Comparative-Oncology-Program/pet-owners/disease-info
Types of Cancers in Dogs

If your pet is displaying any symptoms of cancer or has been diagnosed with cancer, sort below by cancer type or tumor location to learn more about each cancer type and available treatment options for your pet. Click on the links for more specific information on treatment and real patient stories.

Head and neck tumors

Brain tumors in dogs

Thyroid tumors in dogs

Extremity tumors in dogs

Spinal tumors in dogs

Pelvic canal tumors in dogs

  • Anal gland adenocarcinomas in dogs
  • Prostatic tumors in dogs

Liver tumors in dogs

Pancreatic tumors in dogs

Lung tumors in dogs

Kidney tumors in dogs

Carcinoma/Epithelial cancer in dogs

  • Nasal/paranasal sinus
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Basal cell
  • Tonsillar
  • Thyroid
  • Salivary gland
  • Ceruminous gland
  • Bronchogenic/non-small cell lung
  • Hepatocellular
  • Biliary
  • Pancreatic
  • Adrenal
  • Renal
  • Transitional cell of bladder/prostate/urethra
  • Prostatic
  • Anal gland
  • Perianal
  • Chemodectoma
  • Neuroendocrine carcinoma
  • Thymoma (epithelioid)

Sarcoma/Mesenchymal cancer in dogs

  • Fibrosarcoma
  • Chondrosarcoma
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Hemangiopericytoma
  • Histiocytic sarcoma
  • Peripheral nerve sheath tumor/Schwannoma
  • Meningioma
  • Astrocytoma
  • Glioma
  • Oligodendroglioma
  • Choroid Plexus papilloma
  • Ependymoma
  • Multilobular osteochondroma

Round Cell cancer in dogs


  1. National Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Research. Accessed July 23, 2018, from https://ccr.cancer.gov/Comparative-Oncology-Program/pet-owners/disease-info 
  2. National Canine Cancer Foundation. Accessed July 23, 2018, from https://wearethecure.org/learn-more-about-canine-cancer/canine-cancer-library/