Each breed of dog is predisposed to certain illnesses. Some sickness will be chronic, and others are short term. Unfortunately, there is a significant risk of cancer in poodles. They have a higher chance of getting cancer compared to most breeds.
A study of 74 thousand dogs based out of the University of Georgia showed that cancer is one of the three top causes of death for a toy, miniature, and standard poodles. It is second for toys at 11.4%, first for miniatures at 18.5%, and first for standards as well as a high 27.1%.
Knowing how prevalent it is for poodles to be diagnosed with cancer, it is important as an owner to understand how to prevent the disease as well as learn about available treatments should they be diagnosed with it.
Signs of Cancer in Poodles
There are many types of cancer that can affect your poodle, and it is important to know the symptoms in case your dog is affected. Cancer is a disease that if it is caught early, can be treated. Be aware of the following symptoms in your poodle:
- Lumps or Non-healing Bumps. Watch your poodle for growths as a symptom of melanoma. These can be found anywhere on the body but especially on the legs and pads of the paws. Any lump or mass should be checked by a veterinarian but especially if the growth is growing over time.
- Bad Breath. This smell is more than a doggy breath. If your dog seems to have distinctively unusual bad breath, then this can be a sign of oral cancer. Your poodle should see their vet sooner rather than later.
- Abnormal Fluids. If your poodle has any discharge, then they need a visit to their veterinarian. Puss or blood can be a sign of cancer in their gastrointestinal tract.
- A larger than normal stomach may be a sign of excess fluid. Aside from regular bloat, this can also be a serious symptom of a tumor in the Gastrointestinal tract.
- Loss of Weight. If your poodle suddenly gets thinner or seems to change their regular stature, this can be a symptom of lymphoma or lymphosarcoma.
Additional and Sporadical Signs
All poodles have times when they are less active than their regular busy selves, but if they lose interest in their toys or regular exercise, then you should take notice to make sure that this lethargy is not a symptom of cancer.
- No Appetite or Trouble Eating. This is a symptom of many illnesses, one of them being oral or throat cancer. If this symptom persists over a few days, make sure your pet sees their vet.
- Bathroom Trouble. If your dog’s bathroom behavior changes, then it should be noted. Changes from their regular outdoor routine could signal a bladder or kidney cancer. Watch if they are going less or more or have difficulty when going.
- Trouble Breathing. If your poodle begins to breathe quickly or irregularly, this can be a sign of heart or lung tumors.
- More Drinking and Urinating. These increases can signal a slow-growing tumor in the hypothalamus at the base of the brain or perhaps in the adrenal gland.
Treating Your Poodle for Cancer
The three main ways to treat poodles with cancer is chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. These are each used on their own or in different combinations depending on the diagnosed cancer. The first choice is usually surgery so the vet can remove as much of cancer as possible. This can be done as a stand-alone treatment or with chemo or radiation.
Chemotherapy is a form of treatment that uses specific drugs such as Leukeran to fight the disease in your poodle. It can be used both before and after surgery, depending on whether the vet is trying to kill remaining cancer cells, minimize the tumor, or put cancer into remission.
Chemotherapy has some side effects such as thinning hair or upset stomachs and can also cause immunity issues. However, with proper care, chemo will do more good for your poodle than harm.
The third treatment option is radiation therapy. This is used for more localized targeting of a tumor. This treatment can be tiring but doesn’t have a lot of side effects other than weariness. Poodles need to be still for these treatments, so sometimes sedation is given. Again, this is tiring but not critical to their long-term health.
Preventing Cancer in Poodles
Although your poodle can’t fight genetics, they can lead a healthy lifestyle in attempts at cancer prevention. Here is how you can better their odds of a cancer-free life:
- Spay or Neuter your Poodle – many cancer percentages drop when your dog is fixed
- Use Doggy Sunscreen – My Dog Nose It or similar products can be used to protect exposed areas of skin on your Poodle
- Healthy Diet – Foods such as Castor & Pollux Organix Grain-Free Organic Small Breed or Vital Essentials Raw are both products that are free of artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. They have quality ingredients without harmful fillers. There are quality foods on the market such as these that will give your poodle a healthy diet with no toxins.
- Healthy Treats – Stella & Chewy’s Carnivore Treats are great treats with healthy ingredients. The less artificial ingredients, the better for their preventative health
- Exercise – Chuckit Tennis Balls is just one of the many toys you can use to get your Poodle active and exercising. Keep fit is another way to work at preventing cancer in your dog.
Cancer is a word that scares us, whether it applies to ourselves or our loved poodle. However, if you have knowledge, and awareness around symptoms, then early detection should be helpful in treatment and care.
Along with knowing what symptoms to look for, there needs to be an awareness about prevention so you are able to do as much as you can to fight any genetic predisposition your Poodle may have for cancer.
Good preventative measures, along with early detection and treatment are crucial to your poodle living a long and happy life.