Knowing your little dachshund buddy's risk of various cancers can help you catch any problem early. Studies suggest dachshunds are average to low among dog breeds in overall cancer risk, but that they are at higher than average risk of developing cancers of the skin, anal sacs and fat cells.
Mast Cell Tumors
Dachshunds are at greater than average risk of developing mast cell tumors, Dr. Mark Silberman of Southwest Animal Clinic in Houston, Texas, wrote in a 2009 article in Houston Pet Talk. Normally, mast cells work to reduce inflammation in your canine pal's body. The usually helpful chemicals these cells release can become dangerous when large quantities are released, as occurs when the cells become cancerous and begin multiplying. Most mast cell tumors are found on the skin in the form of unusual lumps, particularly on the trunk, lower abdomen, and hindquarters. If they are not treated promptly, the cancer can affect the spleen and lymph nodes.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Long Beach Animal Hospital in California lists squamous cell carcinoma as a common form of skin cancer affecting dachshunds. As in humans, exposure to ultraviolet light causes the cancer to form in the epidermal layer of the skin. Crusty or bleeding sores that do not go away for months, especially when they occur in patches of white hair or on light-colored skin, are the main symptom of this type of cancer. In most cases, the cancer will not spread to organs, but it can cause significant tissue loss.
Anal Sac Tumors
Anal sac tumors are rare, but dachshunds are at greater risk than other breeds of developing them, veterinarian Kim Cronin of the New England Veterinary Oncology Group wrote in a 2007 article. The cause of these tumors is unknown. Symptoms include difficulty defecating, excessive licking of the affected area, scooting on the ground, and noticeable lumps under the tail. The dog may drink more, eat less, and vomit. Surgical removal of the tumor before it can spread to the lymph nodes offers the best outcome.
Mammary Gland Cancer
In a 2013 study on breed predispositions to cancer, British veterinarian Dr. Jane Dobson points out that mammary gland cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting females dogs, regardless of breed. Spaying female dogs is the only way to reduce this risk. Inflammation or masses on or near your dachshund's mammary glands can be symptoms of cancer. Surgical removal of the tumors and surrounding tissues to keep the cancerous cells from spreading to the lymph nodes is the main treatment method. The best way to help your dachshund avoid mammary gland cancer is to spay her before she has her first estrus.
Liposarcoma is a form of cancer affecting fat cells. The first sign usually is a soft mass, called a liposoma, which can be moved under your dog's skin. Most such masses are benign, and do not need to be removed unless they interfere with your dog's mobility or comfort. Dachshunds are predisposed to liposarcoma, the malignant form of liposomas, according to the Joint Pathology Center's Veterinary Systemic Pathology online database. These need to be removed so the cancer does not spread to your dog's bones or lungs. Your veterinarian can determine whether the mass is benign or malignant.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- WebMD: Dogs and Skin Cancer
- Long Beach Animal Hospital: Dachshunds
- WebMD: Melanomas, Squamous Cell Carcinomas, and Mast Cell Tumors in Dogs
- PetMD: Skin Cancer in Dogs
- WebMD: Dogs and Cancer
- PetMD: Fatty Skin Tumors in Dogs
- Animal Cancer Center: Anal Sac Tumors in Dogs
- PetMD: Mammary Gland Tumors in Dogs
- The Joint Pathology Center VSPO Resources: Infiltrative Lipoma
Amy Jorgensen has ghostwritten more than 100 articles and books on raising and training animals. She is also an amateur dog trainer. She has also written more than 200 blog posts, articles, and ebooks on wedding and party planning on behalf of professionals in the field.