How Fast Can Cancer Spread in Dogs?


A cancer diagnosis can terrify a dog owner, but even though the news can be shocking, it helps to understand some facts about canine cancer and how quickly it can spread.


  • Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells that tend to reproduce in an uncontrolled way and, in some cases, metastasize (spread). Cancer most commonly affects purebred breeds and can appear in various forms, such as lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma and adenocarcinoma. The severity of the cancer affects the amount of spreading. If it is diagnosed as malignant, it can easily metastasize, destroying organs throughout the dog's body.


  • Some forms of canine cancer are more severe than others. Canine mast cell tumors account for up to 20 percent of all skin tumors in dogs, but typically have the highest recovery rate. Lymphosarcoma is a common cancer of lymphocytes in dogs that can be extremely aggressive and has a high mortality rate if left untreated. Cancers detected earlier, in the earlier stages known as stages I or II, have a higher recovery rate than those in later stages III or IV.


  • The success of treatment depends on many factors, such as the dog's age, diet, type of cancer, and medical history. Chemotherapy and surgery can slow cancer progression, and some pet owners also try holistic methods.


  • Cancer can occur in many parts of a dog's body, including the skin, gastrointestinal tract, kidney, bladder, blood and bones. An early diagnosis can help to prevent a potential spread of cancer and has a significant effect on the success of treatment.


  • Cancer is the leading cause of death among older dogs. According to, more than half the dogs currently aged over 10 years old will die of cancer. Early detection and effective treatment is essential to provide the best possible prognoses.


  • Photo Credit Lisa Kropp
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