All About Sarcoma

Cancer is the leading non-accidental cause of death in dogs, with 1 in 3 dogs being diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime and 50% dying from the disease.

Sarcoma is a rare cancer of the connective tissue.  Sarcoma is five times more common in dogs than humans.

Sarcoma represents approximately 15% of pediatric cancers.

You should take your dog for a wellness check at least once a year (twice a year for older dogs). It is also best to do a monthly check for early warning signs of cancer in your pets. Early detection is critical! Pay attention to any changes to your dog’s normal behavior and watch for signs (listed below).


Signs of Canine Cancer

  • Decreased appetite
  • Reduced activity
  • Abnormal defecation
  • Difficulty eating
  • Excessive salivation
  • Spitting up food
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chronic sneezing
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Unilateral Nasal Discharge (one sided)
  • Noisy or trouble breathing
  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • Weakness
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Paralysis
  • Pain
  • Fainting
  • Breathlessness
  • Increased Panting
  • Anxiety
  • Abnormal swellings or lumps
  • Sores or ulcers
  • Weight loss
  • Pale gums and mucous membranes
  • Bad breath
  • Abdominal signs
  • Skin signs

Facts about Sarcoma

  1. Sarcoma is a rare cancer of the connective tissue. Connective tissue includes soft tissue (muscle, fat, nerves, blood vessels and cartilage) and bone. Connective tissue connects, supports or surrounds other structures and is present throughout the body. Thus, sarcoma can occur in any location.
  2. There are about 14,000 new cases of sarcoma each year in the U.S.
  3. More than 60 subtypes have been identified – all of which require different types of treatment.
  4. Sarcoma strikes men and women, and younger people as well as older ones. Although it represents only about 1 percent of adult caners, it represents about 15 percent of pediatric cancers.
  5. Sarcoma is often misdiagnosed and is very difficult to treat.
  6. In the early stages of the disease, there may be no symptoms. Sarcoma may manifest as a painless lump or swelling anywhere in the body.
  7. Sarcoma can spread rapidly to the lungs and other parts of the body, making this a very dangerous form of cancer.
  8. It is very important for sarcoma patients to be seen by providers with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
  9. The cause for many sarcomas is unknown but exposure to some chemicals and high-dose radiation therapy are risk factors. For a small percentage of sarcomas, there are some genetic risk factors.
  10. Depending on the type of sarcoma, surgery, radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy may be recommended treatments.



Breeds that are more Prone to Cancer

  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Greyhounds
  • Bernese Mountain Dogs
  • Portuguese Water Dogs
  • Standard Poodles
  • Schnauzers
  • West Highland White Terriers
  • Rottweilers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Boxers
  • Great Danes
  • German Shepherds
  • English Setters
  • Pointers
  • Scottish Terriers
  • Cocker Spaniels


The Hank Kabel Sarcoma Foundation is a 501(c)3. If you would like to donate to our foundation it would be a tax-deductible donation. We donate to the to The Ohio State University and Colorado State University, the two universities on the leading edge of cancer research. Our contact info is Amy Kabel, 740-974-2811, You can also follow us on Facebook at The Hank Kabel Sarcoma Foundation and on Twitter and Instagram at @hankkabel.




Veterinary Diagnostics Institute, 2012

Stephen Withrow, Colorado State University, 2015

Sarcoma Alliance

Helping Your Dog Fight Cancer by Laurie Kaplan, 2005