Top 10 Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Top 10 Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

by Nicolas, selected from petMD

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.  Dr. Lorie Huston 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.

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.

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).