New Study Indicates Certain Dog Breeds Are More Prone to Getting Cancer

A new study published Tuesday in Royal Society Open Science has discovered which dog breeds have a greater chance of getting cancer, and the results are of special concern to owners of large breed dogs.

The researchers in the study sought to understand how cancer starts and how that relates to certain dog breeds.

According to a report on ABC News, the Royal Society Open Science study found that It turns out that large -- but not the largest -- dog breeds generally have the highest cancer risk, according to the study.

The researchers found that "Of 85 breeds in more than one dataset, only flat-coated retriever showed significantly elevated cancer mortality, with Scottish terrier, Bernese mountain dog and bullmastiff also showing notable risk (greater than 50% over expected)."

Flat-coated retrievers typically get a type of sarcoma. Terriers have a higher incidence of bladder cancer.

Related: Delaware Community Mourns Beloved Neighborhood Dog After He Passes Due to Cancer

Leonard Nunney, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Riverside and lead author of the paper explained to ABC that "In humans, the pattern shows that as the body gets bigger, it is expected to be more prone to cancer."

But this doesn't hold true for dogs.

Nunney continued, "Since big dogs typically die at a much younger age, they actually have less of a risk to develop cancer than medium-sized dogs,  That's simply because they're dying younger."

The good news that the study reports is that not many breeds are excessively prone to cancer.

Recognizing Signs of Cancer in Dogs

Concerned dog owners should always schedule a veterinarian appointment if they are worried about any physical or behavioral changes in their pup. Only a veterinarian can diagnose and confirm cancer in dogs, but here are some of the most common signs of cancer in dogs that pet parents should be familiar with.

Sudden and unexplained weight loss, even if your pup has no changes in diet or exercise, can be a potential sign of various health issues, including cancer.

Lumpy areas or bumps on the body, especially if they are growing rapidly or changing in size, may not all be cancerous, but they should be checked out by your veterinarian.

Difficulty with breathing or coughing a lot.  These could be symptoms of nasal or lung cancer, but once again, you should consult with your vet.

Changes in urinating or defecating, changes in stool consistency, or the presence of blood in urine or feces. Urinating more than usual because sometimes pets with urinary cancer have to pee frequently, have accidents inside the house or seem to strain when urinating. Chronic vomiting should also be reported to your vet.

Changes in behavior, such as being more tired, irritable or having a lack of interest in previously enjoyed walks or playtime, or any abrupt changes in behavior could also be a sign. Seizures or tremors should always be checked out by your vet.

No one likes to think about their beloved pup ever getting sick, but it's always better to be safe than sorry. You know your dog better than anyone so if something gives you cause for concern, have them checked out by your veterinarian.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in 47% of dogs, especially in dogs over the age of ten. It is estimated that 6,000,000 dogs will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Knowing what signs to look for could lead to early detection which will lead to your dog getting the best care possible.

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