Cancer is the #1 Disease-Related Killer of Pets
Many people do not realize that cancer is not just a human condition; it affects our pets as well. In fact, cancer is the number one disease-related killer of dogs and cats. According to Dr. Lorie Huston, she tells her clients to be on the lookout for the following signs. While these symptoms are not purely indicative of cancer, if a pet begins to exhibit them you should visit your veterinarian immediately. Just like with people, the earlier cancer is caught the better.
#10 Lumps and Bumps
Not all lumps and bumps on or under your dog or cat’s skin will be cancerous, but there is no way to know for sure without getting your veterinarian involved – this is especially important if the lump is not resolving itself or is growing in size. A needle biopsy is commonly done and a veterinary pathologist can let you know if the cells are cancerous or not.
#9 Abnormal Odors
Offensive odors from your dog or cat’s mouth, ears, or any other part of your pet’s body, should be checked out. Oftentimes cancers of the mouth, nose, or anal regions can cause such foul odors.
#8 Abnormal Discharges
Blood, pus, vomiting, diarrhea, or any other abnormal substance being discharged from any part of your pet’s body should be checked out by your veterinarian. In addition to that, if your dog or cat’s abdomen becomes bloated or distended it could be a sign of an accumulation of abnormal discharge within the body.
#7 Non-Healing Wounds
If your pet has wounds or sores that are not healing, it could be a sign of infection, skin disease, or even cancer.
#6 Weight Loss
Cancer is among the list of diseases that can cause weight loss in a pet. If you notice sudden weight loss in your dog or cat (and it is not currently on a diet), along with other signs from this list, be sure to mention it to your veterinarian.
#5 Change in Appetite
Dogs and cats do not stop eating without a cause. While a lack of appetite does not automatically indicate cancer, it is still something to be discussed with your veterinarian. Oral tumors can also cause difficulty or pain when eating or swallowing.
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#4 Coughing or Difficulty Breathing
Coughing or abnormal breathing can be caused by heart disease, lung disease, and also cancer. Cancer can metastasize through the lungs and cause these symptoms.
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#3 Lethargy or Depression
If you notice your pet is not acting like itself – sleeping more, less playful, less willing to go on walks or to exercise – this can also be a sign of cancer. Once again, lethargy or depression is not a symptom confined to cancer, but an accumulation of any of these signs is reason enough to speak with your veterinarian.
#2 Changes in Bathroom Habits
Changes in your pet’s urinary or bowel habits – difficulty using the bathroom, frequent bathroom use, blood in urine or stool – these are all potential signs of cancer.
#1 Evidence of Pain
Limping or other evidence of pain while the pet is walking, running, or jumping is mostly associated with arthritic issues or joint or muscle diseases, but it can also be a sign of cancer (especially cancer of the bone).
We also have our own in-house veterinary oncologist, Dr. Joanne Intile, DVM, DACVIM, who has a regular Daily Vet blog. You can read more of her blog posts here at Dr. Joanne Intile’s Archives
COMMENTS FROM LOVINMYPUP.COM:
Cancer is a devastating diagnosis – in humans and in our pets. This diagnosis brings major decisions to the family unit. Do we treat? What does the treatment cost and effectiveness? Hospice care? Major decisions that effect the entire family. There are also links to several additional articles for your review. Our first Doberman was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma ( bone cancer) after a simple jump off the bed ended in a fractured leg. By thee time he was diagnosed the cancer had spread throughout his body. He passed within 6 weeks from the date of diagnosis. It was the worst 6 weeks of our lives. It is imperative that pet parents now what to look for regarding the onset of cancer in their pets. This article serves as a comprehensive outline of cancer in our fur babies. This is also the first of several articles in this topic. Keep coming back for more information on this devastating illness.
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