Being responsible for a dog is no easy task, despite having a dog being very rewarding. You'll be aware of lots of ailments your dog is susceptible to, but conditions that affect their feet are often overlooked. Toe cancer is a relatively common tumour-forming cancer in dogs, and it's important to be aware of the signs of toe cancer, as it can spread quickly to other parts of your dog's body. Read on to learn about the signs of toe cancer and how it's treated.
Signs Of Toe Cancer
Toe cancer is most prominent in elderly dogs, but it can develop in a dog of any age. In its early stages, a very small tumour begins to grow on one of your dog's toes, and this tumour can be red or blister-like in appearance. Swelling will develop around the tumour and the pad on the affected toe may become ulcerated. Your dog will find it uncomfortable or painful to walk on the affected paw, and they may develop a limp. This can cause them to become agitated, lethargic and withdrawn, so if you notice these changes in their mood or behaviour, try to check their paws.
Treating Toe Cancer
To confirm the tumour on your dog's toe is cancerous, your vet will take a biopsy and blood samples. It's important to establish the depth of a cancerous tumour, so a CT scan will be required to assess the condition of the soft tissue around the affected toe. Your dog may need to be sedated for this type of diagnostic imaging, but they'll be able to go home with you the same day. If this type of cancer is caught before it spreads, amputating the toe will cure your dog. However, if the cancerous cells have already spread into other parts of your dog's body, additional treatment will be required. This may involve radiation therapy or chemotherapy, and there's no guarantee that treatment will be effective.
After your dog has their toe removed, they shouldn't have any problem running around and doing what they used to do before the amputation. However, if you find your dog's mobility has been affected, talk to your vet. They can refer your dog for physiotherapy and provide guidance for keeping your dog at a healthy weight while they are less mobile.
If you notice an abnormal growth on your dog's toe, or if they seem reluctant to go for a walk and put weight on one of their paws, book them in for a foot exam with a local vet service.