Why dog cancer cases have doubled in last 10 years

The number of cancer cases among dogs reported at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute has doubled over the last 10 years

Though they excitedly wag their tails when they see you and are an overdose of cuteness, not all is well in the world of man’s best friend. Scientists at the Indian Veterinary Research Institute—one of India’s top veterinary institutes—have warned that cancer cases among dogs have been on a rapid rise in India.

In 2006-07, 94 cases of cancer in dogs were reported at IVRI. However, a decade later, the number rose to 209, which more than double the number of cases reported 10 years ago.

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AK Sharma, principal scientist, head of pathology and in-charge at IVRI, told TOI,

As the only symptom to determine cancer among dogs is the presence of nodule (a small swelling or aggregation of cells in the body), there has been increased awareness among pet owners who have been rushing to veterinarians after finding the lump in the body of their pets during grooming sessions. The nodule turns into a tumour, which spreads in other parts of the body.

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Other than old age, there can be several reasons behind the rise of cancer cases among dogs including weaker immune system, being exposed to environmental carcinogens like cosmetics and smoking, and because certain dog breeds are more susceptible to developing cancer. However, none of the causes are definitive. If you have a dog, the top warning signs of cancer include unusual odours, bumps or lumps under the skin, unusual weight loss, changes in appetite and open sores.

The most common type of cancer among dogs are Transmissible Venereal Tumour (TVT), mammary gland tumour (breast cancer), spleen cancer, skin cancer, lymphatic cancer, gum tumour and eye cancer.

However, not all news is bad. An Australian biotech pharmaceutical company has announced promising results from trials of new drugs which stabilised the spread of cancer in dogs.

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Source – The Times of India