Top 10 signs of cancer in your pet
Did you know that Cancer is one of the most common disease-related killers in our pets??
As with humans, the earlier cancer is caught the better. Look out for the following signs; it could be indicative of cancer:
- Lumps and bumps
If you notice any lump or bump on your pet, we advise you to bring your pet to the veterinarian to be checked out. Not all lumps are cancerous but there is no way to know without examination. The veterinarian will do an FNA (fine needle aspirate) of the mass where they insert a needle into the mass to extract some of the cells. These cells are then examined under the microscope to assist in making a diagnosis.
- Abnormal odours
Offensive odours 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 odours.
- Abnormal discharges
Please take special note if your pet is vomiting or has diarrhoea. Any other abnormal substance being discharged from any part of your pet’s body should be checked out by your veterinarian. An abnormal discharge could also be accumulating inside your pet’s body which could cause the abdomen to be bloated or distended. If you notice any of the above signs, it is safer to let the veterinarian examine your pet.
- Non-healing wounds
If your pet has wounds and sores that are not healing, it could be a sign of infection, skin disease or even cancer.
- 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.
- 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 tumours can also cause difficulty or pain when eating or swallowing.
- Coughing / difficulty breathing
There are a few types of cancer that can spread to the lungs and cause coughing or abnormal breathing. It can also be caused by heart and lung diseases
- Lethargy / Depression
Lethargy and depression are not symptoms that are confined to cancer only but it does give us reason for concern. It is often some of the first symptoms noted in cancer patients.
- 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.
- Evidence of pain
Cancer can cause your pet discomfort in many ways but for instance if your pet has bone cancer, he/she will most probably be painful when walking.
While the above symptoms are not purely indicative of cancer, if your pet shows any signs of them we advise you to bring them for a vet check. Trust your instincts.