Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Pet Cancer Awareness Month

10 Pet Cancer Signs To Look For

Cancer is the #1 Cause of Disease Related Death for Dogs in the US

FCVC has seen many animals affected by cancer. It is heart-breaking to see pets with untreated cancer. During Pet Cancer Awareness Month we are passing on the steps you can take to minimize the risk of cancer. Keep your dog at a health weight. Spay or Neuter. Avoid toxins. Know the symptoms. Visit your vet twice a year for checkups.

Cancer accounts for almost 50% of deaths in dogs over 10 years old.

Knowing the Signs of Pet Cancer

Swollen Lymph Nodes

These “glands” are located throughout the body but are most easily detected behind the jaw or behind the knee. When these lymph nodes are enlarged they can suggest a common form of cancer called lymphoma. A biopsy or cytology of these enlarged lymph nodes can aid in the diagnosis.

An Enlarging or Changing Lump

Any lump on a pet that is rapidly growing or changing in texture or shape should have a biopsy. Lumps belong in biopsy jars, not on pets.

Abdominal Distension

When the “stomach” or belly becomes rapidly enlarged, this may suggest a mass or tumor in the abdomen or it may indicate some bleeding that is occurring in this area. A radiograph or an ultrasound of the abdomen can be very useful.

Chronic Weight Loss

When a pet is losing weight and you have not put your pet on a diet, you should have your pet checked. This sign is not diagnostic for cancer, but can indicate that something is wrong. Many cancer patients have weight loss.

Chronic Vomiting or Diarrhea

Unexplained vomiting or diarrhea should prompt further investigation. Often tumors of the gastrointestinal tract can cause chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea. Radiographs, ultrasound examinations and endoscopy are useful diagnostic tools when this occurs.

Video – Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Unexplained Bleeding

Bleeding from the mouth, nose, penis, vagina or gums that is not due to trauma should be examined. Although bleeding disorders do occur in pets, they usually are discovered while pets are young. If unexplained bleeding starts when a pet is old, a thorough search should be undertaken.

Cough

A dry, non-productive cough in an older pet should prompt chest radiographs to be taken. This type of cough is the most common sign of lung cancer. Please remember there are many causes of cough in dogs and cats.

Lameness

Unexplained lameness especially in large or giant breed dogs is a very common sign of bone cancer. Radiographs of the affected area are useful for detecting cancer of the bone.

Straining to Urinate

Straining to urinate and blood in the urine usually indicate a common urinary tract infection; if the straining and bleeding are not rapidly controlled with antibiotics or are recurrent, cancer of the bladder may be the underlying cause. Cystoscopy or other techniques that allow a veterinarian to take a biopsy of the bladder are useful and sometimes necessary to establish a definitive diagnosis in these cases.

Oral Odor

Oral tumors do occur in pets and can cause a pet to change its food preference (i.e. from hard to soft foods) or cause a pet to change the manner in which it chews its food. Many times a foul odor can be detected in pets with oral tumors. A thorough oral examination with radiographs or CT scan, necessitating sedation, is often necessary to determine the cause of the problem.

4 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Pet Cancer

  1. Keep your pet at a healthy weight
  2. Spay or neuter your pets
  3. Limit exposure to carcinogens and other toxins
  4. Visit your vet twice a year for checkups

These Numbers Tell The Story

Nationwide Pet Insurance Pet Cancer Awareness Infographic

Nationwide Pet Insurance Pet Cancer Awareness Infographic

FCVC hopes you find this information on pet cancer helpful for your own pets. Cancer is not always preventable, but as pet owners we can minimize the possibility by being watchful. Early detection can make your pet’s life more comfortable. If you have concerns about your pet, please bring them in so we can discuss them. Call 970-587-5140 for an appointment.

Related articles you may also find interesting – #CurePetCancer Means $5 to Research for Each Post and 5 Questions To Ask the Vet To Deter Pet Obesity

Attribution – Blue Buffalo Foundation and Nationwide Pet Insurance
Photo – dog-1352272_pixabay