One of the most endearing things about dogs is that they rarely “complain” about anything. They may whine a bit when it’s approaching dinner time, or when it is time to go outside to ‘do their business’. However, when faced with an illness or injury, dogs can often remain seemingly brave and upbeat.
Unfortunately, a dog’s ability to carry on in the face of pain or discomfort makes it difficult for an owner – who doesn’t know their dog is hurting – to provide proper care. This is especially problematic if a dog has a serious condition such as canine lymphoma.
As noted in studies published on the website of the US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health, unrelieved cancer pain greatly decreases quality of life of cancer patients – in both humans and animals. In the case of canine lymphoma, while there are promising new treatments available like TANOVEA®-CA1 (rabacfosadine for injection), it’s equally important that we continue to pay attention to any signs that they may be in pain or discomfort and work with a veterinarian to come up with the most effective treatment approach.
Having Your Best Friend’s Back
When your dog is in pain, you want to do all you can to help. However, because your dog often can’t tell or show you that they are in pain, it is important to recognize certain behavioral clues. Anything outside your dog’s normal behavior should get your attention, but here are seven common indicators that your best friend may be in discomfort:
Increased vocalization. Dogs that are in pain are often more vocal than usual. This can include increased barking, yelping, growling, snarling or howling. They may make these sounds seemingly at random, or they vocalize with movement when you pet or lift them. Either way, it may be an indicator of a health concern.
Shaking or trembling. There are many things that can cause a dog to shake or shiver, from being cold to feeling nervous. However, if a dog starts to exhibit muscle tremors on a more frequent basis, this is an indicator that something more serious may be going on.
Excessive grooming. It’s normal for dogs to lick themselves, but when a casual habit starts to become an obsessive behavior, it’s possible that your pet is in pain. You should be especially suspicious if it’s an area that your dog has never paid much attention to in the past.
Heavy panting. Dogs pant when they have been exercising or when they are in a warm environment. However, panting is also a reaction to stress, and if you aren’t aware of anything that might be causing that stress, it may be pain-related.
Aggression or shyness. Each dog has a unique personality. Some are more outgoing, and some are more reserved. However, if you notice your dog’s demeanor changing, this should be a red flag. This can include things like showing signs of aggression that you’ve never seen before or becoming timid. Don’t take it personally if your dog growls or nips at you. To them, it may be the only way to communicate that they are in pain and don’t want to be touched.
Loss of appetite. In dogs, as in humans, being in pain is not conducive to a healthy appetite. While a dog’s lack of interest in food could be a sign of other things (a minor stomachache, for example), if it persists, it may be that your dog is hurting and needs medical attention.
Other unexplained behavior changes. If you’ve had your dog for a while, you know what they like to do. They always run to the door when the doorbell rings, or they frequently jump up on the couch to cuddle with you, for example. Canine lymphoma and other illnesses may cause a dog to lose interest in those behaviors.
VetDC: Your Canine Lymphoma Experts
If your dog’s behavior leads you to believe that he or she might be in pain, the best thing to do is consult your veterinarian. As they say, “When in doubt, have a vet check it out.” That’s true whether the discomfort is related to canine lymphoma or any other condition. If you notice any of the signs above, it is important to consult your veterinarian or a veterinary cancer specialist as soon as possible.
We hope you find this information helpful. If you or your loved ones ever end up in the unfortunate circumstance of your dog being diagnosed with canine lymphoma, it may be helpful to speak to your veterinarian about new treatment options, such as TANOVEA-CA1 for the treatment of dogs with lymphoma. For further information, we invite you to follow our Facebook page or sign up for canine lymphoma updates at Tanovea.com. And don’t forget to keep an eye on any signs that your pet is in pain!
Important Safety Information: TANOVEA-CA1 is indicated for the treatment of lymphoma in dogs. The most frequently reported adverse reactions included decreased white blood cell count, diarrhea, vomiting, decreased or loss of appetite, weight loss, decreased activity level, and skin problems. Serious and sometimes fatal pulmonary fibrosis has occurred. Do not use in West Highland White Terriers and use with caution in other terrier breeds. Please see the package insert for full prescribing information, warnings and precautions.