If your beloved companion has now been diagnosed with cancer, often our first question is, "How long does a dog live if it has cancer?" And the answer is: that depends. The size of the tumor, the advancement of the disease, and circumstances of the cancer are all important factors in estimating survival rates.
Just like when people get cancer, the type of cancer, the location of the cancer, and the overall health and age of your dog all affect the final answer to "How long does a dog live if it has cancer?" The treatment choice is just as important for the prognosis as the diagnosis of the cancer.
Cancer comes in various forms and severities. The following is a list of most common cancer types and the prognosis with optimal treatment (usually surgery and chemotherapy).
1. Nasal cancer – no treatment available
2. Lymphosarcoma – 3 months
3. Melanoma - if developed in the toes is usually incurable
4. Osteosarcoma - with aggressive treatment, 50% last one year, less than 10% live 3 years
5. Testicular - treatment by castration, high risk in intact dogs
6. Squamous cell carcinoma -very aggressive, fewer than 10% last more than 1 year
7. Head & neck cancer -very good, 90% curable
8. Hemangiosarcoma-less than 50% will last 6 months
9. Lymphoma-some forms are treatable, some have no treatment
10. Bladder cancer-about 195 days
11.Brain tumor-6 to 10 months
12. Mammary carcinoma-occurs in unsprayed females, 50% of the tumors are malignant
13. Mast cells tumors-can be aggressive or benign, no way to tell before biopsy
Cancer is not a death sentence for your dog. Cancer treatment has changed radically in the last ten years and more advances are literally happening every day. If your dog develops cancer, seeing a veterinarian is the first step in stopping the disease. Carefully consider all of your treatment options before deciding on a course. Ask questions of your veterinarian and staff. Ask for a referral to a canine oncologist. Approach treatment decisions as carefully as if it were your own body.
Certain breeds have a genetic predisposition to cancers: Beagles, Boston Terriers, Boxers, Bulldogs, Dachshunds, English Setters, Fox Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Schnauzers, Weimaraners, and Irish Wolfhounds are all prone to mast cell tumors. Bone tumors occur most often in the large breeds and giant breeds. Hemangiosarcoma is more prevalent in Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Portuguese Water Dogs and Skye Terriers. West Highland Terriers are known for developing bladder cancer.
How long does a dog live if it has cancer? It all depends, but hopefully the survival rate is very good and the quality of life is even better.