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can it be cancer even if blood work is normal

Our 11 yr. old Italian Greyhound started not wanting to go downstairs or jump off furniture anymore about 2 months ago.  He started not to eat as much where before he would eat everything and anything.  We took him to the vet and they took his temperature.  He had a fever so they gave him some medicine for that.  They also prescribed steroids for the inflammation for his arthritic symptoms.  He had lost 2 lbs. and for his size that is alot.  Regular bloodwork and x-rays were done, and they came out normal (as far as his white blood cells count).  Over the past few weeks his appetite has been very poor.  He eats maybe 1 bite of table food since he is not eating his dog food we've been giving him whatever he will eat. He is not vomiting and does not have diarrhea.  He is lethargic and doesn't even want to go for walks anymore.
My question is can it be cancer, even if his blood work came out "normal" and nothing was found in his x-rays?
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931217 tn?1283484935
Dear figaro2002,

To answer your question, yes it could be cancer. That said, it could also be a number or other ailments, as the signs you describe, particularly weight loss and poor appetite are not specific. Many disorders including cancers can cause these signs. Too, understand that cancer is not a single disease but a family of diseases, all with different biologic behavior.

In terms of figuring out the exact problem, more workup must be done. Minimum database for weight loss includes basic bloodwork, urinalysis, chest and abdominal radiographs (x-rays) and possibly other tests as history and physical exam findings indicate.

No need to think the worst now. Do the followup as recommended by your doctor. If your doctor is not pursuing a diagnosis, by all means ghet a second opinion.


Arnold L. Goldman DVM, MS
MedHelp & PDOC
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