Did you know that cancer is the number one disease-related cause of death for dogs and cats in the US and that 1 in 4 dogs will develop cancer during their life time? Part of being an educated and proactive pet parent is recognizing the signs of illness in our furry family members. As part of Pet Cancer Awareness month in May, we wanted to share with you some tips to about the signs of cancer in pets so that you can help keep your furry family healthy.
As in people, cancer can be a very vague and slow moving process and subtle signs can be east to miss. Dogs and cats are also masters of hiding signs of illness. Below is a list of some of the things you can watch for at home that may raise a red flag that there is a problem.
Common Signs of Cancer in Pets
• Lumps that persist or continue to grow
• Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating
• Persistent or recurrent cough
• Bleeding or discharge from any body opening (e.g., nostrils, anus)
• Sores that do not heal
• Progressive weight loss or weight gain
• Loss of appetite
• Offensive mouth odor
• Difficulty eating or swallowing
• Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
• Persistent lameness or stiffness
If you note any of these signs in your pet, make an appointment with your family veterinarian right away. While hearing that your beloved pet has cancer is never an easy thing, getting things checked out quickly means that we will have a better chance of managing their disease. As in human medicine, there are a variety of treatment options available to treat pets with cancer and your family veterinarian can help guide you as to what is best for you and your furry family member.