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How Long Can a Dog Live After Being Diagnosed With Cancer?

How Long Can a Dog Live After Being Diagnosed With Cancer?

Sometimes, our Thousand Oaks vets have the sad task of diagnosing a dog with cancer. An owner's first question is usually, 'How long can a dog live with cancer?' Today, our team explains why this is such a difficult question to answer, even with advanced diagnostics and treatment options. 

Cancer in Dogs

Similar to people, dogs can develop several cancers. Dog cancers may vary widely in the speed at which they grow and spread, how easily they can be treated and how we can predict prognosis and life expectancy for dogs diagnosed with a specific cancer. 

Your dog's breed, age, general health and other factors can also influence how long your dog survives after receiving a cancer diagnosis. 

Types of Cancers Commonly Seen in Dogs

Cancer can develop in dogs of any breed or size. That said, some cancers appear to strike certain breeds more often. For example, Scottish Terriers are known to have high rates of bladder cancer. 

Some common types of cancers seen in dogs include:

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

Predicting Life Expectancy For Dogs With Cancer

Trying to predict the life expectancy for a dog with cancer is extremely difficult for vets, particularly considering that few pets with cancer will die naturally. When symptoms become severe, many pet parents opt to euthanize their dog as a way to prevent suffering. Meaning that, for many dogs with cancer it is the pet owner that ultimately decides how long their dog lives following a cancer diagnosis.

With that in mind, if we look at an example of two dogs diagnosed with the same cancer. One dog may receive the very best oncological 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. 

It is also the case that some cancers are relatively easy to remove surgically if diagnosed early, whereas for other cancers surgery is not an option. For some chemotherapy may be effective, whereas other cancers may not respond to chemo at all.

Veterinary Oncology

While your vet will be able to give you information regarding the average lifespan of dogs with a particular cancer, this number may not be accurate in terms of how long your beloved pet might live. 

Nonetheless, your vet should 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.

Is your dog showing signs of cancer? Contact VSEC right away to book an examination for your pup. Our veterinary team can provide you with an accurate diagnosis for your pet, and recommend the most effective cancer treatment options available for your furry friend. 

New Patients Welcome

VSEC Thousand Oaks is accepting new patients! Our board-certified specialists and experienced emergency veterinarians are passionate about restoring good health to animal companions.

Contact (805) 492-2436