Are some breeds of dogs more prone to cancer than others?
Yes. Mostly due to genetic traits found across particular breeds, some types of dogs have a much higher chance of developing cancer than others (just like some breeds of dogs are more susceptible to other conditions such as hip dysplasia or breathing difficulties.) Size also seems to play a partial role.
Data suggests that retrievers—especially Golden Retrievers and Labradors—are the most popular breeds of dogs most likely to die from cancer. Other, rarer types of dogs such as the Irish water spaniel, Bernese mountain dogs, and pure-bred rottweilers also rank highly in terms of cancer percentage per breed.
What are the biggest risk factors for cancer in dogs?
Age, breed, and hereditary factors are the largest determinants of whether or not a dog will develop cancer. Beyond those unavoidable elements, there are more and less risky behaviors when it comes to dogs and cancers.
Weight, and particularly obesity, is an obvious risk factor, along with long-term injury and diseases such as diabetes. Other factors include time spent exposed to harsh sunlight, exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, and whether or not your dog spends time in gardens or fields sprayed with agricultural-grade herbicides and pesticides.
How are dogs with cancer treated?
Just like humans, dogs with cancer often respond well to surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, or a combination of all three. For dogs, chemotherapy might mean a standard IV drip, or it could be delivered through a pill or injection.
The field of immunotherapy contains many of the latest breakthroughs in cancer treatments, and dogs are not excluded from a number of immunotherapy treatments. For dogs with melanoma, a cancer vaccine is already available.
How long can a dog live with cancer?
As discussed, a primary cause for cancer in dogs is simply old age. With so many dogs now living long and healthy lives, cancer might sadly be part of the natural dying process for a large number of pups. For younger dogs, however, owners can expect their pets to respond quickly and well to treatment, so long as the cancer is diagnosed at an early enough stage.
Unfortunately, undiagnosed, untreated cancers in dogs can progress quickly. Fast-progressing cancers like lymphoma can see dogs deteriorate over as short a period as two months, underlying the need for quick and accurate assessment by a veterinarian.