In recent years we hear of more and more dogs with cancer. Seeing your dog succumb to disease can be heartbreaking, however, with the growing number of dogs with cancer, there is growing awareness as well as a wider diversity and options for fighting and beating it.
Is Cancer common with Pugs?
About fifty percent of all dogs above the age of ten will have a type of cancer. Pugs are actually NOT one of the higher risk breeds but are not immune to it and around thirty percent will still have to be treated for cancer. There are ways to reduce the chance of your pug having cancer and with early detection and proper treatment, there is also a good chance of recovery.
Having a mature Pug myself, I have done some research to see if and how I could spare my Lev from this disease. There is a growing base of knowledge regarding the types of cancers, treatments, effectiveness, and cost of dealing with cancer.
Why do Pugs get Cancer?
Pugs live an average of twelve to fifteen years and getting better food and veterinary care than ever before. Just like us humans who live longer and get exposed to more geriatric disease than ever before. These extra years are not finding them at their prime, the body is not as strong as it used to be, the immune system is weaker than before and the body has already been exposed to whatever environmental factors that do us harm for many years. On top of that cancer may not have been properly diagnosed with dogs in the past, they were just ‘really sick’, but now it is.
Since cancer is caused by the mutation of the animal cells’ themselves, the reason for the mutation is the cause. The cause of cancer is often not known. There are however factors that seem to correlate with higher chances of getting cancer or developing cancer.
- Genetics is one factor. Even though we are not sure why you can see patterns in certain breed and bloodlines.
- Some viruses may cause an onset of cancer
- Nutrition and environmental factors are also often blamed. This includes exposure to natural or chemical based hormones, pesticides, and carcinogenic materials.
Dogs get cancer for much of the same reasons we, humans do. You don’t have to believe in conspiracies to realize that we are all surrounded and exposed to a very wide range of chemicals and radiation which may or may not harm us. Everyday materials we may have been using for years turn out to carcinogenic and industrialized, processed and engineered food contains more and more substances and chemicals we retroactively find out may have done more harm than we thought. The pet food industry is literally using the leftovers from the human food industry and has much less supervision (hence all the callbacks), and even if eating raw or home cooked, your pug is still exposed to the same (maybe) harmful foods we are. Unless you live in the mountains, away from cell towers and pollution, organically grow your food from fresh rainwater and rely on the sun and wind for energy, you and your dog are at the same risk as most of us.
What types of cancer do dogs have?
The most common cancers found in dogs are tumors on lymph nodes, breast cancer in females, testicular cancer in males, skin cancer, bone cancer, mouth cancer, and other sarcomas.
Should statistics matter to you?
I could probably fill this page with number and statistics regarding breeds, ages, body parts and cross reference with types of cancer and geographical occurrence, but I believe that other frustration and confusion it will not really help or encourage anyone. (Doesn’t do it for me)
How can I avoid or reduce the chances of my Pug having cancer?
There is not one cause of cancer that can just be prevented, in fact we are not sure why many types of cancer happen.
Genetics are one factor. If your Pug comes from a reputable breeder with a healthy bloodline, odds may be in your favor. Total prevention is practically impossible, however keeping your Pug healthy and being vigilant about early detection may be the best way to go. The one thing we do know that does’ lower chances of certain types of cancer is spaying or neutering your dog, and in this sense, the earlier the better.
We cannot avoid every enviormental factor which may affect us or may be hazerdes to our Pug (as well as ourselves and our children) but it is our duty to try and avoid the ones we know as much as we can. You wouldn’t buy a dog bed if you knew the fabric contained asbestos right?
Warning signs of cancer
General changes in behavior in your pet is often a sign of health issues and no one can spot them better than you. There are a few signs that should raise your suspicions (any of them should probably be a good reason to visit the vet):
- Lumps and bumps, swelling and non-healing wounds are the classic signs
- Chronic cough- Any type of coughing that lingers more days than a slight cold seems reasonable
- Significant weight loss or sudden weight gain. Pugs do not tend to lose weight without good (or bad) reason
- Nose bleeds. Unless your Pug was physically scratched or bruised, there should not be any bleeding from the nose
- Excessive eye and nose discharge. Some eye and nose discharge may be normal. You should know how much is reasonable for your Pug.
- Physical abnormalities in the mouth area. Pugs are very ‘mouthy’ dogs. Tumors in the mouth will get in the way and annoy. See if there are changes in the way they eat, drink and use their mouth.
- Abnormal stools- Extreme changes in consistency, color or bleeding in your dog’s stools (without a change in diet)
- Collapsing and Seizures. This is kind of a ‘no-brainer’. Go to the vet whether it is cancer-related or not.
Is cancer always fatal?
No. Well, not always. With early detection, there is a growing chance of beating cancer. These days there is a variety of treatments close to what is available to humans. Certain types of cancers even have a vaccine. Surgery is still the most common and effective treatment, when applicable, but more and more vets and clinics can also treat dogs with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. More and more veterinary clinics specializing in oncology are popping up.
Are the costs for treatments even affordable?
This painful subject has no clear-cut answer. Early detection, and depending on the type of cancer, may be resolved with relatively minor surgery by your local vet and cost accordingly. In more complex cases the diagnosis itself can quickly run up to costs of four digits.
Cancer and other disease are out there and your Pug is not going to be immune to most of them (Do make sure you give Vaccinations to the ones you can). There is no point in over thinking it or over-analyzing it. There are a few preventative measures you may be able, and should, provide, and beyond that, give your Pug the best food and care you can provide, and take him or her to vet for periodic check-ups. Cancer, just like most other possible ailments, can better be treated and with the better outcome with early detection, so, be attentive to your Pug, see if there is anything out of the ordinary and just love them. They will love you back, that is guaranteed.
Do Pugs have a lot of health problems?
Pugs can leave a long and healthy life. As purebred dogs, some conditions are inherent to their breed. Their physical features, which make them unique may also be their health pitfalls. The big bulgy eyes are prone several complications, the folds around the nose, are prone to some issues and those tiny hips may prove to be troublesome.
On the bright side, the majority of medical issues can be easily dealt with, especially if diagnosed, not neglected at and taken care of at the early stages. The positive traits of the Pugs will easily outweigh the negative but don’t listen to me, I am biased. Get the details in “What problems do pugs have? Pug Health and Personality”
How much do Pugs Cost?
Depending on where you live, Pugs ca cost a few hundred dollars, if you get them from a shelter or rescue, up to a few thousand dollars if you by from a reputable breeder or if you are looking for pedigree. Try to avoid buying from pet shops and cheep breeders, there may be a hidden cost behind those “deals”. On top of the initial paying price, remember, there are additional costs for food, veterinary care, some necessities and more things to come, during the twelve to fifteen years of life expectancy. See the full run-down of what it costs to buy and care for a pug in “Are Pugs Expensive? The Real Cost of Buying and Owning a Pug”