Lung Cancer in Dogs

Lung cancer is a serious disease that places both the health and well being of dogs at serious risk. The goal is to spot the clinical signs of the condition as soon as possible to give your pet the best chance of survival.

Like most forms of cancer, older dogs are more likely to develop the condition – usually at ten years old or more. It’s also been found that Boxer dogs have an increased risk of developing lung adenocarcinoma (cancerous tumors) than other breeds; although this disease can affect all dog breeds.

Let’s first look at the various symptoms and stages of canine lung cancer. Then, we’ll look more closely at the five main types of this type of cancer, as well as how to move forward once a diagnosis is received.


Cancer of the lungs is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse over time. Unlike some other types of cancer, there are some concerning symptoms that arise in the earlier stages of primary lung cancer for dogs that should immediately alert you that something is wrong. However, you might not notice signs for some time, compared with squamous cell cancer types (e.g. skin cancer) that are immediately apparent.

As the disease progresses, the symptoms intensify and the need for medical attention increases overnight. The clinical signs are indicative of the lung cancer stage a dog is in, and these stages are…

  • Early stage
  • Middle stage
  • Late stage
  • Crisis mode

Early Stage Symptoms

  • Coughing up blood
  • Accumulation of mucus in the throat
  • Unable to keep food down
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Total loss of appetite
  • Difficulty making motor movements
  • Difficulty inhaling
  • Heavy yet shallow breathing

Middle Stage Symptoms

  • No interest in anything around them
  • Exhaustion
  • Constantly trying to sleep – but difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Concerning weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing through the nose
  • Restless and fidgety
  • Excessive thirst and panting

Late Stage Symptoms

  • Preferring to be alone
  • Limp limbs and weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Zero appetite whatsoever
  • Frequent diarrhea

Crisis Stage Symptoms



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