Cancer in dogs: How long can a dog live with cancer?


If you have received the alarming news that your dog has cancer, I want you to take a deep breath before you continue to read this blog. It feels very emotional to hear that your pup has the big C, so please be aware that a cancer diagnosis doesn’t mean a death sentence. Leia was a cancer survivor and I have known several dogs with aggressive cancer who made it even in their old age.

The good news is that most dogs tolerate cancer treatments much better than humans. Chemotherapy for example, is much more tolerated in our companion canines than in people.
When my German Shepherd Leia was diagnosed with mammary cancer, her oncologist recommended 5 rounds of chemotherapy which were scheduled once a month. I am very pleased to report that she never lost her appetite, remained playful during the whole course of her treatment, and didn’t go bold. Her fur got a little fuzzy but it resembled nothing like what humans experience with hair-loss.
An article titled “A Cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence“, written by Sue Ettinger (Head of Oncology at Animal Specialty & Emergency Center in Wappinger Falls), confirms my own personal experience with dog chemo. Based on her statistics: 80% of dogs have no side effects, only 15% to 20% experience mild to moderate side effects that will only last a few days. Cancer treatments also include surgery, radiation, immunotherapy, palliative and supportive care.
New therapies like newer radiation options and targeted therapies are being introduced for aggressive tumors. Consult with an oncologist on the best treatment course for your dog, not just with a regular vet. I recommend to do your research when choosing a specialist just as you would for your own doctor and if possible, get more than one opinion.

Miracle cure for dog cancer

While there is no cure for cancer yet, there are many things you can do to help your dog beat cancer in combination with traditional cancer treatments.

Many dog parents swear by mushrooms used in traditional Chinese medicine and CBD oil to stimulate receptors in the endocannabinoid system. I personally witnessed amazing results with CBD oil. 

Life expectancy of a dog diagnosed with cancer can significantly vary depending on age, when a dog is diagnosed and the specific type and stage of cancer found. Leia was given 9 months left to live after her diagnosis, but she ended up living for another 5 years and cancer-free. It never returned. 
A poor prognosis is not written in stone. Try to stay in the moment with your dog and consider combining natural supplements with traditional treatments your oncologist might recommend. 
Author: Rosanna Maderni
Dog Cancer Infographic