It’s a big question—and one that has a variety of answers depending on when a dog is diagnosed, the specific type and stage of cancer, and the age of a dog. This post looks at how the most common types of cancer and cancer treatments affect dogs living with cancer.
Traditionally, cancer in dogs is treated similarly to cancer in humans, with three basic types of treatment: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Newer therapies are also being introduced into the animal world, including immunotherapy.
Isolated tumors & cancer that has not spread
When dogs are diagnosed with an isolated tumor, surgery is common. Veterinary surgeons will seek to remove the cause of cancer, and may follow up with courses chemotherapy or radiotherapy. How viable and successful surgery will be depends a lot on where the tumor is growing. If the growth is in the brain, for example, surgery might not be possible.
How long can a dog live after being diagnosed with this kind of cancer? For dogs who successfully recover from surgery, there really is no limit on how life or well they can live. Dogs who undergo surgery to remove lumps and tumors have often been diagnosed at an early stage, meaning that they often remain cancer-free after treatment for the rest of their lives.
(Although there is some evidence that dogs who develop a tumor are more vulnerable to developing tumors at a later date).
Cancer that has spread within the body
Treatment options, life expectancy, and a dog’s quality of life all depend on how, where, and when cancer spreads. In a minority of cases, such as very old dogs, vets may also recommend palliative care and eventually euthanasia. But even if your dog is diagnosed with terminal cancer, there are plenty of options to ensure a happy daily life. Here’s some info on three of the most common cancers in dogs:
How long can a dog live after being diagnosed with this kind of cancer?
Life expectancies vary again, especially in terms of where the sarcoma is located. Fibrosarcomas can be highly treatable, thanks to their location near the skin. Unfortunately, osteosarcomas tend to be more aggressive and faster spreading. Prognosis after surgery is an average of five months, although that figure rises to a year when chemotherapy is also prescribed.