Hearing your vet tell you that your dog has cancer is never an easy thing to hear and you will likely have many questions about their prognosis. Our La Mesa vets talk about cancer in dogs and answer one of the main questions - how long can a dog live after being diagnosed with cancer?

Cancer in Dogs

Unfortunately, cancer is a disease that can affect not only humans, but dogs, cats, and other animals as well. Dog cancers vary greatly in the speed at which they spread and grow, how easy they are to treat, and the predicted life expectancy for dogs diagnosed with that particular cancer. 

If your dog is diagnosed with cancer, it can be difficult to determine what the prognosis will be since there are many different actors involved such as your dog's age, breed, and overall health.

Common types of cancer in dogs

While cancer can affect all breeds of dogs, it is more likely to develop in some breeds over others  - such as the high incidence rates of bladder cancer in Scottish Terriers.

Some of the most common cancers seen in dogs are:

  • Lymphoma/Lymphosarcoma
  • Mast Cell Tumors
  • Skin Cancer
  • Bone Cancer - Hemangiosarcoma
  • Fibrosarcoma
  • Mammary cancer
  • Adrenal cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Liver Cancer

What is the life expectancy of dogs with cancer?

Predicting the outcome of any form of cancer is difficult, There are numerous factors when it comes to a cancer prognosis, particularly considering that few pets with cancer will die naturally. It is also common that pet owners will opt to euthanize their dog as a way to prevent suffering once the pain is no longer manageable. Meaning that for many dogs with cancer it is the pet owner that ultimately decides how long their dog lives following a cancer diagnosis.

Even with providing the average life expectancy based on health, there will be other factors involved. Such as the fact that one dog may receive the very best treatment available for that particular cancer and go on to live a good quality of life for a year or more, whereas the other may belong to a family unable to pay for such treatment and may need to be euthanized soon after diagnosis. 

There are also certain cancers that are easily managed with surgery, where some other forms of cancer cannot be treated with any form of surgery. For some chemotherapy may be effective, whereas other cancers may not respond to chemo at all.

What Your Vet Can Tell You

While your vet will be able to give you information regarding the average lifespan of dogs with a particular type of cancer, they still cannot guarantee that your pet will live for as long as they have estimated.

Your vet will however be able to provide you with information regarding how your dog's disease is likely to progress and whether effective treatments are available.

Your vet understands that finding out that your dog has cancer is very upsetting and that you will be eager to get the most accurate information possible in order to decide the best way forward for your canine companion.

Trust that your vet has your dog's best interests at heart - and yours.

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, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned about potential signs of cancer in your dog? Contact your vets at Rancho Village Veterinary Hospital to have your dog examined.