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Some of you may have read the thread about my family's dog passing away yesterday. It occurs to me that my family is 2 for 3 for dogs getting tumors. How common is cancer and especially tumors in dogs? My Mom's best friends dog died of cancer too. Do you think it's something in dog foods? Is it the environment? It can't all be breeding because two of the three mentioned were mutts. Granted they got tumors when they were at a ripe old age. The other was a mini poodle from show lines. Is there anything you can do to reduce your dog's chances of getting a tumor?

On a related note...it seems that so many dogs get euthanized as opposed to dying naturally. What percentage of dogs do you suppose die naturally vs. euthanasia and what do you think accounts for the disparity?
 

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Well, it seems like most humans end up with some form of cancer at some point. My grandpa had prostate cancer when he died, even though that wasn't what killed him (heart disease/strokes). So probably cancer is just as common in dogs as it is in humans.

Also, when you really think about it, most humans are "euthanized" at the end of life---as in, they're kept heavily medicated so they aren't suffering, even if they aren't given a fatal dose like dogs are. Dying "naturally" is highly overrated :( . So the percentages are probably about the same as for humans.
 

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Cancer is very common in some breeds. Very sad, it is a horrible disease. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks Mr. Pooch.

You make some good points Willowy. I'm rather paranoid about getting cancer myself. It does seem rather common in people. And I guess you're right about people being heavily medicated towards the end of their lives.

It does seem to be really common in dogs though. It's also probably more fatal since, and this is just thinking/guessing out loud, the technology to deal with cancer in canines is less developed. And, too, many people are unable or to unwilling to pay for the high costs of treatment, whereas for a human being to not try everything to treat it as all but illegal. Maybe the other part about euthanasia that seems difficult to accept is that we have to choose it on their behalf. It's just sad all around.
 

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I'd say the potential for cancer is pretty prevalent in dogs. And I am a firm believer that diet has a big hand in aiding in its development. Cancer thrives on Carbs/Grains, which is what most dog foods are comprised of...
My boxer Manny was diagnosed with a grade 2 MCT at age 5 and he actually lived to 13, (boxers life expectancy is anywhere from 10-12). Even riddled with cancer, I can attribute his extra time with me by eliminating grains and carbs from his diet. Just my experience, of course. ;)
 

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Some of you may have read the thread about my family's dog passing away yesterday. It occurs to me that my family is 2 for 3 for dogs getting tumors. How common is cancer and especially tumors in dogs? My Mom's best friends dog died of cancer too. Do you think it's something in dog foods? Is it the environment? It can't all be breeding because two of the three mentioned were mutts. Granted they got tumors when they were at a ripe old age. The other was a mini poodle from show lines. Is there anything you can do to reduce your dog's chances of getting a tumor?
I've said this before on a greyhound board, and I know it's not a popular thought but I'm afraid that cancer is a part of life...and sometimes death. I think if any creature - man, dog, cat, mouse, lives long enough you are going to have enough cells replicate in some wacky way to cause cancer. It actually happens in all of us all the time, but usually our bodies can identify those cells and get rid of them before they cause problems. Sometimes, our bodies can't and we get tumors or develop other cancers. It is a fact of life that we all must die from something...I think there are a lot of factors that contribute to whether or not a dog will get cancer (there are so many types of cancer)...but I think it comes down to how genetics and the environment play off each other. The same way one person can smoke for 40 years and never get cancer and another can die from lung cancer never having smoked in their life.

We have lost three dogs to cancer - two to osteo and one to chondrosarcoma. Harmony, who passed away at 6 years old in January, died from pre-leukemia when her bone marrow stopped producing red blood cells. I suppose that might also be considered cancer. But, as painful as those losses are it is so much worse to have to make a quality of life decision about a senior pet. I'd honestly prefer to lose a dog to cancer (or some definable, incurable disease) than have to decide when my 14 or 15 year old dog's life ends because their quality of life is crap or getting too poor. When you lose a dog to cancer, it breaks your heart but you know in your mind that there is nothing that you can do. When you lose a dog to "old age", it breaks your heart and wrecks your mind...I have always felt like I've killed my dog. Even when I know and our vet will agree that it's the most humane decision for them...I am always wracked with guilt.

On a related note...it seems that so many dogs get euthanized as opposed to dying naturally. What percentage of dogs do you suppose die naturally vs. euthanasia and what do you think accounts for the disparity?
In many cases, allowing a dog to die "naturally" would mean letting them linger with pain and suffering. Euthanasia is often the most humane option to end a life that is otherwise of low quality, in pain or suffering. I have no idea of the percentage of dogs that die naturally vs euthanasia, but I imagine there are probably more dogs euthanized every year as veterinary medicine grows and becomes more affordable.

I'm so sorry for your loss :(
 

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Too common. :( My Bishion Frise was healthy her WHOLE LIFE then all of a sudden she got lung cancer. LUNG CANCER. Where did it come from? No one smokes in my house and we don't know anyone who does. She was only 10. We had to put her to sleep because she wouldn't eat, wouldn't be active, she just slept and when she breathed in and out you would her her moan. It was just awful and to this day I get overwhelmed with saddness.

If we let her die naturally the vet said she would probably have passed on christmas and she was in so much pain. We thought it would be selfish to keep her around any longer. We couldn't see her like that anymore. We were all there holding her and kissing her, we were all there for her like she was there for us all of those years when she went to sleep. I think we did the right thing.

I guess it's just one of those things you pray won't happen, but it's always possible and does happen TOO often.
 

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My 7 yr old Yorkie was diagnosed with Stage 4 or 5 lymphoma just Tuesday - one of the worst days of my life. They aren't sure if its 4 or 5 because we did not have them aspirate the bone marrow. He had been in the hospital for tests because he was vomiting and had diarrhea and when he came home he wouldn't eat or do anything but sleep. We assumed he would just get worse and decided to put him to sleep the next evening. On Wed I spent the whole day with him and he did really good - almost back to normal. So we decided he still had too much life in him to die yet.

We frantically started doing research and found a holistic vet who uses the raw meat diet and supplements to boost the immune system and other Eastern-type practices (acupuncture, etc) in addition to conventional medication and surgery. We were shocked to hear her opinion of the reason dogs sometimes get cancer - their diets of dry dog food and vaccinations. He had gotten his rabies shot 10 days before showing symptoms. He had also been on a prescription dry and canned diet for 5 years for pancreatitis. She also said that Hill's Prescription Diet used to contain traces of carcinogens, but they didn't believe there was enough in the food to be harmful.

So we tried to start him on this raw meat diet, but he is so resistant to this change that he won't eat at all. Let alone, take all the supplements we got him. Today my husband is going out to buy beef liver for me to give him (I will cook it though). Apparently they believe it might be in his bone marrow and therefore he isn't producing enough blood. So he should be eating red meat - but the only thing I can get him to eat is chicken, turkey and some egg.

We are trying to be positive and not act nervous when we feed him so he doesn't feel any bad "vibes", but he just isn't buying it. We have tried organic baby food, cottage cheese, raw beef patties (made for dogs), freeze dried beef patties, canned rabbit and other canned meat.

We are desperate to keep him feeling good as long as we can. Apparently we can't put him on steroids until all else fails because they shut down the immune system so there is no chance of fighting at all.

Any suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I don't have any suggestions Sunshine, maybe someone else willl, but I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. Cancer is a really awful disease and it seems so insidious. One day a person or animal seems OK and the next day they are blinded with pain and unable to take care of themselves.

Lovemygreys, I can see why your point of view is unpopular, but I can't say I don't agree. Thanks for the kind words.

BoxmeIn and Sunshine('s vet) suggested this, but do y'all think a raw diet helps reduce the chances of cancer? Or is that just wishful thinking? (though this is not to turn into a kibble vs. raw war).
 

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Cancer is fairly common. Certain breeds of dog are more predisposed to it, such as boxers and golden retrievers, both of which very commonly get cancer.
 

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I think we had a boxer who got some kind of cancer when I was a young kid. My parents had just adopted my sister and they would rather get something to put her clothes in than pay for the treatment. Not sure of all details. This was many years ago.

Then in our married life our first dog got something on her leg. I thought it was matted hair and was going to cut it out and my husband said it was attached to her. Took her to the vet and he drained it and she basically went into shock and never came out of it. Had to put her down at the end of a week. Now I wish we had never taken her in to the vet but he said it probably would have exploded. Not sure if it was cancer or not. She was a mutt bought at a pet store. I think she was twelve.

Our next dog was almost thirteen when diagnosed with cancer. The vet said she had two months. He was right. We gave her pills to try to keep her longer but I don't think it did any good. We finally had to put her down a week after her thirteenth birthday. On her birthday she did eat her dog birthday bone that we gave her but by the end of the week, she was doing really bad. Her mouth even smelled like garbage. The vet told us you can tell when a dog wants to leave this world by looking in their eyes and he said she had that look. She was a beagle mix and we got her from the shelter.

Okay, I am rambling but I know it is a hard decision but in a way I wish we could give people a shot when it is terminal and there is no quality of life left.
 

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For what it's worth my holistic vet attributes many of todays cancers seen in dogs to eating commercial dog food. My last guy passed (we chose to euthanize when he was falling downhill quickly) from cancer after eating regular kibble his whole life. Although he made it to 15, a good long life, I have to wonder and now do at least 50% raw
 

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Discussion Starter #14
See, that seems like another point in favor of raw. I've been thinking about it for a while anyway, but I think if it could improve my dog's chances for a long healthy life than it would definitely be worth it. I know it wouldn't be a miracle cure, but maybe it would help. Too bad I live in an apartment with a pathetic fridge/freezer.

Anyway, it's so sad to hear of all these beloved pets getting cancer like this. I sometimes wish dogs could speak English so they could tell us when something starts to feel off. Sometimes, by the time they start showing symptoms things are really far along.
 

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We thought our dog was just feeling bad because there was a new pup in the house. Two weeks after we got the pup, we took the older dog in to see if there was anything wrong or jealousy and dang, it was cancer. She had even had a x-ray five months earlier and nothing showed then. Don't remember why she had the x-ray at that time.
 

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Cancer is somewhat common, more common in certain breeds or lines within certain breeds. So genes play a role. I know in some lines 7-9yrs the dogs of those lines get/die from cancer while dogs from other lines never get cancer. Being a mutt doesn't mean the dog doesn't get any bad genes. That is just a myth, they still inherit their genes from their parents good and bad. Environment, food, stress, ect can all play a role. Especially bigger role for dogs who do have genetic predisposition.
 

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Some of you may have read the thread about my family's dog passing away yesterday. It occurs to me that my family is 2 for 3 for dogs getting tumors. How common is cancer and especially tumors in dogs?
My first two dogs both died of cancer -- my Rottie from osteosarcoma, and my lab/rott mix from lymphoma, and both were not even 10.
It seems like canine cancer is something I hear about more and more lately, it's very scary.

Perhaps it's because of modern chemicals being introduced to them nowadays, more than in the past? I know many people attribute it to overvaccination, overmedication, and low-quality dog food. Also, genetics in some breeds is worse than in others... I think it's most likely a combination of all those factors.
 

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I believe cancer is very common in dogs, unfortunately. And in my opinion, I truly question how much diet plays a role in it. Audubon was on one of the expensive "better" diets that are pushed often, and she ended up with a mast cell tumor at only 6 years old.

Jake has a tumor on his chest, but it is non-cancerous, and cannot be removed because of his heart.

My mom's 17y/o dachshund has breast cancer, her 16 year old dachshund that died last year had breast cancer. My brothers two (2!!!) year old chihuahua has mammary cancer, my foster dachshund that is only 2 years (!!) old has breast cancer. A mix breed terrier that I had when I was younger, died 1 month after his 10th birthday from a very aggressive form of anal cancer. He died 3 weeks after the diagnosis, and it had already spread to all of his organs.

I could go on and on about my mom's dogs, my friend's dogs, my relatives dogs, all died or have had and been treated for, cancer. My vet raises standard poodles, and almost every poodle he has ever lost, he lost to cancer. Only one didn't die from cancer, she got hit by a car several years ago.

When I worked at my vet, we had a 18 month old border collie mix die from mast cell cancer, and he was fed a grain free diet. A friend of ours lost their 6 year old lab mix to cancer, and she was fed a raw diet her whole life. A friend of our family lost his 8 year old border collie mix to cancer, and she was fed a home-cooked diet.

Really, I think cancer is the result of a lot of things, not *just* diet. Environmental pollutants, genes, over vaccination, overabuandance of chemicals (putting on flea products every month for years and years), ect. And, sadly, it's also just a fact of life.

My uncle has been a marathon runner since his teenager years, and he's now 70. Never ate fast food a day in his life (he loves to tell people that too, how he survived his life without McD's, LOL), never smoked, never drank, and very active in athletics until this very day. He ate the healthiest diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, no overabundance of red meats and no greasy or unhealthy foods. And he never took medication, not even tylenol. If anything, he's the model of someone who would never get cancer. Guess what? He was just recently diagnosed with cancer.

So I give up trying to figure out what causes it. *Shrugs*

Sorry to hear about your family's dog though. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You're probably right MRC, but I guess I just wish there was something I could DO about it. Some way to improve the odds or something.

Oh and Spicy I know the whole hybrid vigor thing is a myth I just was bringing it up because well if you have a dog that has gosh knows how many breeds in it's background than it's harder to accept that only some breeds are more susceptible than others. I guess individual genes trump that, but then do most dogs have the genes to make them susceptible? Which matters more, genes or environment? Is there really nothing we could do about it?
 
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