As a dog owner, should I be aware of cancer nodes in my dog?

Skal jeg som hundeejer være opmærksom på kræftknuder hos min hund?

The short answer is yes. Dogs, like humans, can develop cancer, and it is therefore very important to be aware of knots under your dog's fur. As we all, including various pets such as dogs and cats, live longer, there is a higher risk of developing cancer. Cancer can appear in several forms, including in the form of small nodules or tumors, but it can also develop in the blood vessels or inside the bones, which is often more difficult to detect.

It can therefore be more visible or noticeable to you as the owner when you walk your dog, where at other times it is difficulty breathing, fatigue or if your dog looks pale on the mucous membranes, which makes you aware that your dog needs to see a vet.

There are both malignant and benign forms of cancer in dogs. Most often, the cancerous nodes can either be treated with some medicine or removed by surgery.

A major investigative process is often initiated after you as the owner have found something that could mean your dog has cancer. Your vet will first of all begin to examine your pet thoroughly by taking some blood samples, aspirates or biopsies from, for example, the tumor. In other cases, the vet will take an ultrasound scan or x-ray of your pet. To see if a tumor has spread, the vet may use a CT scan. The CT scan can indeed detect metastases before the X-ray can, as the resolution of the image is much higher.
In some cases, treatment or medication can extend your pet's life, but unfortunately there are also cases where it is recommended that the animal be euthanized.

It is also possible to use chemotherapy for some forms of cancer, but only in cases where the side effects are not so serious. In this way, chemotherapy for humans cannot be put in the same boat as chemotherapy for animals. The reason for this is that animals are protected by the Animal Welfare Act, where it is not accepted by animals exposed to serious side effects. The dose of chemotherapy used in animals produces mild if not noticeable side effects. It is, among other things, it is possible to treat both dogs and cats with chemotherapy and the course is usually free of side effects, so the animals can live their normal lives. However, the fact that the dose is so much lower than in humans will often mean that the animals will not really get fully healthy again. Chemotherapy therefore makes it possible to postpone euthanasia and live a good and disease-free life until then. Before it is decided that your pet should have chemotherapy, it is discussed between you and the vet, where you will review the advantages and disadvantages that may be associated with such a procedure.

It is important to bear in mind that all animals are different and unique, so a cancer course can look completely different for one dog compared to another dog. In addition, there are some socio-economic conditions that come into play; the family's financial situation, the age of your pet and children in the home and more.

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