November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Each year, millions of dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death in pets beyond middle age. Knowing what to look for can help with early detection, and as with people, make a difference. Following are the top 10 warning signs of cancer in companion animals. If you notice any of these signs in your pet, please consult a veterinarian.
- Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
Pet your pet! This is the best way to find lumps, bumps, or swellings that could be anywhere on the body.
- Sores that do not heal
Non-healing sores can be a sign of infection or cancer. Your veterinarian can determine the reason why the sore is not healing.
- Weight loss
If your pet is not on a diet, but is losing weight, illness could be to blame.
- Loss of appetite
It is not normal for pets to lose their appetite. This may be a sign of illness.
- Bleeding or discharge
Any abnormal fluid discharged from any part of your pet’s body should be checked out by our veterinarian. Note that vomiting and diarrhea are examples of abnormal discharge.
- Offensive odor
Offensive odors from your pets’ mouth, ears, or any other part of your pet’s body, should be checked out. Foul odors are common signs especially for tumors in the mouth, nose, or anus.
- Difficulty eating or swallowing
This is a common sign of cancers of the mouth and neck.
- Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
This can be one of the first signs that your pet is not feeling well.
- Persistent lameness
Limping or other evidence of pain is generally associated with arthritis or muscular injury, but it can also be a sign of cancer, especially of the bone and should be evaluated by your veterinarian.
- Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating
These problems are likely caused by an underlying health problem. Schedule a veterinary appointment if your pet displays any of these symptoms. Early detection and treatment are important for pets, just as for people.