Can dogs get cancer?

You may have noticed changes in your dog like lethargy, decreased mobility or collapse and rushed it to the veterinary doctor. After a couple of tests and further investigations like ultrasound, biopsy, and cytology, the bad news lands, Dog Cancer! What now? The pain and frustration that follows the diagnosis may be the worst you have ever experienced. However, it is not the end because courtesy of extensive research, treatment for dog cancer is now possible. Chemotherapy, radiation or surgery or a combination can save your dog from cancer, look at progress at blue buffalo instagram account.

1. Chemotherapy

Just like the treatment of cancer in humans, chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to fight cancer. The choice of drugs will be determined by the type of cancer, its extent and the condition of your dog.

Administration of the drugs can be:

lntravenous- into the blood vessels

Intramuscular- into the muscle

Oral- through the mouth

Topical- on the skin

Subcutaneous- under the skin

lntratumorally- into the tumor

lnto a body cavity

If you are wondering whether chemo alone can suffice, then here is the answer. Yes, in some cancers, however, in others it may need to be combined with surgery or other treatment. In this case, it may be given as:

Neo-adjuvant- prior to surgery to reduce the size of the tumor

Adjuvant- after surgery to kill the remaining cancer cells

lnduction- to induce remission

Another concern may be about side effects like loss of hair, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and anemia. Note that it happens only in a small percentage and most dogs tolerate chemo well. If it happens, it can easily be treated changes to dosage or drug made.

2. Surgery

Where possible, physical removal of as much tumor as possible can be done surgically. It is actually the safer option. It may be combined with chemo being given before or after to ensure complete clearance. The dog may take some time to recover from the surgery but the results are incredible.

3. Radiation

The other treatment option is radiation which is actually a more localized therapy in cases where the other options cannot effectively manage cancer. An example is when the tumor is located close to vital organs like the heart or the brain and surgical removal poses a big risk. It takes about 4weeks where daily radiation is done and carries minimal side effects, unlike chemo. There may be some little discomfort, sedation issues or skin problems, however, these effects are easily controlled.


The latest development has been the use of antibody therapy to fight cancer. Here, compounds that are highly specific to the cancer cells are used to destroy the tumor cells. Although still being worked on, it presents a brighter future where effectiveness is assured with no effects on your dog.

What is Next?

Now that you know what options you have for the treatment for dog cancer, you can now discuss with your veterinary oncologist to establish the best way forward depending on the type and stage of cancer. For the question of the cost of the treatment, it will depend on the type of cancer, treatment option and how your dog responds.


With chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and immunotherapy, the diagnosis of cancer in your dog does not mean the battle is lost.