Abnormal Cell Growth in Dogs

Abnormal Cell Growth Types, Symptoms, and More

Chances are you know a person who is suffering from abnormal cell growth or who has died from it. Similarly to humans, this is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of 10. Canine statistics are a bit alarming, as the current rate in dogs is higher than it is in humans. Fortunately though, many are curable if identified early enough and if you reach a Vet early enough.



What is Abnormal Cell Growth ?


Just like humans, canine cells are the uncontrolled growth of cells within the body. Despite the numerous kinds of cancer, each begins because of excessive growth of abnormal cells.

Cellular health is an extremely important aspect of keeping your dog healthy. Cells are the fundamental units of life. These living organisms in your dog’s body are responsible for constant communication, responding to environmental changes, and reacting to signals from the body. If a dog’s cells are compromised, the function of tissues and organs can fail. The physical health of dogs depends on the health of these trillions of cells that create the organs, tissues, and bones that support the dog’s body. Keeping your dog’s cells healthy is keeping your dog’s whole being healthy.

Cancer cells develop due to damage of the DNA. DNA is found in each cell and directs all cell actions. In a healthy cell, when the DNA becomes damaged, the body is usually able to repair it. However in cancer cells, the body cannot repair the damaged DNA.

What Causes Abnormal Cell Growth in Dogs?


Unfortunately, the explicit cause is unknown. However, there are multiple theories surrounding the reasons that dogs develop this, including:

    • Genetic factors: For example, large breed dogs have a tendency to develop certain types far more often than smaller breeds. Many genetic factors that cause this disease have yet to be discovered or fully understood.
    • Chiropractic: Chiropractic care has become a mainstream part of human health care as of late, and a growing amount of veterinarians have approved it for dogs. A veterinary chiropractor aligning your dog's spine may minimize pain.
    • Vaccines: Vaccines are designed to stimulate the dog’s immune system and protect against disease. However, vaccinating too frequently may over-stimulate the immune system and may predispose some dogs to abnormalities and immune-mediated disease.(1)

Vaccines have also been found to remain in your dog’s system for longer than a year -- therefore repeatedly vaccinating can be ineffective, as your dog is still protected from the disease or illness. Luckily, yearly vaccination is becoming a thing of the past. In 2010 the World Small Animal Veterinary Association published a set of new vaccination guidelines, recommending vaccination of adult dogs not more often than every 3 years.(2)

Another option is to talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s risk level for these diseases, as many vaccines may not be appropriate for your dog’s lifestyle. You can also ask your veterinarian to perform a titer test on your dog before vaccinating to determine if it is necessary.

    • Environmental toxins: Be aware of the products you use in your house and in your garden. Try to eliminate as many chemicals and pesticides as possible by looking into natural cleaning and lawn products. Cigarette smoke is also said to increase risk of cancer.

 

What types of abnormalities affect dogs?


There are numerous types of abnormalities that can develop in your dog, many similar to those found in humans.

Common types of cancer include:

  • Bladder Abnormalities: Cell abnormalities in the bladder  can affect the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, prostate, and urethra. Bladder cells is an unusual form, making up only a small percentage. Breeds such as Scottish Terriers, Shetland Sheepdogs, Beagles, West Highland White Terriers, and Wirehaired Fox Terriers are most likely to develop this bladder form than other breeds.
  • Brain Cell Abnormalities: Canine brain cancer is a primary or secondary tumor of abnormal cell growth. A primary brain tumor originates from cells within the brain, while a secondary brain tumor is a tumor that has metastasized (spread) to the brain. The most common type of primary brain tumor in dogs is a meningioma. Breeds with short noses (Brachycephalic breeds), such as Boxers, Boston Terriers, and English Bull Dogs, are most commonly affected by brain cancer.
  • Liver Abnormalities: Canine liver cell abnormalities, formally referred to as Hepatocellular carcinoma, is malignant that affects the tissue that lines the liver (epithelial tissue). It is the most common liver abnormality in dogs and accounts for 50% of cases. Although it is rarely associated with a specific breed, it seems to be found in male dogs over the age of 10 most frequently.
  • Lung Cell Abnormality: Canine lung cell abnormality is a malignant form that affects the lungs. There are generally two types found in dogs: primary and secondary. Primary appears first in the lungs and then can metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body. With metastasis, it can invade other organs, lymph nodes, and bones. Secondary is more common than primary. It is caused by the metastasis from another part of the body. Liver, brain, and bone cell abnormality commonly spread to the lungs.
  • Lymphoma: Lymphoma describes a diverse group of cancers that originate from white blood cells (lymphocytes). Lymphocytes aid the body in protection against illness. Although lymphoma can affect almost any organ, it is most commonly found in organs that help the immune system, including the lymph nodes, spleen, and bone marrow.
  • Mammary Abnormal Cell Growth: Is the most common form of bone abnormality in dogs. Although it can affect all breeds, it is typically found in large breeds, including the Irish Wolfhound, Rottweiler, Greyhound, and Great Dane. This is an extremely aggressive type and spreads rapidly. It can develop in any bone, but is most common in the areas surrounding the shoulder, wrist, and knee. It starts deep within the bone and progressively moves outward, destroying the bone from inside out.
  • Skin Abnormalities: Skin tumors are the most common tumors found in dogs. There are multiple types of skin cancer, including mast cell tumors, malignant melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell tumors, lipomas, mucocutaneous plasmacytoma, and cutaneous lymphoma.
  • Testicular Abnormalities: Testicular abnormalities are the most popular type originating from the male reproductive system. Intact males around the age of 10 years old are at a higher risk. Breeds with a predisposition to testicular abnormalities include the Boxer, German Shepherd, Afghan Hound, Weimaraner, and Shetland Sheepdog.

What are treatment options?


There is a variety of treatment options available for this disease, including surgery, chemotherapy, vaccine and radiation therapy. To obtain a diagnosis and determine the best treatment for your dog, consult a veterinary oncologist in your area.

What are alternative options?


Using alternative remedies to help manage your dog’s pain and boost his/her immune system before, during, and after treatment can be extremely beneficial. We recommend that you contact a holistic veterinarian in your area who can help you determine some alternative options to aid your dog’s healing.

  • Supplements: Elimay offers a few products, including Detox, Immunity, Omegas, and Pain Relief, that can help holistically support your pet during and after treatment. The Detox product supports cleansing and elimination of toxins, which is especially good for when your dog is undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy. It contains a blend of herbs, including Milk Thistle, Grape Seed, and Dandelion.
  • Chiropractic: Chiropractic care has become a mainstream part of human health care as of late, and a growing amount of veterinarians have approved it for dogs. A veterinary chiropractor aligning your dog's spine may minimize pain.
  • Nutritional Therapy: Nutrition and diet is an extremely important component of your dog’s overall state of health and plays a serious role in prevention and treatment. The food your dog eats has a direct impact on cellular health.

Elimay Detox Dog Supplements and VitaminsElimay Immunity Dog Supplements and VitaminsElimay Pain Relief Dog Supplements and VitaminsElimay Omegas Supplements and Vitamins

The fats your dog consumes, for instance, have a profound effect on the body’s cells, as the cell membranes are composed of fats. Omega-3 fatty acids, as found in fish, are necessary for cell structure. Feeding your dog appropriate levels of unsaturated fats, such as Omega-3s, is an easy way to support healthy cell membranes. Essential fatty-acids are required for body maintenance and growth of tissues, as well as overall immune system health.

Switching your dog to a raw, grain-free diet is one of the most rewarding choices you can make. Commercial diets are often high in glucose, the energy source that all cells depend on. When the dog’s body consumes high amounts of glucose, the abnormal cells take this and grow even faster. This process can leave the dog struggling for energy for day-to-day activities, since these cells are monopolizing all sources of energy. (3)

Another option is to talk to your veterinarian about your dog’s risk level for these diseases, as many vaccines may not be appropriate for your dog’s lifestyle. You can also ask your veterinarian to perform a titer test on your dog before vaccinating to determine if it is necessary.

Specific vitamins, such as vitamin E, are also critical to cell membrane health. Vitamin E contains antioxidants that can protect both the fats and proteins in your dog’s membranes from damage. Natural sources of vitamin E include nut oils, sunflower and wheat germ oil.

Raw diets, however, are not always appropriate for every patient. Chemotherapy can compromise the immune system, making the dog more prone to food-borne illness.

Overall, if you have a canine, your goal should be to keep his immune system strong and functioning with the support of supplements and a well-balanced diet.

  • Environmental toxins: Be aware of the products you use in your house and in your garden. Try to eliminate as many chemicals and pesticides as possible by looking into natural cleaning and lawn products. Cigarette smoke is also said to increase risk of abnormalities.

  • References:

    • (1) Duval, D., Giger, U. 1996 Sep-Oct. Vaccine-Associated Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia in the Dog. J Vet Intern Med., Vol. 10(5):290-5.
    • (2) WSAVA Guidelines for the Vaccination of Dogs and Cats. 2010. J Sm Anim Practice, Vol. 51: 5,6,9.
    • (3) Silver, R. 2013. Integrative Oncology: Blending the Best of Conventional with Evidence-Based and Supportive Complementary Therapies. Holistic Veterinary Medicine Club Symposium. Veterinary Information Network.

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