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The Most Common Kinds of Cancer in Dogs

You love your pup, so finding a suspicious lump or bump on your pooch is bound to be concerning. While it's important to remember that not every lump will turn out to be cancer the fact is that there is a chance that your dog's bump is cancerous. Below our South Charlotte vets share some of the most common cancers seen in dogs.

Types of Cancer in Dogs

You may be surprised to learn that dogs can develop many of the same types of cancer as people, and with strikingly similar symptoms. Below are some of the most common types of cancer our vets see in dogs:

Osteosarcoma (Bone Cancer) 

  • Osteosarcoma is the most common bone cancer seen in our canine companions. While any breed of dog can be affected, our vets tend to see this form of cancer most often in larger breeds.


  • In dogs, Lymphoma/Lymphosarcoma is a very common form of cancer. The good news is that there are a number of treatment options available, and most vets have extensive experience in treating this disease.


  • Hemangiosarcoma is another common cancer seen in dogs. This cancer typically affects the dog's internal organs and blood vessels, but it may occasionally be found on the skin. These tumors can grow quite large with bleeding into the pericardium. This form of cancer requires emergency treatment, as it can become fatal very quickly.


  • These skin tumors are often found in the dog's mouth or on their feet. Melanoma can spread quickly to other areas of your dog's body and tends to be malignant.

Mast Cell Tumor

  • Mast cell tumors are also found on the dog's skin and can be difficult for your vet to remove depending on the location. That said this type of cancer in dogs can be cured if detected and treated early.


  • This is a slow spreading form of cancer in dogs but can be a difficult condition to treat. To help prevent the recurrence of fibrosarcoma, amputation and radiation are the most common treatment options for this cancer.

Signs & Symptoms of Cancer in Dogs

Sadly, it's not always possible to know just by looking at your dog that he or she is seriously unwell.

Even blood work often cannot detect certain types of cancers in dogs. However, there are some signs that you can watch for that can indicate that your dog may have cancer.

If your dog is showing any of the following signs and symptoms, make an appointment to visit your vet as soon as possible. Early detection is the key to positive treatment outcomes when it comes to cancer.

  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy, depression
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Strong odor
  • Sores that don't heal
  • Bleeding or discharge
  • Lumps or bumps beneath the skin
  • Pain or difficulty walking, lameness or stiffness
  • Straining when going to the bathroom
  • Difficulties eating or swallowing
  • Swelling


It is essential to be aware of changes in your dog's behavior and pay attention to any bumps or lumps you may discover while petting your dog. If your dog is displaying one or more of the signs and symptoms listed above, contact your vet immediately.

When diagnosing cancer in dogs, your South Charlotte vet may perform a biopsy or other test that will be sent to our lab for testing, as well as palpate your dog to feel for any lumps. 

Professional diagnosis is important, only your vet will be able to determine if your dog has cancer.

Your dog's best chance for survival is early detection, always be alert to any changes in your dog's behavior that could indicate that there is a health issue.

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 or boarding needs, please make an appointment with your vet.

Have you found a suspicious lump on your dog? Contact our South Charlotte vets right away to schedule an examination for your canine companion.

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