Dr. Joshua Schiffman, an oncologist from the Huntsman Cancer Institute
and Dr. Matthew Breen of North Carolina State University recently held a #CancerQs session for Newsweek. The two have spent a significant part of their careers researching animals like elephants and dogs to learn what makes them susceptible or immune to cancer and how we can utilize that information for human diagnosis.
Dr. Breen explained that cancer can affect dogs of all sizes and breeds, even mixed breeds. However, among purebreds there are certain breeds with higher risks for cancer and predispositions for specific forms of cancer.
Here are 10 at-risk breeds and the cancer they’re prone to develop:
1. Golden Retrievers
The most common cancer in golden retrievers is hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive, malignant tumor of blood vessel cells that can form in any vascular organs and the skin. Scientists estimate that one in three goldens will develop this cancer, and males develop it at a higher rate than females.
Golden retrievers are also prone to lymphoma which manifests in the lymph nodes and other lymphatic organs, such as the liver and spleen.
Histiocytic sarcomas are prevalent in the following 3 breeds:
2. Bernese Mountain Dogs
Histiocytic sarcomas are very aggressive tumors, which spread very quickly…
3. Flat Coated Retrievers
The lesions caused by histiocytic sarcomas are most commonly found in the spleen, lymph nodes, lung, bone marrow, skin, brain, and joints of the limbs.
If your pet has disseminated histiocytic sarcoma, surgery will likely not be recommended.
Bladder Cancer is prevalent in the following 4 breeds:
5. Scottish Terriers
One study found that Scottish terriers exposed to herbicides had a higher risk of developing bladder cancer than those who were not exposed.
Symptoms of bladder cancer include blood in their urine, difficulty or painful urination, and frequent urination. The dog may have recurrent urinary tract infections.
7. West Highland White Terriers
Unfortunately, by the time bladder cancer is diagnosed it it has often become difficult, if not impossible to remove.
8. Shetland Sheepdogs
Preventative measures mostly consist of reducing exposure to harmful pesticides and herbidies. Foot soaks and baths can be used to rinse away toxins on a pet’s paws, legs and coat. Use a safe, natural pest deterrent.
Brain Cancer is prevalent in the following 2 brachycephalic* breeds:
*Brachycephalic breeds of dogs, which are characterized by their short-nosed and flat-faced appearance, are more likely to develop gliomas, which are tumors of the central nervous system tissue.
Any brachycephalic dog over the age of five has a higher risk of developing brain cancer, although the average age is nine.
10. Boston Terriers