Types Of Cancer

There are many types of cancer and they vary in how they affect the patient, how they can be treated and the outcome of treatment. The aim of this part of the site is to provide basic information about various tumour types and their treatment. However, it must be stressed that these are general statements and it is important to discuss the various aspects with your vet.

Most cancers are named for the cell type, tissue or body organ from where they start. For example, bone cancer starts in a bone, lymphoma starts in the lymphatic system and cancer that begins in basal cells of the skin is called basal cell carcinoma.

The main categories of cancer include the following types:

Carcinoma is cancer that begins in the epithelium of the skin or in tissues that line internal organs.

Sarcoma is cancer that begins in the connective or supportive tissues of bone, cartilage, fat, muscle and blood vessels.

Leukaemia is cancer that starts in the blood-forming tissues of the lymphatic system or bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the bloodstream.

Lymphoma and myeloma are cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system.

Central nervous system cancers begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.

 

 

Click on the heading to read more.

Mast cell tumours are one of the commonest skin tumours seen in dogs. There is great variation in what mast cell tumours look like and how they will behave. Their behaviour varies from almost benign, slow growing, low-grade tumours at the one end of the scale to very aggressive, high-grade cancers at the other end. Mast cell tumours at the least aggressive end of the scale are, for the main, potentially curable whereas the aggressive ones are frequently fatal. In order to get an idea of a likely prognosis and to give the most appropriate treatment, we need to know which end of the spectrum we are dealing with.

Assessment of degree of malignancy

The best way of assessing how the tumour will behave is to have it examined by a pathologist. The pathologist uses a grading system based on the microscopic appearance and this actually correlates quite well with the clinical behaviour at the two extremes of the spectrum. The three grades are a) well-differentiated, b) intermediate differentiation and c) poorly differentiated.

The term “well differentiated” correlates with the least aggressive form. Less than 5% of these ever spread anywhere else in the body and the vast majority are curable by surgery, radiotherapy or a combination.

What the pathologist call “poorly differentiated” tumours are the very aggressive forms. At least 80% of dogs will develop secondaries elsewhere and the majority of patients will die as a result of the tumour at some time. Treatment is aimed at delaying the onset of the advanced state but cures are uncommon.

Unfortunately there is a large number that the pathologist is not able to categorise and will call “intermediate grade”. Most of these are actually not very aggressive and only 15-20% will undergo spread elsewhere. Put another way, 80-85% are potentially curable.

Treatment options

The first aim of cancer treatment is to control the primary tumour, remove it and prevent local recurrence. The second aim is to reduce the rate at which secondary tumours develop.

As a rule, surgery has the best chance of curing any tumour; for some tumours, local excision is curative but for others a very wide margin beyond the apparent mass is required to deal with any infiltrating fingers. For mast cell tumours, relatively local surgery can be curative for the well-differentiated (least aggressive); whereas the intermediate differentiation have widely infiltrating fingers that require bigger surgery.

Where wide surgery is not feasible (e.g. lower limb or skin of face), there will be a high chance of recurrence with intermediate grade mast cell tumours (at least 50%). However, if radiotherapy is used after surgery it is possible to cure many more.

Mast Cell Tumours in Dogs Mast cell tumour on nose

Mammary tumours are common in middle aged and older entire bitches. Although the majority of mammary tumours are benign, a significant number are malignant and potentially life threatening.

What causes mammary tumours?

Mammary tumours occur in mammary glands that have been exposed to female hormones. They are very rare in male dogs and in bitches spayed (ovario-hysterectomy) before their first heat. In Britain spaying before the first heat is uncommon but so long as this operation is performed before the second heat the number of bitches that develop mammary tumours is still very low. Mammary tumours in bitches are almost preventable. In general, any bitch that is not going to be used for breeding is best spayed before its second heat to prevent mammary cancer and diseases of the uterus.

How could mammary tumours affect my dog?

Whether they are benign or malignant, tumours of the mammary glands will grow and may become ulcerated, infected and painful. Benign tumours tend to grow slowly whereas mammary cancers tend to be more aggressive. However, growth rate and what they look like are not always good indicators of actual type and behaviour.

Mammary tumours can occur as single lumps, several at one time or over a period of time. Benign tumours are more frequently multiple BUT this is not a guarantee that one of the lumps is not malignant.

Malignant mammary tumours are potentially life threatening. Not only can they grow quickly and become ulcerated, but around 50 per cent will undergo secondary spread to other parts of the body. These secondaries are very difficult to treat and will continue to grow until they are causing major problems and ultimately will be fatal.

If a lump starts growing in the mammary gland then it is always best to ask your vet to look at it before it grows further. Small tumours are easier to treat and potentially more curable than large ulcerating masses.

What treatments are there?

Surgical removal of the tumour when it is small (less than 2 centimetres) has the best chance of curing the patient. Usually a biopsy is not required but if your veterinary surgeon is concerned this may be performed first. If there are multiple lumps then several incisions may be required or one larger area. Malignant tumours will grow into the surrounding tissue. So long as some of the normal tissue is removed with the tumour there is a good chance that a local cure can be achieved.

However, surgery will not reverse secondary spread if it has occurred. The longer a malignant tumour is left, the bigger it will grow and the greater the chance of secondary spread occurring. Currently there is no effective treatment against secondary mammary cancer. Anticancer drugs (chemotherapy) and hormone antagonists (e.g. tamoxifen) are frequently used in women with breast cancer with good effect; however these drugs do not appear to be very effective in bitches.

If my bitch has a mammary cancer what is the prognosis?

In general, so long as the mammary tumour is removed when it is small, the prognosis is good for the majority of bitches. Larger tumours, especially if they are malignant, are much more problematic and there is an increased chance that fatal secondaries will develop.

Canine lymphoma (lymphosarcoma) is a cancer arising predominantly in the lymph glands of the body. In some dogs, this may occur at only one or two sites in the body but, more commonly, it is widespread involving all the lymph glands and internal organs. Lymphoma is a progressive and ultimately fatal disease unless treated. In the early stages, the patient may be well but the cancer can have a profound effect on the dog causing weakness, poor appetite, loss of weight and general poor health. Currently, the cause of canine lymphoma is not known. However, it is not a contagious disease and there is no chance of spread to other pets or to humans.

Without treatment, the average survival time is about 4-6 weeks. In some rare cases it may take several months to progress. With treatment, the majority of patients will go into remission (i.e. the tumour is reduced to such a small size that it is no longer apparent). This remission can be long lasting but unfortunately, lymphoma is rarely cured outright.

Treatment possibilities vary from basic drugs to complicated protocols using a variety of drugs. The principal and most important goal of any treatment is to regain and maintain a good quality of life. For the majority of dogs the drugs that are used have minimal to no side effects.

Steroids alone will achieve a partial response in many dogs but they will relapse within 2 - 3 months due to drug resistance. For a longer and more complete response, combination drug therapy is used. Using a basic three-drug protocol of cyclophosphamide, vincristine and prednisolone a good response can be achieved in three-quarters of cases with an average survival of 7 - 9 months (a small percentage reach 2 years) and relatively few side effects. More advanced multi-drug protocols that include doxorubicin exist. They can achieve a better remission rate with a longer average survival of 12-14 months with some dogs reaching two years. However, these regimens are more involved, can have more side effects and tend to be more expensive.

Side effects from the anticancer drugs are not common; in general, the quality of life for most veterinary patients receiving cancer treatment is good and often normal. Many dogs that were ill because of the lymphoma will actually improve dramatically as their tumour comes under control. While it is important to be aware of the potential side effects of chemotherapy, the majority of our patients complete their treatment without significant complications. Most of the time they can lead full happy lives and have fun with the families that love and care for them.

The first aim of therapy is always quality of life and, second to that, for a ‘worthwhile’ period. Your vet may want to refer you to a cancer specialist for more advanced treatments and, indeed, you can ask to be referred.

Haemangiosarcoma is a malignant tumour that arises from the cells that line blood vessels. The most common sites for this tumour include the spleen and the right atrium of the heart but can also arise in the subcutaneous tissue. German shepherd dogs appear to be at risk of developing this type of tumour in their spleen or heart.

Dogs often collapse following an acute bleed due to rupture of a splenic tumour. This rupture will spread malignant cells around the abdomen. On occasions the splenic mass is found before it ruptures. Surgery is the treatment of choice for the primary tumour. Unfortunately, haemangiosarcoma tends to be a very malignant tumour and most individuals will die from metastatic disease throughout the body. The average survival following surgery alone is less than 3½ months with very few dogs living beyond a year.

The addition of anticancer drugs (principally doxorubicin-based protocols) can improve the survival times. However, 50 per cent of all dogs still die within 7 months. Dogs that have had surgery for an intact splenic mass and where no metastases were detected achieve a slightly better than average survival of 8 months and about a quarter live beyond one year. Dogs in whom the splenic tumour had ruptured tend to do less well (average 6 months) following surgery and anticancer drugs.

The anticancer drug regimen is generally well tolerated but does have potential side effects. These include varying degrees of lethargy, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhoea, and fever. Mild to moderately low white blood counts (neutropenia) occur in up to half of dog cases but usually do not require treatment; however about 10% of dogs can develop severe neutropenia and fever requiring hospitalisation. Severe neutropenia is potentially fatal and even with supportive treatment dogs can die from this.

The skin is the most common site to be affected by a tumour in dogs and the second in cats. Skin is a complex structure with several different cell types and as a result a number of different tumours can develop. In fact some 25 different tumours have been identified although some are quite rare. In dogs, the majority of skin tumours are benign whereas in cats the majority are malignant.

Benign skin tumours are usually slow growing, well defined and mobile over underlying structures. Malignant tumours tend to grow faster, infiltrate into adjacent tissue and may become red, inflamed and ulcerated. However, the physical appearance of the tumour is not always a guide to how it will behave. Needle samples for cytology or a surgical biopsy for histology may be necessary to identify the tumour type more accurately. The type of tumour determines how it is likely to behave and what the best course of treatment should be.

Many of the skin tumours in dogs are benign and will never be a life-threatening problem. Whilst most benign tumours are easily cured by simple surgery, not all warrant immediate removal as some may never become a problem. However, even small warts can become a problem if they bleed or become infected. Similarly what feels like a fatty lump can grow to such a size that it interferes with how the dog walks. Whenever a skin tumour is found it should be brought to the attention of your vet and monitored closely.

The malignant skin tumours should be taken more seriously. Surgical removal at an early stage, when the tumour is still small, should be considered. If left, they will grow and will reach such a size that surgery cannot achieve a cure. In addition, malignant tumours can undergo secondary spread (metastasis) to local lymph nodes and more distant sites. The rate at which secondary spread occurs varies immensely between tumours. Certainly for some tumours, the larger they become the more likely they are to spread. Surgical removal of a tumour when it is small is most likely to be curative. Some malignant skin tumours may need other treatment such as radiotherapy or anti-cancer drugs to obtain better control or indeed cure.

The common skin tumours in dogs include mast cell tumour, squamous cell carcinoma, sweat gland carcinoma, sebaceous tumours, lipoma, fibrosarcoma, haemangiopericytoma, melanoma and perianal adenoma.

In the cat, the common skin tumours are squamous cell carcinoma, mast cell tumour, fibrosarcoma and ceruminous gland tumours within the ear canal.

There is marked variation in behaviour of skin tumours. Laboratory assessment (histopathology) is required to identify the exact tumour type and thereby ascertain the prognosis. Surgery remains the most important treatment for most skin tumours but radiotherapy, and to lesser extent anticancer drugs, can also be used.

Skin Tumours in Dogs and Cats Squamous cell carcinoma (probably due to overexposure to strong sunlight)

Feline Lymphoma – information for owners

General information

Feline lymphoma is a cancer of white blood cells (lymphocytes) in cats that can cause one or more tumours in the lymph system (including the lymph nodes, tonsils, thymus and spleen) and other tissues. It is the most commonly reported form of cancer that occurs in domestic cats. Feline lymphoma is more correctly called lymphosarcoma as it is a malignant neoplasia.

Feline lymphomas are usually divided into 4 subgroups depending on the parts of the body that are affected:

  • Gastrointestinal (alimentary) lymphoma affecting the stomach and/or intestines
  • Mediastinal lymphoma affecting lymphoid tissue in the chest cavity
  • Multicentric or nodal lymphoma affecting multiple lymph nodes or other sites in the body.
  • Extra-nodal or miscellaneous lymphoma affecting other organs (such as the kidneys, nose or brain) or those  that don’t fit clearly into another category

The most frequent form is gastrointestinal and has been associated with Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) infection in the past, although some cases also occur in cats with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) infection. This means that outdoor, unvaccinated cats are at greater risk of infection by these viruses and subsequent development of cancer.

Mediastinal lymphoma usually occurs in young cats less than two years of age. There is a slightly higher risk of this form of feline lymphoma in the Siamese and other Oriental breeds. Young cats can respond well to chemotherapy as long as the initial respiratory problem that they present with can be managed successfully.

Renal lymphoma is more common in older cats. While they can be responsive to chemotherapy, the significant kidney damage that has inevitably arisen prior to diagnosis persists. This has consequences both in the short and the long term. In the short term, chemotherapy drug metabolism will be affected by the reduction in renal function. In the long term, renal damage is likely to be permanent and may be progressive. Therefore, even if the lymphoma enters complete remission, life expectancy may be reduced.

There has also been a study published that shows an association between feline lymphoma in cats that were passively exposed to tobacco smoke in the environment (Bertone et al., 2002).

 

Presentation

Cases present in many different ways depending on the organ(s) affected.

Clinical signs of gastrointestinal lymphoma include decreased appetite (anorexia) and weight loss. Vomiting occurs in about half of all cases and diarrhoea in about 30% of cases. There may also be a palpable mass in the abdomen.

With mediastinal lymphoma, tumour(s) of the thymus gland can grow very large, causing breathing difficulties and coughing. These masses can also make swallowing difficult.

Signs of renal lymphoma include reduced appetite and weight loss. An owner may identify a large mass in the abdomen that is actually an enlarged kidney. These cases invariably present with a degree of renal failure at the time of diagnosis.

Diagnosis

Early diagnosis is vitally important for all cancers and can make the difference between a cancer being treatable or not.

Blood counts and chemistry tests help to identify which organs are involved and whether there is any anaemia.

Various imaging modalities, including radiographs (x-rays) and ultrasound studies and sometimes also CT or MRI scans, are helpful in determining the extent of disease.

For gastrointestinal lymphoma, diagnosis usually includes a biopsy by either a fine needle aspirate, core biopsy or excisional surgical biopsy.

For mediastinal lymphoma an x-ray is often taken to look for a mass and the presence of free fluid in the pleural space. A diagnosis can often be made on cytological analysis of the pleural fluid.

Renal lymphoma is often diagnosed by a fine needle aspirate of the enlarged kidney(s).

 

Treatment options:

Once a cytologic or histopathologic diagnosis of lymphoma has been made, the prognosis and potential treatment options should be discussed with your vet. Deciding on treatment involves a series of complex decisions and may include referral to a veterinary oncology specialist to discuss options.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy protocols are generally used in 3 phases: induction of remission, maintenance of remission and re-induction of remission after relapse (rescue therapy). Remission is explained in our FAQs.

There are essentially two basic chemotherapy protocols that are widely available for feline lymphoma, using either 3 or 4 drugs. The three-drug COP protocol uses the drugs cyclophosphamide (Cytoxanâ and others), vincristine (Oncovinâ and others) and prednisolone. The four-drug CHOP protocol also includes the drug doxorubicin (Adriamycinâ).

The occurrence of gastrointestinal adverse effects (anorexia) and bone marrow suppression are higher in animals receiving CHOP, the cost of treatment using these two protocols is similar and there is a lack of consensus about whether there is a benefit in terms of overall survival. Therefore, there may be no advantage of one protocol over the other and the decision should be based on a variety of factors including your views as a pet owner, the patient’s clinical signs, the presence of any other concurrent illnesses, cost and expected prognosis.

 

Prognosis

Prognosis means to make a prediction of the probable course and outcome of a disease. It refers to expected survival and/or the likelihood (chance) of recovery from a disease, based on the available evidence.

Certain factors can affect the prognosis and treatment options, including the age, general condition, presence of any concurrent conditions and whether this is the first diagnosis or recurrence of the disease.

Prognosis depends on whether the cat also is infected with feline leukaemia, the location of the tumour or tumours and how early the disease is diagnosed. The prognosis for extra-nodal lymphoma is generally poor. Feline leukaemia patients generally have a lower treatment response and shorter survival time.

Remission rates in cats with lymphoma treated using a chemotherapy protocol are approximately 65 to 75% whilst they can be as high as 80 to 90% in dogs. Most cats with lymphoma treated with multiple-agent chemotherapy protocols can be expected to live 6 – 9 months with about 20% of these cats surviving for more than 1 year. Most dogs with lymphoma treated in a similar manner can be expected to live 12 – 16 months with about 20 – 30% of these dogs surviving up to 2 years after diagnosis. The most likely reason for the shorter survival times in cats is that it is difficult to re-induce remission once the tumor has relapsed.

Survival rates are also dependent on any other damage to the organs such as kidney failure.  Untreated cats and dogs usually survive for about 4 – 8 weeks. Palliative treatment with analgesics such as meloxicam and corticosteroids such as prednisolone can make the pet more comfortable in the short term although they will not induce remission of disease.

 

To learn more about feline lymphoma

Limmer S, Eberle N, Nerschbach V, Nolte I, Betz D. 2014. Treatment of feline lymphoma using a 12-week, maintenance-free combination chemotherapy protocol in 26 cats. Veterinary Comparative Oncology. 2014 Feb 19. doi: 10.1111/vco.12082.

Fabrizio F, Calam AE, Dobson JM, Middleton SA, Murphy S, Taylor SS, Schwartz A, Stell AJ. 2014. Feline mediastinal lymphoma: a retrospective study of signalment, retroviral status, response to chemotherapy and prognostic indicators. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. 2014 Aug; 16(8):637-44. doi: 10.1177/1098612X13516621.

Bertone ER, Snyder LA, Moore AS. 2002. Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Risk of Malignant Lymphoma in Pet Cats. American Journal of Epidemiology 156(3): 268-273.

Last updated 25 March 2015. Claire Everard

Mammary tumours are relatively common in middle aged and older unspeyed female cats. The majority of mammary tumours are malignant, grow quickly and frequently undergo secondary spread to other parts of the body with fatal consequences.

What causes mammary tumours?

Mammary tumours occur in mammary glands that have been exposed to female hormones. They are rare in cats spayed (ovario-hysterectomy) before their first season. As in dogs, mammary tumours of cats are preventable. In general, any cat that is not going to be used for breeding is best spayed before its first season to prevent mammary cancer and unwanted pregnancy.

How could mammary tumours affect my cat?

The majority of mammary tumours in cats are malignant. They tend to grow quickly over a matter of weeks to a few months and become inflamed, swollen and ulcerated. They can involve more than one gland and frequently spread to the adjacent lymph glands. Further secondary spread to the lungs, in particular, is also common and this is invariably fatal.

Can mammary cancer of cats be treated?

At an early stage when the tumours are small, wide surgical excision has the best chance of achieving a cure. This surgery may involve removal of all mammary tissue especially if there is more than one tumour. Anticancer drugs (chemotherapy) have been tried and can give some temporary relief when the tumour is ulcerated or too big to remove. Anticancer drugs have also been suggested to reducing the rate at which secondaries develop. To date the actual effectiveness of these drugs is not known.

What is the prognosis?

The majority of mammary cancers in cats are aggressive with a high secondary rate; therefore the prognosis has to be guarded. If lymph glands are involved at the time of surgery then the prognosis is very grave. Wide surgery when the tumours are small carries the best hope of a cure.

Introduction

The most common cancers of cats include lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma, mammary carcinoma and soft tissue sarcoma (Table 1 over page). When lumps, bumps and enlarged lymph nodes (glands) are found in a cat, there are more non-cancerous disease possibilities or differential diagnoses than for dogs. As a result of infection or reactive inflammation, cats can develop markedly enlarged lymph nodes.

Clinical presentation

Affected cats may present with a lump or a mass lesion or nonspecific signs that may include lack of appetite, reduced activity and weight loss. Cases present in many different ways depending on the organ(s) affected. Clinical signs may include vomiting, diarrhoea, a palpable mass in the abdomen or breathing difficulties. Unfortunately, many cats hide disease well and will only present with advanced disease and not always as a result of the primary tumour. An example of this is when a cat with a primary lung tumour presents with secondary lesions of the digits (usually multiple) due to metastasis of bronchial or bronchioalveolar adenocarcinoma. This lung-digit syndrome results in swelling and reddening of the digit with purulent discharge from the nail bed which might suggest infection although radiographs (x-rays) will show destruction of bone.

Diagnosis

A thorough physical examination of the cat is always an essential part of the diagnostic process (or work-up) as it will determine which further tests will be required. Complete blood cell counts and biochemistry tests can help to reveal which organs are involved and whether there is any concurrent disease. Various imaging modalities, including radiographs, ultrasound studies and sometimes also CT or MRI scans may be helpful in determining the extent of the disease.

A diagnosis of cancer is usually based on histopathological examination of a sample that is obtained by a fine needle aspirate (FNA) or by a biopsy. Once the diagnosis of tumour type is made, further evaluation by a pathologist may be necessary to help establish the grade of the tumour as this will affect prognosis and treatment options.

Staging

Once a diagnosis of cancer has been established, the cancer should be staged. Staging is the process that determine to what extent the cancer has spread throughout the cat's body. The degree of spread will affect prognosis and may affect treatment options. Clinical staging using the TNM system to assess the primary tumour (T), including involvement of adjacent structures, metastasis to local and regional lymph nodes (N) and distant sites (M) should be carried out, as indicated by the biological behaviour of the tumour. The aim of staging is to ensure the best treatment possible is offered and to give a more accurate prognosis (expected outcome). Carcinomas and mast cell tumours mainly undergo metastasis (spread) via the lymphatic system. Cats develop the classical well defined ‘cannon ball’ pulmonary metastases much less commonly than dogs and lung metastases tend to appear as ill-defined mass lesions.

Table 1. The 4 most common types of cancer in cats and sites of predilection with comparison to

similar cancers in dogs.

 

Type of Cancer

Site/Sub-type

Comments

Lymphoma (Lymphosarcoma)

Alimentary(gastrointestinal)

More common in cats than dogs

 

Cranial mediastinal (chest)

More common in cats than dogs

 

Extranodal – can occur at any site, including the nose, kidneys and central nervous system

More common in cats than dogs

 

Multicentric (lymph nodes throughout body)

FNAs from LNs are less likely to be diagnostic of lymphoma in cats compared to dogs

Squamous cell carcinoma

Mouth, nose, ear, eyelid or other skin sites

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may help prolong quality of life

Mammary carcinoma

Mammary glands

Differences in lymphatic drainage

Soft tissue sarcoma

Injection site

 

 

Other skin sites or under the skin, mouth

 

* Adapted from a presentation given by Dr. Laura Blackwood at BSAVA Congress April 2015: Approach to the Feline [Cancer] Patient

 

References

Blackwood L. Approach to the Feline Patient. BSAVA Congress, April 2015.

Goldfinch N, Argyle DJ. Feline lung-digit syndrome: unusual metastatic patterns of primary lung tumours in cats. J Feline Med Surg. 2012 March; 14(3):202-8. doi: 10.1177/1098612X12439267.

Cancer in Cats

Bone tumours affect the larger breeds and are rare in small dogs. Irish Wolfhounds, Great Danes, Rottweilers and German Shepherd dogs seem to be at particular risk. To date, no genetic factors have been identified and it is thought that the growth characteristics of the at-risk breeds are important. Tumours tend to arise in the limb bones with the most active growth. The commonest sites are the distal radius (near the wrist), proximal humerus (near the shoulder), distal femur (above the knee in the back leg), proximal tibia (below the knee) and distal tibia (above the hock).

Presentation

Middle-aged dogs are more commonly affected. The first clinical sign that is noticed is either a sudden onset of lameness or a swelling at one of the characteristic sites. Not all sudden lameness and swellings are bone tumours - joint injuries such as sprains or ruptured ligaments can also cause these clinical signs. Veterinary attention should be sought at an early stage in all cases. With bone cancer, this lameness progresses and the dog may become 'grumpy' and off colour. Bone tumours become intensely painful, so much so that the dog can be severely affected by this. As the tumour grows, the swelling and lameness increase and routine painkillers give little or no relief.

The commonest bone tumour is the type known as osteosarcoma - a malignant tumour arising from the bone cells. Less common tumours include fibrosarcoma (from fibrous tissue), chondrosarcoma (cartilage origin), and haemangiosarcoma (blood vessel origin). X-rays can be used to detect a bone tumour but laboratory examination of a biopsy is necessary to determine the exact nature of the tumour.

Prognosis

The prognosis for any bone tumour is grave. Without treatment, the primary tumour becomes so painful that euthanasia is the only humane option. Almost all bone tumours of the legs are malignant (cancerous) and therefore have the potential to spread. In the case of osteosarcoma, secondary spread to the lungs is an almost certainty but is rarely detected on x-rays at this stage. However, even when the primary tumour is removed, these secondary tumours continue to grow to such a size that severe breathlessness and a general malaise become over-whelming.

Treatment options

There is no simple treatment for bone tumours in dogs. Bone cancer is aggressive and therefore requires aggressive therapy to achieve any chance of success. However, in recent years, progress has been made.

Pain relief is the first and foremost consideration. This can be achieved with analgesic drugs or by radiotherapy to the primary site. The pain relief achieved by radiotherapy tends to be better and of longer duration than by drugs but, even so, the pain is likely to start up again within the next 6 - 9 months. However, not all bone tumours are suitable for radiotherapy. Radiotherapy has no effect against the secondaries.

Amputation is the only certain way of controlling the pain and the primary tumour itself. The pain associated with the tumour is often so severe that the dog is walking on three legs; if they can manage at this stage, they will be much happier and pain-free following amputation. Most dogs will cope very well with amputation; even Rottweilers and Great Danes will adjust to the loss of a forelimb. As an alternative to amputation, so-called limb-salvage operations have been tried where all of the affected bone is removed and replaced with a bone graft, a large metal plate and fusion of joint. This option can be useful for dogs that are unlikely to tolerate amputation but may have major complications.

Anti-cancer drugs following amputation are used to control the rate at which secondary tumours develop. With amputation alone, 60% of dogs will die from metastasis/secondaries within six months; only 1 in 10 dogs will survive to one year. With the addition of anti-cancer drugs the six months’ survival is about 60%, with 4 in 10 alive at 12 months and about 15% alive at two years. Although generally well tolerated, the drug treatment can cause occasional side effects; some nausea and vomiting may occur after the treatment but this usually resolves within a couple of days. Currently the drug is administered once every 3 weeks for four doses

Bone Cancer in Dogs X-ray showing bone cancer in radius

Although treatment options are available for many types of cancer, sometimes treatment is not a good option. Decisions must be made to decide how best to care for your cat to ensure they have a good quality of life while they are still pain free and to plan their end of life care.

 

Firstly, what is a tumour? A tumour is an uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. These growths can be malignant (cancerous and likely to spread), or benign (not cancer and usually localised). Tumours can grow sufficiently large that they stop other organs from functioning properly. The progression of a tumour will depend on its type and location.

 

Once a tumour has been diagnosed it is best to discuss with your vet how to care for your cat. In some cases, the kindest thing may be to opt for euthanasia, particularly if the cat is in pain and suffering. In other cases, where the cat is still comfortable and relatively healthy, palliative or hospice style home care is an option. This usually involves using medication to relieve pain and discomfort, includingnon-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as meloxicam, opioid pain relievers, steroids such as prednisolone and sometimes local anaesthetics. Palliative care can make your cat more comfortable, giving you an opportunity to spend some quality time with your cat and make the most of the time they have left. Owners often comment on how much of a difference a little pain relieving medicine makes in making their cat more comfortable and even improving appetite.

 

A cat very much relies on its sense of smell so warming food and offering special treats can help to keep a cat eating well on its own. Cats really do not like force feeding. It is also very important to ensure that your cat has plenty of opportunity to drink liquids so they do not become dehydrated. Multiple water bowls with fresh and/or flowing water, chicken stock or other tasty broths can encourage cats to take in enough liquids. For cats that need a little bit extra, you can learn how to give sterile fluids under the skin (sub-cutaneous or sub-cut fluids) at home. There are several guides available free of charge for pet owners on the Cat Professionals website (http://www.vetprofessionals.com/catprofessional/free_downloads.html).

 Sadly, there will come a time when your cat is suffering and has lost their quality of life. Often there is a change in behaviour such as hiding or flinching when touched, becoming withdrawn, loss of appetite, reluctance to move or restlessness and difficulty in getting comfortable. Remember, purring is not a sign that your cat is free from pain, as even an injured or dying cat may purr. If your animal is no longer it’s “old self”, then usually you will know that it is time. It is useful to note the number of good days and bad days in a week. A “good” day might be one where your cat spends some time curled up enjoying some sunshine coming in through the window, manages toileting in the litterbox, does a bit of grooming and eats and drinks without too much coaxing. A “bad” day might be one where you cannot tempt your cat to eat or drink much, there may have a toileting accident or straining to do any eliminations. When the bad days outweigh the good, you will know that it is time to start making decisions about end of life options. It is important that you feel comfortable having a discussion with your vet practice about end of life options, including the euthanasia procedure, care of the remains and how you wish to be involved.

 Some pet owners prefer their animals to die naturally, while many will seek veterinary assistance. In many cases you can arrange for a veterinary surgeon to perform euthanasia in your home. As much as we would like our pets (and family) to die peacefully, this is not a common occurrence. Many owners report that there only regret was in waiting too long before ending their pet’s suffering.

There is a great deal of information on the internet and in books about pet loss. Advice and support around pet loss are available from Blue Cross for Pets, The Ralph Site, HelpGuide.org and many other organisations, links to these organisations can be found on our website. The Animal Cancer Trust website also hosts a Friends Remembered Gallery where you can upload a photo and tribute to your pet.

 

Freda’s story by Claire Everard

 Freda is an older cat that I adopted from my local cat rescue knowing that she had been diagnosed with tumours, my aim being to make her final weeks or months as comfortable as possible before it is time for her to say her final goodbye. More than 5 months later she is still with us. She is comfy and responsive, but needs extra help with grooming duties. Before bringing her home I consulted my vet and the rescue about Freda’s needs, and to plan for her end of life when the time comes. She has settled in well to her new home and is gradually getting to know my other cats. Whilst she loves her food most days, other days she needs encouraging with freshly cooked chicken or salmon.She was fairly quiet and withdrawn when we first adopted her, but now has explored our house and made it her home, she is responsive and has a healthy aversion to the hoover! She has her quiet days and I am monitoring good days versus bad, and regularly monitor for signs of discomfort. As with all animals her quality of life is my primary concern; to help with Freda’s care I have provided extra litter trays which I clean twice a day, she has lots of comfy beds and cushions to choose from, good quality cat food, tempting treats and lots of strokes/fuss.  I know she won’t be here for long, but know she will feel loved and happy for as long as she stays with me.

 Edit: 30/03/16 Sadly Freda's condition deteriorated rapidly on March 8th, and she was put to sleep (euthanised) at my lovely vets. She was comfortable, wrapped in her blanket and I was able to hold her as she slipped peacefully, and quickly into her forever sleep. 

Created by Claire Everard and Vicki Adams, 11/02/16 (Edited 01/03/16)

 

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Caring for a cat with terminal cancer Freda

Introduction

Cancer is a very common diagnosis, affecting up to 1 in every 4 dogs during their lifetime. The most common cause of death or reason for euthanasia of dogs in the 2004 Kennel Club health survey was cancer overall and for many breeds. The most common cancers of dogs are mast cell tumours, lymphoma, haemangiosarcoma, soft tissue sarcomas mammary tumours, osteosarcoma (bone cancer) and melanoma. Mast cell tumours are the most common skin cancer in dogs and these are more likely to affect older dogs; however, 70% of these tumours can be successfully treated with surgery and sometimes local radiotherapy. Lymphoma is the most frequent life-threatening cancer in dogs, accounting for up to 20% of all tumours and affecting as many as 24 out of every 100,000 dogs. Mammary tumours are one of the most common tumours found in older female dogs; however, spaying can dramatically reduce the risk of this cancer developing. Certain breeds have an elevated risk of developing particular cancers, suggesting that there is likely a genetic component or predisposition to cancer (Table 1 over page).

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Clinical presentation

Cancer can occur in any body part or system and clinical signs are varied as a result. As well, many of the signs are shared by a large range of other diseases. Affected dogs may present with a lump or a mass lesion or non-specific signs that may include lack of appetite, reduced activity and weight loss. Cases present in many different ways depending on the organ(s) affected. Clinical signs may include vomiting, diarrhoea, a palpable mass in the abdomen or on the skin, lameness, unexplained bleeding, an enlarged lymph node or even simply bad breath due to a mass in the mouth.

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Diagnosis

A thorough physical examination of the dog is always an essential part of the diagnostic process (or work-up) as it will determine which further tests will be required. Complete blood cell counts and biochemistry tests can help to reveal which organs are involved and whether there is any concurrent disease. Various imaging modalities, including radiographs, ultrasound studies and sometimes also CT or MRI scans may be helpful in determining the extent of the disease.

A diagnosis of cancer is usually based on histopathological examination of a sample that is obtained by a fine needle aspirate (FNA) or by a biopsy. Once the diagnosis of tumour type is made, further evaluation by a pathologist may be necessary to help establish the grade of the tumour as this will affect prognosis and treatment options.

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Staging

Once a diagnosis of cancer has been established, the cancer should be staged. Staging is the process that determine to what extent the cancer has spread throughout the dog’s body. The degree of spread will affect prognosis and may affect treatment options. Clinical staging using the TNM system to assess the primary tumour (T), including involvement of adjacent structures, metastasis to local and regional lymph nodes (N) and distant sites (M) should be carried out, as indicated by the biological behaviour of the tumour. The aim of staging is to ensure the best treatment possible is offered and to give a more accurate prognosis (expected outcome). Carcinomas, including mammary cancer, and mast cell tumours mainly undergo metastasis (spread) via the lymphatic system.  Bone cancer tends to spread to the lungs. Blood tests, imaging scans, bone marrow and/or lymph node biopsies may be necessary procedures in staging.

 

What happens after a diagnosis of cancer is made?

Your vet will discuss with you the diagnosis and type of cancer as well as the prognosis and management plan. It is up to you to make an informed decision but it is the responsibility of your vet to tell you all the options.

To help remember what you are told, you may wish to take notes or have another family member or friend with you. You do not need to ask all your questions at once. You will have other chances to ask the veterinary surgeon or nurse to explain things that are not clear and to ask for more information.

Veterinary surgeons also consider the patient's age and general health. Sometimes the goal of treatment is not to cure the cancer but to maintain as normal a quality of life

as possible in your pet for as long as possible. In this case, the goal is to control the disease or to reduce clinical signs associated with the cancer for as long as possible. The treatment plan depends mainly on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease and it may change over time.

Before starting treatment, you may want another opinion about your pet’s diagnosis and treatment plan. A second opinion is usually sought when there is doubt about the diagnosis whereas a referral is usually to seek specialist management of the case. Your veterinary surgeon may refer you to a specialist, or you may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat cancer include surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists.

 Table 1. Elevated risk of developing particular cancers, by breed.

Type of cancer

Breeds with an elevated risk of developing this cancer

Histocytic sarcoma or Malignant Histiocytosis

Bernese mountain dog, flat-coated retrievers

Osteosarcoma (bone cancer)

Large breeds such as Rottweiler, great Dane, Irish wolfhound, greyhound, Saint Bernard, Doberman, German shepherd, Irish setter, golden retriever, Borzoi, Leonberger

Haemangiosarcoma (blood vessel tumours)

German shepherd, golden retriever.

Mast Cell Tumour (Skin tumours)

boxer, bull dog, bullmastiff, Boston terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, Rhodesian ridgeback, Weimarana, Labrador retriever, beagle, golden retriever

Lymphoma/leukaemia

boxer, bull mastiff, basset hound, Saint Bernard, Scottish terrier Airedale terrier, Bouvier des Flandres, Labrador retriever,

Melanoma

Chow Chow, golden retriever, Pekingese, poodle, Schnauzer, Scottish terrier, cocker spaniel

Mammary tumours

poodles, spaniels, Puli, English setter, pointer, dachshund, German shepherd, Maltese terrier, Yorkshire terrier

Brain tumour

golden retriever, boxer

 

Adapted from Dobson J (2013), IRSN Vet Sci 2013, 941275, Published online Jan 17, 2013, doi: 10.1155/2013/941275 available athttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3658424/ as Open Access.

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Cancer in dogs

Although treatment options are available for many types of cancer, sometimes treatment is not a good option. Decisions must be made to decide how best to care for your dog to ensure they have a good quality of life while they are still pain free and to plan their end of life care.                                               

Firstly, what is a tumour? A tumour is an uncontrolled growth of cells in the body. These growths can be malignant (cancerous and likely to spread), or benign (not cancer and usually localised). Tumours can grow sufficiently large that they stop other organs from functioning properly. The progression of a tumour will depend on its type and location.

 Once an incurable cancer has been diagnosed, you need to discuss with your vet how to care for your dog. In some cases, the kindest thing may be to opt for euthanasia, particularly if your dog is in pain and suffering. In other cases, where your dog is still comfortable and relatively healthy, palliative or hospice style home care is an option. This usually involves using medication to relieve pain and discomfort, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as meloxicam, opioid pain relievers, steroids such as prednisolone and sometimes local anaesthetics. Palliative care can make your dog more comfortable, giving you an opportunity to spend some quality time with your dog and make the most of the time they have left. Owners often comment on how much of a difference a little pain relieving medicine makes in making their dog more comfortable and even improving appetite.

A dog relies on its sense of smell so warming food and offering special treats can help to keep a dog eating well on its own. It is also very important to ensure that there are plenty of opportunities to drink liquids so your dog does not become dehydrated. Multiple water bowls with fresh and/or flowing water, chicken stock or other tasty broths can encourage dogs to take in enough liquids

Sadly, there will come a time when your dog is suffering and has lost their quality of life. Often there is a change in behaviour such as hiding or flinching when touched, becoming withdrawn, loss of appetite, reluctance to move, restlessness or difficulty in getting comfortable. If your dog is no longer his/her “old self”, then usually you will know that it is time. It is useful to note the number of good days and bad days in a week. A “good” day might be one where your dog is willing to do those activities it normally enjoys such as going for a walk or playing with a toy and eats and drinks without any coaxing. A “bad” day might be one where you cannot tempt your dog to eat or drink much and/or he/she may have a toileting accident or strain to do any eliminations. When the bad days outweigh the good, you will know that it is time to make a decision about end of life options. It is important that you feel comfortable having a discussion with your vet practice about end of life options, including the euthanasia procedure, care of the remains and how you wish to be involved.

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Whilst many owners seek veterinary assistance with euthanasia, some would prefer their animals to die naturally. As much as we would like our pets (and family) to die peacefully, this is not a common occurrence. Many owners report that there only regret was in waiting too long before ending their pet’s suffering. In most cases you can arrange for a veterinary surgeon to perform euthanasia in your home.

 

There is a great deal of information on the internet and in books about pet loss. Advice and support around pet loss are available from Blue Cross for Pets, The Ralph Site, HelpGuide.org and many other organisations. The Animal Cancer Trust website also hosts a Friends Remembered Gallery where you can upload a photo and tribute to your pet.

 

 

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PDF for download

 

 

 

Golden retrievers are affected by a number of different cancer types, including lymphoma, haemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumours, although there are several other tumours that occur relatively commonly in this breed (Box). This article discusses the 3 most common cancers in more detail below along with information on diagnosis, staging, clinical presentation and treatment options, with an emphasis on early, accurate diagnosis.

In the 2004 Kennel Club survey, almost 40% (360/927) of all golden retriever deaths were reported to be due to cancer by their owners. Although the 2014 survey was carried out using different methodology and reporting of results, it appears that at least 28% (107/377) deaths were due to cancer as each individual cancer was listed separately and only the top 20 causes of death are reported on the website. An American study, Golden Retriever Lifetime Study (GRLS) is a prospective longitudinal study that was launched in 2012 with enrolment of a cohort of 3000 dogs completed in 2015. This observational study will follow the cohort of golden retrievers throughout their lives via annual online questionnaires for owners, annual physical examinations and collection of biological samples in order to evaluate the effects of factors such as diet, obesity, exposure to different environments and genetics on the incidence of disease. Hopefully this study will be able to help answer the question as to why golden retrievers from the US are more likely to be diagnosed with haemangiosarcoma whilst those from the UK are more likely to be affected by lymphoma. The Animal Cancer Trust is doing all that it can to support those working to fight cancer in golden retrievers. We will be posting some new cancer and breed specific information sheets on our website in the near future.

Diagnosis and staging

It is important to give a complete history of your dog's health leading up to the onset of illness and as much detail as possible about the signs you have observed as these may provide clues as to which organs are being affected. A thorough physical examination is always an essential part of the diagnostic process (work-up) to help determine which further tests are required. Complete blood cell counts and biochemistry tests can help to reveal which organs are involved and whether there is any concurrent disease. Various imaging modalities, including radiographs, ultrasound studies and sometimes also CT or MRI scans may be helpful in determining the extent of the disease. A diagnosis of cancer is usually based on histopathological examination of a sample that is obtained by a fine needle aspirate (FNA) or by a biopsy. Once the diagnosis is made, further evaluation by a pathologist may be necessary to establish the grade of the tumour as this will affect prognosis and treatment options. At this point, the cancer should be staged. Staging is the process of determining to what extent the cancer has spread throughout the dog’s body to ensure the best treatment possible is offered and to give a more accurate prognosis (expected outcome). Clinical staging using the TNM system to assess the primary tumour (T), metastasis to local and regional lymph nodes (N) and distant sites (M) is carried out as indicated by the biological behaviour of the tumour. If you are not happy with your vet/practice, please remember that it is you right and responsibility to seek a second opinion or referral to a specialist veterinary oncologist.

Lymphoma (lymphosarcoma) is a cancer arising predominantly in the lymph glands of the body. In some dogs this may occur at only one or two sites in the body although it is usually widespread or multi-centric, involving several lymph glands and internal organs. Multi-centric lymphoma is characterized by painless swelling of the lymph nodes, often with hepatosplenomegaly (enlargement of the liver and spleen) and/or bone marrow involvement. Most dogs do not show any distinctive signs of illness although hypo/anorexia (loss of appetite), weight loss, ascites (abnormal accumulation of fluid in the abdomen), dyspnoea (difficulty in breathing), polydipsia (abnormal thirst), polyuria (excessive passage of urine), fever, anaemia or haemorrhage may occur. There are many types and sub-types of lymphoma in humans although fewer are recognised in dogs. There are 2 main cell types of lymphoma in dogs:  B-cell and T-cell with the latter being the most aggressive type and, sadly, the most common type in golden retrievers. Lymphoma requires a tissue biopsy examined by a veterinary pathologist for diagnosis and this may require surgery (and sometimes multiple surgeries) to be certain. Chemotherapy is the treatment of choice for dogs with lymphoma and there are several different protocols that are available. The choice of treatment and prognosis (expected outcome) both depend on several factors, including the particular type/sub-type of lymphoma, the age of the dog and presence of concurrent disease, the costs and time commitment required to travel for treatment and monitoring. You and your vet should discuss all options including end of life choices. It is important to remember that you can make a decision to start treatment and use your dog’s response to treatment to help you decide on whether to continue with treatment. There is a growing awareness of the importance of palliative care for our canine companions suffering from cancer and other chronic diseases and there is much that we can do to improve quality of life. Many dogs with lymphoma will initially respond when treated with chemotherapy although not all dogs will go into remission and most dogs will relapse and then a decision must be made about further treatment or euthanasia.

Haemangiosarcoma is a malignant tumour that arises from the vascular endothelial cells that line blood vessels. Typically, haemangiosarcoma forms in very vascular organs such as the spleen, liver, heart and lungs, although they can be found in almost any organ. The most common sites are the spleen, liver and the right atrium of the heart but can also include the skin and subcutaneous tissue. These tumours grow via infiltration into surrounding normal tissues as well as by metastasis or spread to distant organs. In an attempt at maintaining normal function, tumour cells form abnormal blood vessels that tend to be tortuous, causing blood cells tend to pool in them and form blood clots. These blood clots prevent blood and nutrients from reaching the tumour cells, causing them to die and this results in small ruptures in the tumour that allows blood to seep into the abdomen, heart sac, chest, or subcutaneous space. Affected dogs may show non-specific signs such as lethargy and weakness, although these may be temporary as dogs reabsorb the blood components and make new blood cells. Clinical signs may include weight loss, lameness, weakness, collapse, rapid heartbeat, pale mucous membranes, blood loss and a palpable abdominal mass. Whilst these clinical signs tend to recur, they may be subtle enough to go unnoticed for some time, depending on the amount of blood lost. Since these tumours arise in internal organs there is often little warning that they are present prior to time they cause severe clinical signs of disease. Even with a large hemangiosarcoma, dogs may show no clinical signs or evidence that they have a life threatening disease until they suffer a haemorrhage and collapse. Careful examination of blood samples by experienced pathologists may reveal the presence of chronic hemorrhage and blood vessel abnormalities that are suggestive of haemangiosarcoma. Histopathologic examination of tissue taken directly from the tumour, often at the time of surgical removal of the tumour, is the most conclusive method for making a diagnosis. When the diagnosis is made, metastasis to other organs including the lungs, liver, intestines and mesentery (membranous connective tissue that supports the intestines) has usually already occurred, whether it be macroscopic (grossly visible) or microscopic The treatment options for haemangiosarcoma are limited due to the late diagnosis. Surgery to remove or de-bulk the primary tumour followed by intensive chemotherapy results in longer survival times compared to surgery alone. Dogs that undergo surgery to remove an intact splenic mass and where no metastases were detected achieve a slightly better than average survival compared to dogs who have suffered a ruptured splenic tumour.

Mast cell tumours (MCTs) are one of the most common skin tumours seen in dogs although there is great variation in what they look like and how they behave. Their behaviour varies from almost benign, slow growing, low-grade tumours at one end of the scale to very aggressive, high-grade cancers at the other end. MCTs at the least aggressive end of the scale are mainly potentially curable whereas the very aggressive ones are frequently fatal. Mast cells are a special type of cell that are typically found in the skin and their function is to coordinate inflammatory reactions. As a result, MCTs can show changes typically associated with inflammation such as swelling and redness and many owners will comment that a lump has been changing in size. When they are within the skin, MCTs may be raised, firm, hairless and sometimes reddened, swollen or ulcerated. Just below the skin surface, an MCT may be a soft and sometimes mobile mass that can feel similar to a lipoma (benign fat tumour). The size of MCTs can also vary enormously, from a few millimetres to 20-30 cm in diameter in extreme cases with most being about 2-3cm in diameter at diagnosis. A diagnosis of MCT is often made using a fine needle aspirate to obtain cells from a mass. The grade of the tumour must then be determined as this will affect the treatment decision making process. Histopathologic grading requires a biopsy to be obtained and submitted to a pathology laboratory. Low-grade MCTs are considered to be one of the most potentially curable of all cancers in that surgical removal with adequate margins of apparently normal tissue is appropriate. Intermediate-grade tumours require wider margins of excision whilst high-grade tumours require much wider margins. The higher the grade, the more likely it is that tumour cells will infiltrate into the surrounding tissues and the more likely it is to spread via the blood or lymph systems to other parts of the body. When surgical removal alone is not adequate or possible, additional treatment is necessary. Radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy can be used to manage tumours that cannot be completely removed or that have spread. There is also a licensed product called Masivet® that contains masitinib, a protein-tyrosine kinase inhibitor that blocks specific enzymes by selectively target tumour cells.

 

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References and further reading

  1. Animal Cancer Trust website www.animalcancertrust.co.uk/
  2. Dobson JM. 2013. Open Access publication:  Breed-predispositions to cancer in pedigree dogs. ISRN Veterinary Science Volume 2013, Article ID 941275, 23 pages. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/941275 available at http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2013/941275/
  3. Report from the Kennel Club/British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee. http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/breeding-for-health/inbreeding/
  4. Effective population size (EPS) available at http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/vets-researchers/publications-statistics-and-health-results/breed-population-analyses/
  5. Dog Breed Health website created by Carol Fowler  of the Cavalier Matters registered charity, no. 1141674. Aimed at dog and puppy buyers who are choosing which breed (or cross-breed) to have as a pet available at http://www.dogbreedhealth.com/
    1. A Guide to Genetic Health Issues for Dog Breeds – Golden Retriever. Available at http://www.dogbreedhealth.com/golden-retriever/
    2. A Beginner’s Guide to COI (Coefficient of Inbreeding) by Jemima Harrison. http://www.dogbreedhealth.com/a-beginners-guide-to-coi/

Name or type

Description of tumour

Lymphoma

Neoplasia of the lymphatic glands and tissues

Haemangiosarcoma

Aggressive malignant tumour of the blood cells in soft tissues such as the spleen, liver or heart

Malignant histiocytosis

Rapidly progressive multi-system neoplasia

Osteosarcoma

Cancer of the bone

Soft tissue sarcoma

Often histiocytic sarcoma

Thyroid adenocarcinoma

Malignant cancer of the thyroid gland(s)

Mast cell tumour(s)

Vary from low-grade, almost benign to high-grade  malignant

Melanoma

Can be benign or malignant; often in the eye or mouth

Trichoepithelioma

Usually a benign tumour of the hair follicle

  1. Masivet® Manufactured by AB Science. http://www.masivet.com/

As well as providing up to date information sheets about particular types on cancer we have also put together some colourful information posters about general pet care, with advice about how to reduce cancer risks. Just click on the PDF links below.

Chicken care poster

Dog Care poster

Ferret Care poster

Rabbit Care poster

Rat Care poster

 

The posters and original artwork were produced by Claire Everard. Entire posters can be printed off and displayed for educational purposes.

Pet Care Posters