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K-9 Corner: Information Offered About Stomach Cancer In Dogs

See the original article at K-9 Corner.

By HELEN PALMER Contributing Writer 

A reader called the other day asking for information on holistic treatments for a mature dog with the diagnosis of stomach cancer. I felt very fortunate to be able to direct her to a website promoting such a product. Then I considered the fact that several of my dogs (over the course of 44 years) had cancer and what I did to help them have a normal lifespan.

My first recommendation to all pet owners is be aware of your animals. Groom them with a comb watching for bumps and lumps. Pet them routinely also aware of any sores or swollen places. I noticed a place on my cat’s paw while petting and massaging him. It looked like a sore so I had my veterinarian check it out and they discovered a small tumor growing on a toe. They had to remove the toe, which didn’t seem to bother him, and had it analyzed — it was cancer! Fortunately, it had not spread.

However, the dog with canine stomach cancer has a more difficult problem, since this diagnosis can be a silent killer because a dog usually is in the advanced stages by the time he shows signs of illness. (I say “he” because all the websites I checked stated that male dogs are more prone to this disease than females.)

The symptoms of canine stomach cancer are vomiting, be especially concerned if there is blood in it. If left unchecked, the dog will start losing weight and become lethargic.

Another symptom is sometimes hard to notice since many dogs are stoic when in pain. Some subtle signs of pain are: lower activity level, less social, not willing to move, vocalization like whining or growling, decreased appetite, increased respiratory rate, reacttion to being touched, excreting indoors, unhappy demeanor and scratching or licking at a particular body part.

All the websites I checked said surgery is the best option if the cancer has not spread. Two sites said chemotherapy does not seem to be effective for treating stomach cancer and one site recommended it. I say to listen to your veterinarian for advice. Radiation is considered dangerous to the delicate organs near the stomach.

However, nutritional support is critical for maintaining his overall health and quality of life. Being severely underweight suppresses the immune system and negatively affects a dog’s ability to withstand cancer treatment. He probably will need intravenous feedings while in the hospital and special foods at home.

All in all, every site gives a grim prognosis. Many dogs do not live beyond six months even with treatment. The cancer tumors can recur or spread to other organs. Again, each case is unique, so rely on your veterinarian’s advice. The most important thing you can do if you plan for treatment is to make your pet as comfortable as possible and show him how much he’s loved.

Information taken from: www.dogs.lovetoknow.com/wiki/ canine_stomach_cancer