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Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Signs of Cancer in Dogs

Updated: November 8th, 2019


Many people as me what to look for to tell if their dogs have cancer. I thought I should give you a little summary of some of the biggies.

Many people as me what to look for to tell if their dogs have cancer.  Well, I must confess it is a tough question since there are so many cancers, and they all can present a little differently.  I thought I should give you a little summary of some of the biggies.

First, statistically, cancer TENDS to affect older dogs.  So, more lumps and bumps on a young dog are benign than cancerous.  One hallmark of a cancer is it worsens over time.  Cancers you can see usually get bigger. A growth that stays very small for years is not likely to be a true cancer.  Again, this is on average and is not a guarantee.

Some cancers are visible, while others are internal. The visible ones can be blackish (melanomas), purplish (hemangiosarcomas), fleshy, inflamed and red (histiocytomas), look like a non-healing open sore (squamous cell carcinomas), be firm, hard and deeply attached (fibrosarcomas), or have any appearance (mast cell tumor, the great imitator).

The internal ones are invisible, so we have to look for overall signs in the dog. When they are far along, cancers usually cause weight loss (cancer cachexia) without an obvious external reason. They often will cause less appetite.  Many times dog owners will tell me they think their dog got tired of his or her food.  They can cause low energy, where the dog will just lay around a lot.

NOTE: If you are reading this article and worried about your dog, do yourself and your dog a favor and get Dr. Dressler’s The Dog Cancer Survival Guide. It’s the best-selling animal health book for a good reason: it’s helped thousands and thousands of dogs just like yours face and cope — and even beat — cancer. And if you really want to help your dog, get the Dog Cancer Kit we put together for you, based on what’s been most helpful for other people who have faced this terrible illness.

-The Dog Cancer Vet Support Team

(The Team of Dog Lovers Behind This Site Who Understand What It Means to Have a Dog with Cancer)

Internal cancer signs also depend on where the cancer is happening. For example, a bone tumor (osteosarcoma) might cause a limp, or a bladder tumor (transitional cell carcinoma) might cause straining to urinate, blood in urine, or urinating small amounts frequently.  A tumor found in the wall of the stomach might cause vomiting, and in the intestine, diarrhea.

Some cancers cause internal bleeding, like hemangiosarcoma of the spleen.  This bleeding causes sudden weakness and wobbly legs.  A nasal tumor like a squamous cell carcinoma might cause discharge or bleeding from a nostril, or sneezing that won’t go away. Lung cancers (bronchial adenocarcima) or tumors of the heart can cause coughing. Lumps in the breast with discharge from teats could be mammary carcinomas.

The good news is, not all of these signs point to cancer.  Lots of other things can cause each and every one of these signs.  The important thing to remember is to get it checked out by someone who knows what they are doing.  If we are dealing with cancer, moving early is the way to go.

For more information on all the ways cancer can come about and what you can do, you will definitely want to read the Dog Cancer Suvival Guide.

Best to all,

Dr Dressler

Discover the Full Spectrum Approach to Dog Cancer

Leave a Comment

  1. Mike Ford on May 17, 2019 at 2:48 pm

    My dog is going on 17 Years with us…She has had 1 puppy…My wife got her spaded…She cant have anymore puppies…This has been 10 years ago.At first we didnt think any thing about it…But she kept getting bigger around her stomack area…Now she weights 16 ##s she is a Cha wawa…Teii me what is making her swell like this…Please…-

    • Molly Jacobson on May 17, 2019 at 3:07 pm

      Hi Mike, thanks for writing. Please take your dog to the veterinarian so you can find out what’s going on. A selling stomach could mean lots of different things, and your vet will be able to find out what’s happening and tell you the best course of action. Best of luck and give your girl a snuggle!

  2. Christine Adamonis on April 16, 2019 at 8:05 am

    Hello, I found a small lump the size of a small pee on my Min pin/Chi she is about 5 on her shoulder area. I feed her a raw diet with Organic eggs organic treats and veggies, I don’t use any chemicals in my home everything is organic.

    • Dog Cancer Vet Team on April 16, 2019 at 8:12 am

      Hi Christine,

      Thanks for writing. As Dr. Sue writes in this article, if a lump is larger than 1cm, or has been there for longer than a month, get it checked ASAP. No one can tell you what it is just by looking at it or feeling it. Dr. Sue recommends that you get your vet to aspirate the lump as soon as possible so that you know what you’re dealing with 🙂

  3. leeanne twitchen on February 18, 2019 at 3:52 pm

    hi my dog has a big lump her side

    • Dog Cancer Vet Team on February 19, 2019 at 7:54 am


      Thanks for writing! As we’re not veterinarians here in customer support, we can’t offer you medical advice. However, we can provide you with information based off Dr. Sue’s writings 🙂

      As Dr. Sue writes in this article, if a lump is larger than 1cm, or has been there for over one month, get it checked by a veterinarian ASAP.

  4. Lori on September 14, 2018 at 9:35 am

    I am very concerned about my 10 year old cocker spaniel who had a large bump on the top of his head. This bump has grown over the past or so and is now about the size of a golf ball. The mass is located on the top portion of his head and is hard. It has grown so fast and large it’s hard to know what we are dealing with. When he scratches his head I believe it causes it to bleed. Any words of advice on how to handle this?

  5. stacey on September 2, 2018 at 5:15 am

    my dog has a lump at the lower left nipple, which started small and in just a few weeks it has grown larger. its warm and hard to touch and is moving in a line down towards the rear of the dog. i thought something was not right because she was drinking more water than usual and her appetite has increased to the point where shes snatching off dinner plates. she doesnt seem ill as shes still very active. she never had many periods as other female dogs and is around 8 years old. iam really worried as i lost her mum to cancer.

    • Dog Cancer Vet Team on September 6, 2018 at 9:01 am

      Hello Stacey, thanks for writing. Dr. Sue, one of the co-authors of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide, wrote this amazing article on when you should get your dog’s lumps checked. If she has had the lump for over one month, or if it is larger than 1cm, go to your veterinarian, and get the lump aspirated.

      Here’s the link to the article: https://www.dogcancerblog.com/blog/lumps-on-dogs-when-to-get-them-checked-by-a-veterinarian/

      We hope this helps! 🙂

  6. Lynda White on October 30, 2014 at 4:22 am

    I need help my very very loved pet is acting different like no energy she hurts and has a large mass on her leg. Can anyone help me please

    • Susan Kazara Harper on October 30, 2014 at 7:09 pm

      Lynda, You need to make an appt with your vet. These symptoms could mean something serious is going on, or maybe something manageable. But if you don’t get the diagnosis you are only worrying, and your dog is not feeling better. I know you don’t want her to keep hurting. Please make an appt soon so you can both feel better.

  7. jasmin on October 20, 2014 at 3:01 am

    I have a 13 year old staff shes got black like wort lumps and her stomach as just bloons crys alot

    • Susan Kazara Harper on October 22, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Have you been to your vet? You need a diagnosis. Please get an appointment.

  8. Susan Kazara Harper on June 22, 2014 at 1:07 pm

    Karen, You need to get one vet who is either an oncologist or has a lot of experience with cancer. Are there multiple vets involved because there are different vets at the practice you go to? If so, I recommend you get in touch with that practice and ask for an appointment with the vet you have the most faith in. OR, go to a completely different practice and let them know all the symptoms, and all the treatments. The symptoms you describe are quite serious, and she is not going to get better without proper help. The bleeding and problems breathing are weakening her. Please don’t put it off. Make a call Monday morning and get her in for some help. I know it’s frustrating getting different answers. You’re the only one who can help her, and you do that by getting her to a vet and sticking with that person so he or she can follow your girl’s case. Good luck. We are all hoping for the best.

  9. Aphie on June 4, 2014 at 1:53 am

    Hey guys I need a little help here. Please help if possible. I’m 18 years old, working a minimum wage job, and received a Chihuahua from my friend about 3 months ago. I immediately fell in love with her. I’m still clueless as to how old she is but when she got to my house she was fat and now she barely eats anything but little bits and pieces of my food. She also has this huge red lump on her stomach and all she really does is sleep most of the day. I’m terrified. I already love this dog to death. Do you guys think it can be cancerous? As I mentioned earlier, I’m still only 18 with a job that can barely cover my cellphone bill, house necessities, etc. I can’t afford a vet. I really need help. Thank guys.

    • Susan Kazara Harper on June 4, 2014 at 4:03 am

      Hi Aphie,
      I can hear how much you love this little dog in your message. But there is so much more information I need to try to help. Could the lump be cancerous, yes, but also maybe not. Having a pet is expensive if you’re going to do right by them, and going forward you do need to figure out how to fit her in to your expenses. You’d feel terrible if your cell phone bill was paid but you had a emergency where she needed you to come through for her. I’m going to send you a separate email so we can check this out a little deeper, so please be on the look for it. Give your girl a cuddle from me,

  10. Nettie on May 13, 2014 at 7:56 am

    My jackrusselle is 13 years old has tremiors when sleeping and terrible bubbles coming out of his nose vet kepts putting him on meds and also loosing wait sleeps allay has to lean head down to breath

    • Susan Kazara Harper on May 13, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Hello Nettie,
      Well, something is surely not right with your little one. You haven’t said what meds your boy is on, but if you’re not clear about what your vet is treating, it’s time for direct questions. You can call the vet office and ask a nurse to help clear things up from your records. If your vet has not given you a diagnosis are you comfortable asking to consult with a different vet? There’s no way to make a guess on the internet. You’d be happier getting an idea of what’s going on and a treatment plan, and your dog will be happier as well. There is nothing wrong with asking for a second opinion, or going to another vet. He’s your dog my Dear. Do what you feel you must. Good luck to you both.

  11. Susan Kazara Harper on April 30, 2014 at 5:54 am

    Hello Kat,
    I apologize for the delay responding to you. We can’t say whether the bump on your dog’s nose could be cancer online. Just not possible without a vet’s exam. However, it is good news that it moves around and only in the skin. That’s a good sign but I urge you not to leave it at that. The fact that he’s skinny and doesn’t put on weight… no way to comment I’m afraid. So much information is not known. So here’s the bottom line. These blog posts would be good for you to look at; https://www.dogcancerblog.com/blog/worried-about-oral-or-nasal-tumors-heres-what-and-what-not-to-do/#.U2EbQK0dC0c and https://www.dogcancerblog.com/blog/diagnosis-of-nasal-tumors/#.U2Eb3a0dC0c and then if you make an appt with your vet, your dog can really be checked out for both the nasal bump and the weight situation. If you wait and worry, best case scenario is it turns out to be nothing, but you’ll be worrying. Worst case scenario is that this could be signs of a problem, and the longer you wait the worse the problem will be. In the meantime, regardless of the results, please do check into giving him the best nutrition with real food, which will help him stay healthier through his life. Please get him checked, Good luck and we’re all hoping for the best.

  12. Linda B. on April 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    If you find a lump on your dog (and you should be checking) make sure your vet aspirates it and looks at the cells. That is the ONLY way they can tell if it is benign, or a mast cell tumor. My beloved beagle had a lump and the vet did not aspirate. Three months later, a different vet checked it and it was stage 2 mast cell tumor (cancer). I was dumbfounded. Once this is diagnosed, see a specialist if you can. I was lucky to have an oncologist available in the Houston, TX area. The prognosis can be good, if it is found and fully removed (with large margins) as early as possible. I stress: No vet can look at a lump and tell if it is benign or malignant. Be the best pet parent you can and follow through with a diagnosis after an aspiration of the cells. I do not normally write on blogs, but if this helps just one person save their beloved cat or dog, it will have been worth it.

  13. Angie Thompson on April 7, 2014 at 7:51 am

    I have a 10 year old Chihuahua she’s coughing and can’t breath well my husband smoking. Worries me.He now has copd and his dad does to from second hand smoke do ya think dogs can get cancer from second hand smoke
    .I’m so worried about her she’s always with me when my husband smoke’s around her she gets under the cover. He’s going out side instead of the Dog. Please tell me what I can do to help her besides him going out side to smoke. She coughing and can’t breath good now she’s snessing a. A lot like 5 times in a row and her eye has some junk in it. What do yall think?

    • Susan Kazara Harper on April 7, 2014 at 8:04 am

      Hello Angie, Yes, dogs can get health problems, including cancer from being around smoke. Second hand smoke, and even third-hand smoke, which is something scientists are only recently talking about. We posted a blog about this subject a few months ago, and you can find it here: https://www.dogcancerblog.com/blog/smoking-second-hand-smoke-third-hand-smoke-and-dog-cancer/#.U0Lnca1dUnI Of course your little one may not have cancer, but it’s really worth getting her checked at the vets. She’s bound to have some reaction to being around the smokey environment, and your vet can run the tests and give her some help for her symptoms. It’s better to know for sure than to worry away, so before you get upset with your husband, please make an appt with your vet. Read the blog to get some more information first, that you can take to your vet so you’ll be ready with questions. Good luck, and to your lovely little Chihiahia, and your husband too.

  14. James Ingram on February 8, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    check out http://bassethoundcancer.wordpress.com and do you think this is legit?

    • Susan Kazara Harper on February 10, 2014 at 4:55 am

      Hi James, We really couldn’t comment on a product or treatment plan that someone else is using. We are always happy to hear that dogs are feeling better though. With all the information available on the internet, it’s important to look for the source of the ingredients (the more natural and organic, the better) the research proving that the ingredients are effective inside a living body, not just in the laboratory, and that there is some method of getting those ingredients inside a dog so they are ‘bioavailable’… i.e. that the goodness can get to the parts of the body where needed.

  15. Teresa Mitchell on May 3, 2013 at 4:23 am

    I did

  16. Teresa Mitchell on May 3, 2013 at 4:21 am

    I need some advise I notice my dog has been losing weight and so I started feed her with dog food mix. Now she eats just fine. Last nite I found where she had went pee and there was blood in it. Then today they something when she went pee. I called the vet. The blood is just in spots not all of her pee. Then I found to large lumps in her thout. I need to no what it could be ? She is still eating fine. She sleeps a lot tho. Please help me.

  17. yolanda m on April 23, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    i got this dog she lost all her hair and is starting to get black specks all over also she has this realy terrible odor like a rotting smell shes also having problems peeing and yelps and cries for no reason and gets a tooth infection every so manny months wat dose this sound ike

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on April 24, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Yolanda, I don’t like how this sounds.
      To be perfectly honest with you, this sounds like the dog is victim of neglect. This dog MUST get medical care by a licensed vet.
      Please, please take your dog in for proper, humane treatment at the vet.
      Dr D

  18. Kate on January 2, 2013 at 9:45 am

    My dog Twilight is a 2 3/4 old black Labrador bitch (working stock), who’s puppies have recently left home. She very successfully gave birth to 7 pups – 1 girl 6 boys – on the 11th of October with out any help from us (though were were there of course to help, watch & reassure her). After they were weaned they still always wanted milk but as they were developing teeth they were damaging Twilight’s nipples & surrounding area, because of this we had to keep the her & the puppies apart. All the pups were healthy & ideal weight & they sometimes met their mother through the bars of their crate.
    When the first pups left she was very shocked as to why the people were taking him out the door with him but after he left she didn’t even get up when the others left.
    Ever since her late pregnancy one of her back nipples was 1/2 black & slightly hard, I noticed that later when the last pup was staying with us & they were both together all the time as he finally stopped suckling on her that the nipple had gone completely black, dry & hard. Also i know that all dogs looze there fur but she has lost an HUGE amount a fur after the pups had left which i think is to stress & has not grown ANY of it back especially round her stomach, chest & oddly round her back legs/bottom & a little on her legs & paws.
    We are going to get an appointment at our vets I am not sure what the cause is but I was told by the vet to keep an eye on her nipples when she was pregnant as a procautonal thing to all pregnant dogs.
    Sorry about all the information if there was too much you didn’t need to know, she is my first dog we got her when i was 10 & we have been on the BBC and she means the world to me & I don’t want her to be in any unnessersery pain or any danger.
    Thank you so much for reading to this point!
    Best wishes
    Kate & Twilight

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on January 2, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Dear Kate,
      my guess is that the odds of this being a cancer are not that high. But get it checked out to be safe!
      Dr D

  19. Erica on December 30, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Also he looses alot of hair which probably is normal but I never seen this on him before or just never noticed. Again don’t have the money to get him examined by a vet and I am very scared.

  20. Erica on December 30, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I have a dog that is about 8 years old maybe 9, he is a tan chuihana(sp). I was just normally petting him when I went over a lump like a golf ball. My dog just got attacked by another dog and I thought was the problem then I read this and got curious my question is how can I tell if it is a mass or just from the attack. My dog does not eat alot and is very lazy, but likes to go on walks and car rides but tires out easily. I don’t know what to do because my family and I don’t have the money to get him to a vet to check it out. The lump is on his right side near his leg. Please if anyone can tell me what I can do it will help me. My dog is my best friend and I can’t loose him yet.

  21. Dorothy on December 24, 2012 at 10:46 am

    My dods name is Baby Girl she is a boxer and a big sweetherat and has a huge appetite to match lately she has begun a rapid weight loss to the point were her ribs and spine are clearly visible, there has also been dischage coming from her butt and we now need to put a towel under her wherever she sits, we have a sceduled vet appointment that we hope will tell us but they are not top rate, does my dog have cancer?

  22. Victoria on December 24, 2012 at 4:58 am

    I have a 9 month old german shepherd and have noticed a bony lump about an inch from the tip of her nose… It is very hard, feeling just like bone. If you press it, she doesnt seem to notice it and she never seems bothered by it, shes very active and has a great appetite but it seems to have gotten a little bigger, about the size of a half marble. Im just curious what it could be and if it could harm her…

  23. Margarett on December 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm


    So my dog is recently out of heat and I just started to notice that her second, Third and fourth set of nipples have a purple shading around them. What might that mean?

  24. maria blanco on December 16, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Dr. Dressler,

    My 14 year old, male chihuahua started loosing his teeth and his lower jaw dropped, his tongue is sticking out all the time and he drools. It seems when we touched near that area that it hurts him (his jaw). I am trying to give him blended food because he can’t chew. I am concerned about him dying. I am afraid i will take him to the vet and he will suggest we have to put him to sleep. Please give me some advice. Should i take him to the Vet?


    Maria Blanco.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on December 26, 2012 at 1:16 pm

      Dear Maria
      please bring your dog to the vet and express your concerns verbally that you wrote in your post. Your vet should listen to you and take your feelings into consideration.
      Dr D

  25. Maria on December 13, 2012 at 7:04 am

    I’m so glad that I found this website. After reading all of these stories I realize I’m not alone. I would appreciate some advice and insight on my dogs situation. I rescued her from the shelter 2 years and 10 months ago. she is such a good dog and has been healthy till 3 months ago. She started with diarrhea on and off. I tried different things and it didn’t work so I took her to the vet. She had lost some weight and it was dehydrated so the vet gave her subcutaneous fluid and an injection of Ampicillin. He also prescribed Metronidazole, Amoxicillin and told me to give her rice and chicken boiled which she loved. I waited a couple days she wasn’t getting better so I went back with her for a complete blood work and was told everything looked normal with the exception of low protein and calcium. The vet advised to change her diet to Hill’s prescription diet R/D and Prostora Max. After 5 days I was back at the vet her diarrhea wasn’t as watery but it was still going. So I was ordered a sonogram and prescribed Prednisone. The vet said she might have cancer. I’ve cried so much, I love her like she’s one of my children. She did great for the last 3 days but yesterday the diarrhea came back. I already made an appointment to see the vet tomorrow morning. Dr. D. can you give me some insight on my dogs situation. I would appreciate. Also thank you for caring so much about these animals.

  26. Gillian on November 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    Can you please help me , my dog just got spayed four days ago because of ovary infection . I brought her to the vet because i found bumps near the nipples at the rear end and they gave her an x-ray. The vet said it was early stage of ovary infection and hence they spayed her . However the point is even after operation the bumps were still there. (At first there was only one). The bumps are under the skin , the biggest is 1cm in diameter. Some are visible while some can only be found when touching the area . Does she have Mammary cancer ?

  27. Gillian on November 26, 2012 at 2:47 am

    And to add, the bumps cannot be seen , it only can be felt by touching the area (under the skin)

  28. Gillian on November 25, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    If my dog had an x-ray to see if she had infected ovaries and got spayed 2 days ago .The x-ray showed no tumor but they found out that she had infected ovaries. The point is , after surgery there are still small lumps near her rear end (near her nipples). Does she have Mammary cancer ?

    Note : She’s 11 this year

    • Alicia Ramsey on April 8, 2013 at 1:38 pm

      My yellow Laborador Retriever had swollen
      Tits on her right side thought maybe she was
      Pregnant, now her tits are black & purple colored
      Concerned that this might be cancer?

      • Dr. Demian Dressler on April 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm

        Dear Alicia
        there are several possibilities, like mastitis (infected mammary glands), pseudoestrus (false pregnancy, a hormonal issue), and cancer. In the same way that you would get this checked out by a physician if this health issue was happening to a woman, it should also be checked by a veterinarian for your dog. Please get it diagnosed by a vet.
        I hope this helps
        Dr D

  29. Diane on November 23, 2012 at 4:54 am

    I have a 4 year old Redbone Coonhound, who started limping about 6 weeks ago. It started off just a slight limp, then progressed to where he could not put weight on it. We took him to the vet for a x-ray, and the vet saw something odd with his bone, a slight raise on his humorous bone. The vet said she was not sure if this was cancer or not, and instructed us to put him in metacam for 2 weeks and see if he improves. The metacam seems to be helping, for he only limps after he gets up from laying down and now only for about 3 minutes, then he is running around crazy. We keep second guessing ourselves and wondering if the metacam is masking the pain of the cancer or is he really getting better and it was just a injury of sort? Does metacam help dogs with cancer or would he still be in pain and limping? Thanks for any advice that can help this confused mom.

  30. paul o'neill on November 15, 2012 at 9:08 am

    my 12 year old dog has a huge cyst or tumor coming through head-this happened a few weeks ago and seems to be getting worse.how do i know if he should be put to sleep? vet has no clue but surgery. cyst bleeds a lot but dog also has much hair loss but does not seem to be in any pain

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on November 27, 2012 at 11:57 am

      Dear Paul
      you should get the lump tested to see what it is. That way you know whether surgery is a good option, and also what other options there are.
      Dr D

    • Paul F on March 7, 2013 at 11:37 am

      Dear Dr. Dressler,
      We have a beautiful Yellow Labrador Retriever who just turned two in December. She’s recently showing two round red circles about 2-3 inches in diameter on both of her hind quarters just in front of her rear legs but midway up her back towards her spine.
      I started brushing her today and one of the spots caused her some discomfort when I ran the brush nearby. I think its odd that they are on both sides of her in a symmetrical way – almost where her kidneys would be.
      Is this a standard occurrence in dogs of this breed?
      Some quick notes: She was neutered early – around 9 months old. She’s an indoor dog and has not gotten much exercise lately. (The kids don’t want to walk her in the cold) I walk her when I can.
      Anything jump out at you?


      • Dr. Susan Ettinger on March 11, 2013 at 7:47 pm

        It’s too hard to guess on the blog. Bring your Lab to the vet for an exam and maybe an aspirate or biopsy.
        Good luck, and let me know how it turns out!
        All my best, Dr Sue

  31. Tara on November 12, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I have a 7 year old white American Bulldog. She has a large mass on one of her breast and I took her to the vet and he said basically that it was no big deal but he could take it off if I wanted him to. Well it has gotten bigger and now she has several more coming up. They start off looking like a small purple mole and then they get bigger. She also has pimple like things all over her belly and the vet said that some white dogs get those from laying on concrete and he gave her some antibiotics. It cleared up some but then came back and she doesn’t go outside except on a leash. Both of these problems started at the same time can you tell me what you think it may be without seeing them?

  32. dav on November 9, 2012 at 5:28 am

    the lumps are internal except one. this type of cancer isnt een common in great pyrs so im cursed.

  33. dav on November 9, 2012 at 5:27 am

    perhaps you can asnwer a question for me doc..why am I so unlucky. I have always fed my dogs the highest quality grain free diets I dont put pesticides like frontline on them and yet my first dog a golden died of grade 3 mast cell cancer at age 8…and my new dog a great pyrenees who ive only had for one yr has tons of lumps that are not going away. He is around 3.5.

    terrible he has cancer now as well. It started with one lump a few months ago. The vet wouldnt aspirate it and we didnt want himt o get surgery so we did a wait and see….and now he has more.

  34. Crystalin on November 4, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I recently started to notice that my dogs urine smells like sardines, would u happen to know the reason why that is? This is the first time i have ever smelled that and she is 9 yrs old and in pretty healthy….. Please help

    Thanks … Crystalin

  35. Morgan on November 3, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    My 14 and half year old male dog is wobbling when he walks. He eats a lot but when you touch him you can feel his bones. you can even see it but he eats good. I’m confused as to what could cause this in him?

  36. Katelyn on November 1, 2012 at 11:27 am

    I have a shih tzu and there is a lump on his back. It started small and stayed small until recently, within the year, it started to get bigger and have a reddish tint. Its now pretty thick and squishy. Also its on his back, a little to the left of the spine not directly above it. He sometimes has these episodes where he cant move his hindquaters very well and seems to be in pain (we thought is was occasional constipation) but now he’s doing it again and wont stop shivering. Its not cold in the house but his whole body shakes. He still wants food, he always had a love for any type of scrap food, and is going to the bathroom pretty well but still it seems somethings wrong. He’s about 9-10 years old and I was wondering if u had any answers. Im 17 and I need a good reason to take him to the vet in order for my parents to do it so please help.

    • Laura on February 28, 2013 at 10:43 am

      Hello Dr D.
      I have a 9 year old shetland sheepdog. Generally, she is a very gentle natured dog, happy, eats well, no health concerns and just loves company, peace and quiet. Today, my mum was petting her when.she got home and noticed a lump on her chest – about an inch in diamter, un der the skin wtth a fluid like feel and it could be moved under the skin. She phoned the vet to book an appointment and then after, noticed another 2 seoerate, almost identical lumps, on her tummy. She had a vaccination a week ago although this was just above her collar on her neck. Should we be worried? thank you for your time and advice. L Shaw

      • Dr. Demian Dressler on March 6, 2013 at 4:28 pm

        Dear Laura,
        please go to the vet to get it checked. I doubt it is directly related to the vaccination.
        Dr D

  37. Jaime B. on October 25, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Hi my name is Jaime we as a family have had our dingo/ mix since she was found we think she was about 5-6 weeks old she was left in a shopping bag at my moms work we ended up keeping her and naming her pearl well anyways we recently found a baseball sized lump right by her poop shoot now my family struggles to provide for our own families and my mother also struggles to care for herself and her animals and our pearl was taken to the vet and they said it could be cancer but because my mom can’t pay they won’t dont anything about so they gave her pain mess and told my mom to keep her comfy well just over night pearls back legs became cold to the touch and is puking is this normal to happen soo fast, and are we wrong for not trying to sell everything and get this tumor taken care of please help we all feel horrible and helpless because we can’t come up with any money to get my childhood dog taken care of?!?!?!? We are lost please oh please help?!!??

  38. Christian mcgee on October 19, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Hi Dr,

    My bull mastiff, marley who is only 1 year ten months old is currently at the vets, for the past 7 days he hasn’t being eating and throwing up for the first 5 of them. Last night I noticed his stomach had bloated up with in a couple of hours and I could feel a golf ball sized lump in his stomach too, so we took him straight to the late night emergency vets, they did an xray on him and an ultrasound and found that his stomach and chest had fill’d up with fluid, and are unsure on what the lump might be until they send off some fluid to the lab’s to get tested, before his swelling we had taken him to two other vets which both said he just had an upset stomach and did not find anything wrong, I would be very gratefull for any advice or information you could give us, thanks for your time Dr.


  39. Jatyn S on October 7, 2012 at 11:32 am

    My dog has a bump on his ribs that you can see. He is shivering and throwing up. I don’t know what to do. 🙁

  40. Caroline on October 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I have a 4 year old mutt. I just discovered that under her lower left nipple there is a large growth, approximately the size of a ping pong ball. It has not been there long as I have never noticed it before. It is hard and there is no discoloration. The nipple is not infected and she does not act like it bothers her for me to touch it. She had one heat cycle and then was fixed. In the last month we have had a little bout with fleas and I am hoping maybe this is what has caused this although I doubt it because it is not irritated at all. Any ideas? I have been doing research and doggie breast cancer is continually popping up. Are there any other signs that go along with that? I am taking her to a vet in the morning but I am young and single and do not have a lot of money to spend and I am crossing my fingers for some more information online. Any information would be helpful. Thank you for this great website!!!!!! I have been in a panic all night and am somewhat relieved now that I have found this.

  41. Jessica on September 30, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    I have a male 8 and a half years old. He is what we believe part lab and part beagle. He was gaining weight or so we thought. He doesnt eat that much like he used to (this dog was a serious eater). I went outside a couple days ago to check him over normally i cant do that cause of my dog who will attack him so this time i just let her go nuts in the house. He normally stays in his dog house laying around now. Come to find out he is full of fluid and has several lumps down by his tummy, under his legs, and a huge one on the top right side of the bottom part of his neck and it pretty much goes all the way around getting a little smaller as it goes around. The other night my cat was going nuts which she has never done before. Everyone was fine so I went outside to check on the dogs. The dog had a runny nose but when i went back out in the morning his nose was no longer runny. I would like to know what you think of this and when i touch him he doesnt seem to be in pain but am wondering will there come to where he will be in pain? I dont have much money so i cant really afford a huge vet bill but at the same time I know something has to be done. on most of the sites i have been reading they say weight loss well where is the fluid build up coming from? Please help. Thanks

  42. Ann on September 29, 2012 at 2:49 am

    Dr Dressler,
    My 7 year old Lab mix has a good size knot on her tail and she is not using her tail. I’ve read articles about limp tail syndrome, which is exactly the symptoms she has except for the knot. The knot started small and got bigger but has not changed in a while now. This is the third time her tail has gone limp, but always functions normally within a few days. The lump is my greatest concern. What is your recommendation?

  43. Crystal on September 27, 2012 at 6:18 am

    I have two dogs. My male was neutered two years ago, but my female is still intact. She did have one litter two years ago by my male before he was fixed. She is a 5 year old terrier mix and I am not sure exactly what breeds are in her bloodline. I never saw her parents. For a while now, she has had this small fleshy growth on her right side where her rib cage is.

    She has not shown any sign of illness. She has seemed to have gotten lazier over the past year, but I just take that as normal behavior. The only thing that stands out is that she has been really bad about getting people food for a while. She eats her kibble, but not much of it. You can’t leave any human food out because she has long enough legs to grab it when you aren’t looking. She seems to act as if she is constantly hungry even tho all my pets are free fed.

    The growth is usually flesh colored, but varies in size and at times almost looks purple. It seems to be tiny for a while and then it puffs up or seems bigger and then goes down again. I can touch it and mess with it without her acting like it’s painful, so I’m not sure what it could be. It’s not hard at all. I can’t remember exactly when I first noticed it, but I know it was after she had that litter.

    I am taking my 3 year old male terrier mix into the vet today because he has been having seizures for a while now. I know she needs her vaccines updated, so I plan on taking her in for those soon anyway. Should I have the vet run tests to make sure the growth isn’t serious?

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on September 28, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Dear Crystal,
      with 1 in 3 dogs getting cancer it would seem smart to get the lump checked (a diagnosis).

      • beba on February 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm

        I have a four year old yorkie I am scared for her because I searched about cancer for dogs and it says that bad breath,and stuffy nose are sighns for cancer and my dog has that I also wanted to know if a lot of black spot are signs of cancer

        • Dr. Susan Ettinger on March 1, 2013 at 12:24 pm

          Those can be signs of cancer, but it could be also something benign. The next step is to see your vet. Good luck!!
          All my best, Dr Sue

  44. Ellie on September 26, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I have an 11 year old Golden Retriever, over the last couple of weeks she has lost a lot of weight and she has been acting strangely/not her self.
    She has a couple of lumps, could this be anything?
    Could this be cancer, or something else?

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on September 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm

      Dear Ellie,
      Ok, we need to look at this scenario and let me give you some info..
      just as if you were losing weight and did not know why, and if you knew you had a 75% chance of passing away due to cancer (which are the statistics with Goldens)- you would see a doctor…correct? Please take your dog to the vet to at least be safe.
      Dr D

  45. abby on August 16, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    my catahoula leopard dog has a baseball size knot on her back (close to her shoulder blades) i have had her almost 7 years and over the years she has gotten fat, had her thyroid tested and our vet said to go ahead and put her on the medicine. its been about three weeks now and ive noticed the knot and her tail use to be thick and pretty big..not it is very skinny and her hair isnt completely gone but it is very thin. i dont believe the medicine could cause all of this but you never know with medicine now days i guess. we have her an appointment with the vet this saturday to see if it could be something simple or our worst nightmare. is there anything you could tell me about the knot or what could be causing her hair on her tail to fall out/ make it super skinny? i would very much appreciate it since i am very worried about her. honestly tomorrow couldnt come faster so saturday will be here. thanks for your time, hopefully you can put my mind to rest.

  46. krissy on August 13, 2012 at 9:54 am

    my beloved dog”Jake” of 11 years was diagnosed with Hemangiosarcoma. the vet told us he has a tumor in his heart and that there was nothing they could do for him. My husband and I started researching online and we got Dr. Dresslers book, changed his diet, water and started him on supplements, one being Yunnan baiyao. After finding this blog i relized there is a red pill for emergency. how do i know when to give him this? He has been taking it for 3weeks now twice a day.(we started him on this the day we found out, the vet relunctly told us about it and we feel it saved his life as we didn’t think he was going to make it through the night) Should i keep him on it? he has been coughing a lot today and it scares me becuase this is how he was when we first brought him to the vet. I feel as if i can’t even call my vet because they where so not helpful!

  47. leanne on August 11, 2012 at 11:54 am

    i just want everyone to know there is alot of donating of money to probono places but there is no help!!!! i live in eugene, ore and have had several dogs the two i have left are were in good shape except the redheeler, didnt have her fixed many moons ago so she now has several little tumors on left 4th nipple, do u think i can get any help financially?? hell no! saw liz grey she said she couldnt even give me a round about number for surgery, so she sent me to community vet. center and saw doc there she said its not ergant, so now my doggy has a patch of tumors growing and also tons of blk lumps on her back, its the most cruelst thing seeing her die and not one vet will help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i will never donate to any of these places ever or step into them, they take your money but will not help with surgeries and give you a paper with tons of so-called places to help financially but none know anything about it, what a joke and i will never own a animal again!

    • Priya on February 17, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      it help me a lot but unfortunately i am late to see it . my dog died soon . then i saw this side from her symptons . i guess every one should see this side quickly . so save your cute dog from all kind of dieseases its really really usef

  48. sheila bohrer on June 29, 2012 at 4:29 am

    I have a white female boxer who will be 13 in august she has quite a few lumps and bumps one was growing rapidly so we had it biopsied and it was not cancer thank goodness well she has developed one on the back of her neck started out small now is quite bigger it has started busting mostly brown yuck now the only thing that comes out is blood it just wont heal up ive tried antibiotics i have shaved the area and clean it regularly i have tried neosprin i have tried tea tree oil just not sure what to do

  49. Judy on May 31, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I have a 7 year old lab. I first noticed that he had lost a lot of weight but previous Dr visit they said he was too fat so I had cut down on his food. Turns out he had lost 20 lbs. His appetite was bad a week ago when i took him to the Vet. They gave him an exam and blood panel and said they thought it was liver disease or damage and possible cancer. he was given some homeapathic medicine that cost me $100. Total visit was $300. In less than a week he has stopped eating all together. he is so weak he can’t sit up without leaning. When I called the Vet again to tell him what was going on, they said they didn’t want to see him again until 7-10 days had passed to retake blood tests and check levels. I’m affraid he’s going to die before they get it figured out. I have an appointment in half an hour with Vet. I am going to ask them to give him an IV so he can get some energy back. They plan to take xrays or do ultrasound today. I lost my job a week ago and will have to pay $100’s of dollars more today. I just want to know what’s wrong so I can get treatment. They medicine I got has not helped at all. I don’t know what to do and my baby is dying before my eyes.

  50. Carol on March 31, 2012 at 4:34 am

    I am very upset my 2year old dog had to be put to sleep. I took it to the vet because it had lost weight and wasnt eating much and had been vomiting and diarrhoea. They took blood which came back ok they then took xrays and done an ultrasound, they could not see anything clearly so they told me they would have to open my dog up. I was worried but this was the only way they could find our what was wrong. I then got a phone call to say that my dog had tumours everywhere the spleen and kidneys and i asked could they just take these out they said it was very aggressive and there was to many, and i asked what should i do they told me the best thing i could do was to put my dog to sleep. I just would like to know did i do the right thing. I miss him really bad and i just wonder would he had lived for much longer and was there anything else i could have done.

  51. Suzanne Fox on March 21, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I forgot to add that due to the location of the tumor, Jester would have to undergo a thoracoscopy to obtain a sample for biopsy. Having confirmation would not change my opinion against major surgery for a gain of possibly 6 more months or so? I’m committed to giving him quality to his life. I am very much against putting patients through hell for a few more months of poor quality life. I’ll get off my soapbox now!

  52. Suzanne Fox on March 21, 2012 at 7:43 am

    Hi Dr D,
    Re: Jester/Dalmatian
    The radiologist report showed no abnormal pathology, she was able to visualize the soft tissue mass on the lateral view and felt it was static. Thoracic trachea midline where previously it had been displaced. Cardiac and mediastinal area normal. She could not determine a reason for his cough. He’s on Augmentin-has only had 2 doses thus far-but better this afternoon.
    My questions for you please:
    Would you assume bronchial adenocarcinoma?
    No lymphadenopathy on last noc CXR
    This is his diagnosis, but I’m confused as to what to expect or would this be a typical response pattern to steroids. His symptoms first began the end of Dec.
    I would be most appreciative of your assessment. I do not have an interest in putting him through a pneumonectomy. He has had an extensive work up without evidence of metastatic disease.
    If bronchial cancer, when would you “typically” expect signs of metastatic disease?
    The surgeon felt his life expectancy would be a few weeks to a few months and the steroids would be effective for his cough, but would not stop tumor growth.
    I’m sure you can appreciate my concerns as well as my confusion.
    Again, I thank you for your time, interest and dedication to animals with cancer.
    Suzanne Fox

  53. Suzanne Fox on March 20, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Hi Dr D,
    I wanted to update you on my Dalmatian, Jester. The atypical cells were few and the culture from the tracheal wash was negative. The Augmentin was stopped. He then had his surgical consult with the suggestion that a right pneumonectomy would be necessary because the tumor/mass was felt by the surgeon to be at 5 cm in size. I did not consent for this procedure for many reasons. I’m told it is assumed to be malignant, but not proven. He was placed on prednisone 30mg/am, weaning phenobarbital, and continuing with Pepcid and carafate.
    Interestingly, within a week of starting carafate, his arching behaviors resolved. He has been on pred for almost a month and has done well. I had him examined this evening by a trusted ER vet because Jester had developed a wet expiratory wheeze. My assumption and fear was that his tumor had grown, etc. His oxygen sat was great and on 2v CXR the tumor appeared to have decreased significantly! He does have uveitis and was placed and eye drops and Augmentin for his kennel cough. A few of my other dogs have been coughing in a similar manner. I am in the process of moving, lots of dust disturbed due to dirt backyard which is fenced. I have not routinely had them vaccinated for bordatella because I do not board my dogs. I would be most interested in your thoughts about my boy’s recent CXR. I will get a copy of the radiologist’s report in the am by email.
    Thank you so much for your input!!
    Suzanne Fox

  54. Suzanne Fox on March 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I need to add that my dog has been on phenobarbital when he first developed these symptoms,and, I wonder since adenocarcinoma mets to the brain, he has been left on it.
    Darn spellchecker: expiratory wheeze and Augmentin are the correct words.
    Thank you!

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on March 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      Dear Suzanne,
      are you a medical person?
      Anyway I am sorry to hear your Dalmation is in discomfort and coughing and having to go through all this. I would focus on the atypical cells. If the yield was high (adequate cell #), I would agree with the surgery. If low yield, might try scope, fine needle aspirate, or repeat wash. Outside chance of foreign body, scope would help.
      The arching is more suggestive of back pain- disc degeneration, spinal mets or primary tumor, or some other cause of pain in that area. Lung tumor does not usually cause that pain presentation in my opinion. I’d focus on back with more imaging. If cannot do then try metacam (careful of liver on pheno) with tramadol and methocarbamol and absolute rest (strict-no walks even) for 5 days to assess response. Would use famotidine too. As usual, have vet supervision…
      I hope this helps

  55. Suzanne Fox on March 1, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    I have a 9 yr old male Dalmatian who was healthy until the end of December. He had obtained a metal can of dog food on the sly and appeared to have ingested metal along with the food. Over the next few days, he stopped barking and his appetite was decreased. My vet examined him and said he had a very raw pharynx and prescribed a soft diet, doxycycline, and Tussinex for the cough he developed intermittently. This cough was associated after food and fluid intake as well as with hexercise. I would describe it as an exploratory wheeze with the intention of being productive, but wasn’t. He was his old self within about 4 days. About 7 days later, I noticed he had assumed an arching position with strong shaking. He was aware and afebrile. He seemed to be fine after about 20 minutes. The next day, he assumed the same positionand appeared to be in pain. He was seen by my vet who did abdominal films, labs, ua. Only abnormality was high urine pH and crystals. Placed on Cipro for 3 weeks along with Tramadol. I ended up bringing him to our 24hr vet ER/specialty referral practice due to continued and prolonged arching episodes. Again, no new diagnosis, but was seen by neurologist who did not feel these arching and shaking episodes were seizures. My dog was hospitalized and the attending ER vet felt it was a response to pain, although repeated attempts to elicit pain were always negative. The neurologist started him on Pepcid and Carafate and my dog was so much better within the week. He finished his course of Cipro and has begun to worsen. Cough is back, especially with oral intake, and cxr showed only TB lymphadenopathy. He underwent a chest CT with endotracheal lavage this past Tuesday. The CT report shows a 2cm soft tissue mass to the right and slightly caudal to the tracheal bifurcation. There is somewhat mottled contrast enhancement of this mass. No other pulmonary pathology seen. The endotracheal washing showed large amount of inflammation and was bloody along with some atypical cells. My dog was sent home on augmenting and is doing a little bit better. He has not barked in 2 days, but is eating canned food well. The internist is awaiting the culture report. He is convinced my dog has a bronchial cancer and that surgical removal of the lung is what’s needed for both diagnosis and remission.
    Of course, I have concerns: what are your thoughts, Dr. D? Could he not have gained cells for diagnosis with use of a flexible bronch? What about the possibility of foreign body aspiration? I’ve not yet spoken to surgery or oncology and would very much appreciate your feedback on my dog’s condition and your take on this situation.
    I thank you so very much for taking the time to read my long email!
    I look forward to your reply.
    Suzanne Fox



  56. Cherie on January 17, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Brenda…. So sorry about your beloved dog! Did they ever look at the stomach? My friend just had a dog die w/in 48 hours after swallowing a penny. The copper is apparently VERY toxic to dogs. Again…. so sorry Brenda!

  57. Brenda Tulane on January 12, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    I just had to put my dog to sleep. She could not stand or eat. It happened quick. First she went pee in the bed, then could not walk without falling. Then any fluids went right thru her. Her eyes had a film like an infection. She could not keep any thing down. Her blood panels came back with not 1 thing positive. She was like in a coma. It happened within less than 5 days. What did I miss? Everything leaned towards cancer. She was only 7 years old. I am looking for answers. My Vet told me that nothing was positive and I made the decision not to make her suffer. Medicine and fluids were not helping. The last day she was breathing heavy and like in a coma. Please tell me I made the right decision.

  58. Serena S. on October 24, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Hi I would like to update everyone on scotch he does not have cancer. the lumps were oil glands that were a little inflamed but, nothing to worry about. Our vet compared the larger lump to a pimple so still nothing to worry about. Most of the comments are sad so I wanted to have some good news here on the blog but everyone else who is going through hard times and pain are in my prayers.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on October 26, 2011 at 12:57 pm

      Great news Serena!
      Thanks for the update!

  59. ann vinci on October 21, 2011 at 3:31 am

    I’ve just been told that my dog has cancer. I’m waiting for test results to find out what kind and where the cancer is. The vet thinks he might have masses. In the meantime, he won’t eat. I have tried everything. Meats, veggies, processed foods, cheese, etc. He is not interested. I have pureed his food and spoon feed him and within the hour of feeding he throws up. He is losing weight and has a nasty hacking cough. What do I do?


    • Dr. Demian Dressler on October 26, 2011 at 1:12 pm

      Dear Ann,
      you should contact your veterinarian promptly. There are appetite stimulants that can be given (mirtazipine, cerenia for example) as well as anti nausea meds (famotidine, metoclopramide, etc.) You can use ginger too (all of these are discussed in the Guide for more info).
      Your vet should find the reason for the loss of appetite and deal with it. These meds can help as well.
      I hope this helps
      Dr D

  60. Lorna on October 19, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Hi. Your vet has given her some drugs, and they will take the swelling of the lymph nodes down for a few days or weeks, and she will feel better. My collie cross labrador had lymphoma, but no early signs such as diarrhea and vomiting, so I only took her to the vet when the nodes were already swollen. She had a course of various drugs which were injected into a leg vein. This kept her going for 11 months from diagnosis, and it was obvious that she felt better for most of that time. But after each chemo, she would lose appetite for a couple of days. The vet said that without treatment she would have only had a few weeks. I later found out from a vet friend that dogs rarely last more than a year, even with the best chemo treatment. Perhaps it depends how far advanced it is when diagnosed. I wish you luck, and I will check this blog again in a few days. I ended up her accidentally whilst looking for info on dog skin itching.

  61. yvonne on October 16, 2011 at 9:35 am

    About a month ago, my 6 yr old rottie, had diarrhea and vomiting, after the usual removal of foods until it improved, she seemed better. Last week I awoke to find her not at all well. Took her to a vet who assessed that we needed blood work, when it came back with blood counts indicating abnormalities, he did an ultrasound as well as aspirating the swollen lymph nodes he had found. Place her on amoxil, flagyl as well as ursidal and 2 days later the results returned positive for lymphoma. It was a very sad diagnosis and after sitting and crying for a bit, I went outside to gather my thoughts and she followed me out (for the prior 2-3 days was barely even moving) upon sitting for a bit I decided to take her for a stroll and when we returned, she laid in the sun for a few hours and during that time seemed to slowly improve. Since that diagnosis, she has continued to improve and Im not sure I can even feel the lymph nodes today,
    Could the vet, blood work, aspriates been wrong?? She seems quite well this weekend.

    • Dr. Demian Dressler on October 20, 2011 at 8:13 pm

      Dear Yvonne,
      I would perhaps get a second fine needle aspirate done, and make sure a pathologist reviews the test results. this way you can be more certain as a dog cancer diagnosis (i don’t have to tell you) is serious business.

      • Edyta on January 26, 2013 at 7:07 pm

        I have 16 years old dog. She has several breast lumps. Some small and one in size of tangerine. 3 weeks ago one of small ones opened. There was thick pus coming out. I took out all pus and it healed pretty fast. One week ago the biggest one opened also. First it was one little hole and then three. After couple days she stopped eating, drinking and walking. Last Sunday she looked like she’s really dying. But then on Monday she started to move from place to place licking all the time this lump. I tried to give her food with spoon and she started to eat. Then I helped her with water and she was drinkin. She started to look better, moved much more and her eyes opened more wide. Tuesday she was completely much better, she started to react when she saw me, she ate, walked more but then i saw that this lump got just totally opened. There was no more little hole but huge opening that i could see everything inside. But it looked like once it opened that much, she started to feel better. Wednesday she was walking all by herself and eating. Thursday even better, Friday was just perfect, I even took her outside and she was walking like before. I put everyday fresh band aid and neosporin on her ulcera. besides that i clean it with iodine. Unfortunately today for some reasons she looks bad again. She doesnt move too much, just sleeping in her bed. She ate a little bit but then threw up. When i look at the ulcera, it looks much better than first day. I went to local vet and the only thing they told me is to put her down or do the surgery to remove it but then they said that anyway she wont probably survive surgery. As you know surgery like that is really expensive. They told me price almost $3000. I cannot affort it. My question is, does she has any chances to get over it, I mean survive? Or ulcera leads right to death no matter how im trying to help her by myself? Please unswer my question…

  62. UPDATE: JD on October 4, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Just a quick update,

    We have had to put JD down. He had liver failure, pancreatitis(sp?) and diabetes.

  63. Serena S. on September 30, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    H Doctor. I just want to start off by thanking u for doing this free of charge thats really kind I have a not even two year old shihtzu/yorkie mix named Scotch hes always been and still is full of energy he has a lump on his back near his tail it has been there for sum time but is very small about half the size of a,peanut cut short ways we r getting him checked out on monday but I just want your professional opinion. Ok so I already told u about his first lump from petting him my mom found a “lump” its pointy nd about the size if a needle (the point) today I found a third thats probably about the same size minus the point. Can u give me some hope feel free to ask any questions. Thanks once again.

  64. UPDATE: JD on September 29, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    Just to let you know:

    We took JD through to a new vet, we have had scans and xrays, and blood tests.

    No tumors, so that’s good news, But his liver is really swollen. And we’ve been told he will have to be medicated now for the remainder. But at least he is going to be better.

    • Demian Dressler on October 12, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      Hang in there you guys, and nice work on being your dog’s health care advocate!
      Dr D

      • Julie on January 16, 2013 at 4:41 am

        Hi, my 13.5 year old Samoyed/Sheppard started off having a small pink bump on his nose( kinda looks like a wart) but it has got bigger and turning black. Any ideas what it could be?

        Thank you so much!

  65. Christina Flack on September 22, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Hi Dr. Dressler,

    I just ordered your book today. My girl was recently diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma. She is a 7 year old bullmastiff. Her lymph node became swollen and we had it biopsied (wedge). It came back as hemangiosarcoma. We went to an internal medicine doctor and he did an ultrasound on her abdominal and heart and there are no signs of masses. The internal medicine vet also did a needle aspiration and there was no sign of lymph node activity. So it was determined that there was no lymph node anymore and we had the tumor/lymph node removed. They did a c-kit stain on the original biopsy and it showed a weak positive. My internal medicine doctor believes she is a candidate for masitinib. We are still waiting on the PCR test to come back.

    I have reduced her kibble to half (she is on Natural Balance Potato and Duck) and started added protein like chicken, steak, and hamburger meat. There is another dog food called Fresh Pet Vital. I have added that into her diet some too. I have also added supplements. She is on K-9 Immunity Plus, Vitamin D3 (800UI), Vitamin E (400IU), Ester C (500MG), Flax Seed Oil, B Complex 100, Cottage Cheese and Esiak or Essiac Tea (900MG) twice a day.

    I guess my questions are what are your thoughts on masitinib? Also does it sound like I have my girl on the right supplements? Should I be adding more? Is Natural Balance a good food to continue to keep her on at a reduced level or should I take her off completely? Also the Fresh Pet Vital does it seem like a good dog food for a dog with cancer? Any advice is appreciated.

    Thank you so much,
    Christina Flack

    • DemianDressler on September 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm

      Dear Christina,
      sorry to hear about the hemangiosarcoma.
      I think masitinib will depend on odds of complete excision. This tumor does have a high rate of metastasis and if in the lymph node it is probably coming from somewhere else unless it was a primary tumor in or adjacent to the node. It would be nice to get a feel for the degree of aggressiveness from the path report and whether the mass had any indication as a primary tumor. If it is a typically aggressive HSA I would contemplate the chemo. Masitib is a reasonable choice but will be costly for a dog of this size (then again so will palladia). Find out what the gained life expectancy is based on your consultation. I am not aware of publications concerning the data with this tumor and this chemo approach. The supplements need work. The book outlines the approach well. I would add apocaps, cut the D/E/C/flax/ and essiac. Add fish, krill or EPA/DHA. Add modified citrus pectin. I would change to a full cancer diet. All choices should be under veterinary supervision…
      Hope this helps

      • Laura Sprague on January 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm

        Hello Dr. Dressler,

        I stumbled accross this website while searching the web to find answers to a question I have. I have a 5 year old pure bread Golden Retriever who by all indications is in good health however I noticed that he has black on his gums around some of his teeth and inside his mouth. Is this normal? or normal pigment for his breed? His breath is is not foul or anything. I just thought I should at least inquire as to what the inside of his mouth should look like?

        Thank you for what ever information you can provide.


  66. mindy on September 20, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I had a 6 year old Boston Terrier. He seemed fine on Saturday , then late Saturday night he started acting funny, the way he does when the batteries are goind dead in the smoke dect. So I didn’t think anything about it. Had dental surgery 2 months ago, and was ok. Perfectly healthy boy. Sunday morning he came down stairs and layed in the other room, got up later and was staggering and went back. I went to get him and broght him out, I just thought lazyines. About an hour later he didn’t get up I looked in his mouth and it was pale. Took him to the er and he died 3 hours later. They thought rat poison or tumor, but could not see anything in xray because belly full of blood. ??? He had a hard like blister looking thing on his chest area, and a disappering one a few years ago on his side. Had a few strange like mole things on his body. The vet also said his platelet count was normal at the er. Any answers would be appreciated, because we still have his sister.

  67. Whitney on September 19, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    Dear Dr.D–
    Ok, I have a 10 year old Shih tzu. About two months ago, he had a very bad case of bloody stools. He got better, but he broke out in terrible lumps and zit like cysts all over his body. He has 5 now. The vet gave us antibiotics, but they made him extremely nauseated. Now he’s done with the antibiotics, but he has never recovered. He won’t eat, he throws up a lot, he’s extremely lethargic, his legs are shaky, he cries at night and when you try to pick him up (he has NEVER cried before this) and he just seems miserable. It’s extremely hard for my family to watch him… Does it sound like he has cancer? What should we do besides take him to a vet? We have an appointment scheduled later for an x-ray

    • DemianDressler on September 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm

      Dear Whitney
      I am sorry your boy is dealing with what sounds like a very difficult time.
      Although I cannot be sure, one thing you might want to have your vet check for is back pain, as orthopedic issues or pain involving the veterbral column sometimes looks like this. I don’t believe the bumps on the skin are connected, but the pain, shaky legs, and pain could be.

      • Jeanie on January 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm

        I have an 8.5 female year old brown lab.. In the summer she developed itchy skin, hair loss, 2 vets said skin allergies, prescribed anitbiotic, and steroid, she got a little better for awhile, then when finished medication she started itching, hair loss, and this time an awful rotten smell, and losing weight. She does have a tremendous appetite, not as energetic as she was in early summer. On 2 of her nipples she has tumor like spots, which she has had for approx 4 years…

        • Dr. Demian Dressler on January 29, 2013 at 5:56 pm

          Dear Jeanie,
          allergies can return if she is still being exposed to things in the air and/or diet that she has become allergic to. I would advise getting further veterinary care for your dog…
          Dr D

  68. JD on September 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Dr D,

    We have a Staffie who is 10 1/2 yrs old, he recently got some growths removed from his belly(as a younger dog he used to lay in the sun on his back.) We realise that he is older, but overnight he went from full of energy and wanting his ball all the time, to having some vomiting and diarrhea. Then he’s become very lethargic and wobbly legs. His spine has really become more distinctive . And he seems alot thinner.

    My wife took him to a local vet, who was next to useless, suggested he needs to lose some more weight, and didn’t want to listen to her. So she walked out. Any suggestions?

    • DemianDressler on September 21, 2011 at 7:21 pm

      Dear JD
      it is tough for me to help with a diagnosis without laying hands on the dog. Since the last visit did not work out, is there a way you might consider a second opinion?

  69. james sisk on September 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I have a twelve year old austrian shepard spaded several yrs ago to day i noticed one of her nipples swollen. she also has alot of hair falling out along her rump and under her neck. any suggestions???

  70. Jessica on September 5, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Dear Dr. Dressler,
    My 14 and 1/2 year old yorkie is still hanging in there, we’ve started her on prednisone. I didn’t want you to think her toe fell off; actually it was her toenail, on both the back leg and a front leg. The tumors have ulcerated so we put antibiotic pain killer on them and we bandage them nightly and put on her cone for sleeping. We give her tramadol and clavamox as well. Again, I am wondering if there is anything we can do for the odor.
    Any suggestions?

  71. Jessica on August 27, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Dear Dr. Dressler
    My 14 and a half year old yorkie has developed what looks like squamous cell cancer on her back toe and front toe. The toe has fallen off, it has ulcerated and now it smells really bad. We are giving her clavamox, and tramadol and, given her age, the vet said we should just make her comfortable rather than opt for surgeries cutting off her toes. We also opted not to have her biopsied, because a cancerous tumor was removed in April and we just assume that it has spread. My question is what can we do for the smell? Her ulcerated sores really smell badly. She still walks, still eats (although very finicky this week) and we feel still has limited quality of life.

    • DemianDressler on September 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm

      Dear Jessica,
      I would be sure to use all the tools you have at your disposal to fight this tumor. First, often the bad smell is infection. More and more we are seeing resistance to Clavamox. I might switch antibiotics (a culture would be smart here). If no culture, perhaps using Clindamycin as an alternative would be an idea.
      You should also be thinking about the non-invasive ways to improve your dog’s life quality and hopefully life expectancy. Apoptogens, diet, immune support, and life quality increases are some basic steps at this point. You can use the search bar on the upper right of this blog, and for complete information, I suggest the Guide.
      Hope this helps,

  72. reader on December 31, 2009 at 8:30 pm


    Thankyou for your reply,I apologize if the prior post was confusing, her death was really fresh, and I was very upset. Now that you are somewhat familiar with the case, I have a better idea of what I would like to ask. I guess the questions I had were as follows. In the case of a runt of the litter, in your experience, how often have you seen the dog not live a longer life? The fact that she had two heat cycles before her first birthday, the first being in Dec and the second being in late april/early may( the month of her first birthday), could this have been a possible sign that something was wrong? in regards to the dhpp vaccine, is your opinion that the vaccine worsened our dogs health or do you mean actually caused the cancer to surface, sooner, or if at all? Her parents never have had any form of cancer, she did, I understand genetics, it just seems bizarre that she had lymphoma and so young. What could have brought this on??? we have her brother, he is a healthy dog, I am praying that lymphoma does not show up in him. Have you ever heard of food, and the preservatives in dog food triggering Cancer cells? I believe she had gastrointestinal lymphoma, she had an awful smell coming from her mouth for months. when we put her on prednisone at 2ml the smell went away she seemed to get better, ate on her own, had bowel movements normally, and so on. we then gradually weened her off then at a 1/2 ml the smell showed up again. what makes me think she had the gastro type was that she was lethargic, did not eat or drink on her own and had bw issues. Not once did her lymph nodes around her neck or hind legs get inflammed visibly or palpably. Can you tell me if this is pretty much the case in the gastro type, or from your experience how has the gastro type presented itself?

    I know she is gone, but these are questions that I need answered. we all loved her and miss her. What is sad is we paid our vet to answer some of these questions for us, but he just continued to show apathy towards our case. Needless to say we will not be seeing that vet any more. I am grateful that I have heard from a professional who actually cares. Your response again will be much appreciated. many thanks and a happy new year- Marlene

    • Dr. Dressler on January 9, 2010 at 6:27 pm

      Dear Reader, here are some answers:
      In the case of a runt of the litter, in your experience, how often have you seen the dog not live a longer life? Often
      The fact that she had two heat cycles before her first birthday, the first being in Dec and the second being in late april/early may( the month of her first birthday), could this have been a possible sign that something was wrong? Not really, slightly irregular heats are not that rare nor anything diabolical.
      The fact that she had two heat cycles before her first birthday, the first being in Dec and the second being in late april/early may( the month of her first birthday), could this have been a possible sign that something was wrong? Cancer is caused by many different things all added together. I wrote about half a book on the topic! Bloodlines, carbohydrate excess, melatonin deficiency, stress hormones, omega 6 fatty acid excess, superheated oils and carbs, viruses, sodium nitrate and nitrite, aromated hydrocarbons in the air from auto exhaust, solar radiation, high voltage electrical fields, pesticides and herbicides, second hand smoke…the list is endless. You add up all these things and wammo, the body can no longer compensate for the DNA mutations and immune system suppression and cancer develops.
      Can you tell me if this is pretty much the case in the gastro type, or from your experience how has the gastro type presented itself? Usually vomiting and/or diarrhea, weight loss, eventual loss of energy level and appetite is typical.
      I hope this fills in the gaps for you a bit…
      Dr D

  73. reader on December 27, 2009 at 6:38 pm


    I have a couple of unanswered questions, about lymphoma in a dog. Sadly I just put my 1 1/2 year old female chihuahua to sleep yesterday at 8:40 pm. I am really frustrated and I feel somewhat lost as to the cause of the cancer. I know that there is no “definite” known cause(s) of cancer, but I just thought I could run some of her life facts by you. She was the runt of the liter, only two,we have her brother.she had her first heat cycle at 7 1/2, we planned on getting her fixed soon after that but we were told to wait by the vet. Not long after the first heat cycle, about 4 months later in may she goes into heat again. I dont believe that is normal, but compared to the rest of what happened to her following the spaying, this stayed in the back of my mind. Folllowing the spaying, not to mention all the “necessary” vaccinations, she starts developing breathing problems. we then have her examined and we are told her enlarged tonsil is the issue. We are advised w/ putting her on antibiotics, and we do, to no avail. Maybe one month after her spaying, we take her in for tonsil surgery to have the tonsil removed. she comes home to us and after about two weeks seemed to be getting better, then the vet says she is due for her DHPP or something like that. We go ahead with it, and she went down hill from there. for months she went down hill we did tests and the pathology that there were signs of emerging lymphoma in the tonsilar crypt( Sorry i failed to mention that we had a biopsy done on the crypt where the tonsil was removed because a sore/bump developed after the tonsil was removed). In all of the this the vet and his 2nd opinion the pathologist ended up stating that she may or may not have lymphoma, both in the end being sceptical. I am extremely dissappointed in the way our case was handled I never felt that our vet cared to answer any of our questions. He came recommended from the woman we bought the pups from. I am extremely saddened by our loss she was a wonderful dog who had potential for a great life. Our decision in putting her down came after seeing the quality of life decline tremendously. she was not eating on her own, had not had a bowel movement in week, prior to that the bm’s went for days at a time. she would not eat on her own, we had been syringe feeding her for months prior. She was really tired all the time and would just lay there.

    If you can please answer my “questions” to the best of your ability. Your reply alone would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

    • Dr. Dressler on December 30, 2009 at 11:47 am

      Dear Reader,
      this sounds like a horrible experience. I am so sorry all of this happened to you and to your dog. I think you did the right thing, and I believe that you did everything that you could.
      Could you please help me by letting me know what I can answer for you?
      Are you asking whether I think the biopsy was correct? Or if the vaccine could have worsened your dogs health? If so, my opinion is yes on both counts. Sometimes the best we can do is look using hindsight and use the wisdom we gain in the future.
      Dr D

  74. Emily on October 9, 2009 at 10:39 am

    I have a 7 year old golden retriever. About 2 months ago he had bloody diahrea, which the vet said was a viral infection. About 2 weeks ago he was running and began limping on his back leg, and within 20 min he was running around like normal. For the past week he has not been eating, and been very lethargic. We took him to the vet and they performed an x-ray and ultrasound, both of which showed no masses. His blood work revealed levels of white blood cells and red blood cells that are consistent with cancer. The blood test also revealed that he was anemic. The doctor’s say that they are baffled because they don’t know what was wrong. What are the chances that it is cancer in the bone marrow? If so how long would he have to live?

    • sanjiban sarkar on August 5, 2011 at 9:03 am

      Hello Dr.Dressler

      I have 5 dogs with family history of tumors. One of my female dog had 1 inch diameter lump in the back that automatically bursted one fine day about 6 months ago, but the wound is not healing at all, nor its growing, looks fresh pink in color, with occsional white oozing fluid, what is exactly the prognosis and treatmement.

      Sanjiban sarkar

      • DemianDressler on August 8, 2011 at 12:28 am

        Dear Sanjiban,
        the first thing to do is get your dog to a licensed veterinarian who can biopsy the growth. 6 months is a long time for this to be left untreated. Once the determination is made that this is actually a cancer, and if so what kind of cancer it is, we can better give survival times and treatments, which are different for different cancers. Without knowing cancer type or if it is indeed cancer, it is difficult to answer your question, i am sorry.

  75. cj davis on September 19, 2009 at 6:13 am

    My 13 year old dog has an epulis on lower incisor area measuring about 1 inch diameter. The vet wants to remove it using laser surgery. What are the chances it will return? Thank you.

  76. Mrs. Knighton on September 1, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Dr. Dressler,
    I have a 7 year old lab. I noticed that he has a fairly large bumb on both of his rear legs. He has lost weight in the past month and I am starting to wonder could it be cancer. They are both blue/purple in color. I have not taken him to a vet yet, since money is an issue and I am not even sure of what it is. What do you think?
    Mrs. Knighton

  77. Hatem on August 29, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Hi Dr. Dressler,

    my dog is an 11 year old western terrier who has recently developed a rather large lump on her fifth back nipple. it has recently grown in size and is of a dark purple colour. she has also recently been showing weakness in standing and walking. Back legs tend to shake sometimes and prevents from walking. My vet says it could be cancer, and that she is too old to undergo removal surgery of the tumor. Is there any advise you perhaps assist me with, since it is really hard on us as a family watching her suffer since she’s been a member of it for the past 11 years. I would appreciate any help you could give me.


    • Dr. Dressler on August 30, 2009 at 9:08 am

      this does not sound good, especially if your dog was not spayed at an early age. I will address your question more fully in this month’s webinar, which will be recorded so you can listen later or many times if you wish:

      Dr D

    • Dr. Dressler on August 30, 2009 at 10:38 pm

      the webinar ran overtime. Surgery is the treatment of choice for this type of problem. Chemo and supplements are not really successful, but one option you can discuss with your vet is Tamoxifen, which is sometimes now used in dogs for breast cancer and has shown to temporarily help in roughly 70% of dogs in early investigations..
      Dr D

  78. dogs bite on July 24, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    • Dr. Dressler on July 26, 2009 at 8:08 am

      Thanks Jane!

    • AmandaColeman on August 3, 2011 at 10:59 pm

      I have a 12 year old chihuahua, her stomach started blotting so we took her into the vet to get her checked out and they took a blood sample out of her stomach. She said that it wasn’t anemic but she might have cancer. We got her when she was 6 or 7 and had been beating in her younger age, when we got her spayed our vet told us that her stomach was so badly beaten that she was never pregnant or able to get pregnant. I was wondering if when they sowed her up it they could have missed something and she could slowly be bleeding into her stomach and if so could it be an easy fix?

  79. Ana on June 8, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Hi Dr. Dressler!
    My Giant Schnauzer Africa, has had two toes amputated due to squamous cell carcinoma, and today she got her first round of chemo. I am very sad, we have been together 24/7 since she was born, ten years ago.
    She is in great spirits, she is not limping at all,she is not in pain, she has no appetite issues, but she does have an ulcer at the site where her two toes were amputated a few months ago. Last Saturday, another nail in the same foot came off.
    I am not very optimistic as much as the vet is, or as optimistic my husband is.
    I am having a very hard time accepting this, even if I have been dreading this moment from the first time a toe was amputated.
    What can I do to help her in this hard time?
    Should I give her supplements to boost her immune system?
    Thanks for your help
    Ana & Africa

  80. Dr. Dressler on October 16, 2008 at 5:35 pm

    Finicky=decreased appetite. The body is dynamic, always changing and cycling. Changes may not be present the same way all the time.
    Try warming the food and adding aromatic seasoning (not onions, limited garlic too).

  81. Lilly F on October 16, 2008 at 2:33 am

    I recall that my dog ‘s appetite seemed to have “waned” and I suspected something was wrong LONG before her diagnosis or any signs. Although my dog still has an appetitie why do they get FINICKY? My dog with eat like no tomorrow but it has to be something she likes TODAY. She might like sardines yesterday but not today. Same story with every other food.She loves the meat I put treats in but lately in the morning she doesn’t seem to be as enthusiastic about it and I have to use peanut butter. She will eat EVO canned and then not like it anymore. I have to rinse off the homecooked meat if I try to add in veggies. Lately she most consistently likes kibble which I don’t think is the best choice but what starts her eating and what I can leave out all day–often she won’t touch it until afternoon. By the way, now she won’t eat any veggies even if well disguised or mixed in–are they necessary? How can I get them in without her rejecting the meal and having to rinse it off?

    I would like to know about the finickiness if there is an answer out there. Thanks.


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