Basically, a tumor is a lump or growth that can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors are slow-growing; they do not invade neighboring tissues and are not usually life-threatening. Malignant tumors can be fast growing; they are potentially life-threatening and can metastasize into other areas of the body.
Causes of Canine Cancer
- Environmental factors, such as exposure to chemicals, viruses, parasites, pesticides, herbicides, and even second-hand smoke
- Poor nutrition
- Injury and trauma
Many benign tumors develop from viruses, such as warts, but many malignant tumors grow for unknown reasons.
About 50% of dogs over 10 years old will develop cancer, but in general about 25% of dogs will develop cancer. That means about 1 in ever 4 dogs will get cancer.
Common types of Cancer in Dogs
- Bladder Cancer: often diagnosed too late in about 50% of dogs.
- Lymphoma or Lymphosarcoma: A very aggressive cancer with a high mortality rate.
- Mammary Carcinoma: Common in unspayed female dogs. About 26% of female dogs that have had two heat cycles before being spayed can develop this cancer; about 8% if after only one heat cycle, and only 0.5% if spayed before the first heat.
- Mast Cell Tumor (Mastocytoma): accounts for about 20% of skin tumors in dogs. They are easily removed and generally do not redevelop.
- Oral Tumors: a very common cancer that generally affects older dogs.
- Osteosarcoma: 5% of dogs develop this cancer, but it is very aggressive
- Prostate Cancer
Pitbulls are relatively healthy, but like any and all dogs, they can develop cancer. I, personally, had a female Pit Bull develop bone cancer at 17 months old, but my cousin and step-mother both have experienced mast cell tumors in their Pit Bulls.
Mast cell tumors and other skin tumors are actually quite common in Pit Bulls. Once a biopsy has been performed to determine that your dog has a mast cell tumor, the most common treatment is removal.