One in every 250 dogs and cats develop cancer during their lifetime, which makes it a pretty significant disease of concern for pet owners. There are many different types of tumors and cancer all with different symptoms, but it is important that pet owners are aware of some of the most common signs of pet cancer so that pets can get diagnosed and treated as early on in the disease’s progression as possible.
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Here are eight of the most common signs of animal cancer.
Unusual Lumps or Masses
Quickly growing lumps and masses growing can be a sign of cancer in pets. You might notice that a mass seems to just continually grow under your pet’s skin. This isn’t something that should be ignored or put off. Take your pet in to see a vet who can’t remove and biopsy the mass. After the biopsy, you will know more about whether the mass is benign or malignant, which will allow you and your veterinarian to determine the most appropriate course of treatment.
Abdominal swelling or bloating can be a sign of fluid build-up. This fluid build-up could be caused by a tumor in the GI tract. It could also be a sign of other very serious illnesses that will need to be immediately addressed as well.
Sores That Won’t Heal
Skin wounds generally only take a few days to heal completely even without antibiotics. If your pet has a cut or wound that doesn’t seem to be healing and you are applying an antibiotic ointment, they might be dealing with a bigger problem like cancer. Be on the lookout for any wounds that don’t heal or take an abnormally long amount of time to heal.
Bleeding or Discharge from Any Body Opening
Bleeding or discharge coming from the eyes, nose, mouth, or anus isn’t always a sign of cancer, but it definitely can be. While other things could be the root issue, there is no harm in taking your pet to get checked out by a vet if you see any of these issues.
Lack of Appetite
Most dogs love to eat. If you see that your dog seems uninterested in food, you should definitely be suspicious that there is a problem. A mass along the intestines could be causing your pet pain and discomfort, which could prevent them from eating like they normally would. Oral cancer can also cause pain in the mouth that discourages your dog from eating. If your pet has stopped eating, see a vet to make sure that cancer isn’t the cause.
Unusual Foul Odors
Dogs don’t always smell the best, but if you start to notice really offensive odors, you might need to be concerned. Bad breath and stinky body odor after extended periods outdoors are one thing, but you are likely to notice any unusually gross smells that need to be addressed. Pay special attention to smells near the mouth and behind.
Quick, unexpected weight loss might sound like a blessing to the owner of an overweight or obese pet, but this symptom could be a sign that your pet is battling lymphoma or lymphosarcoma. If your pet starts to look underweight or is losing weight rather quickly, it is worth a trip to see your vet.
Lethargy is a common symptom for many different ailments. When you don’t feel well, you probably don’t want to do much either. However, long periods of lethargy could be a signal that your pet is battling something very serious like cancer. Keep an eye on how much time your pet seems to spend lying around and sleeping versus being active and let your vet know if you are concerned.
If you start to see any of these symptoms, you should take your pet in for an examination with your vet to get checked out. The earlier that cancer is diagnosed, the less likely it is to have started spreading throughout the body, so try to get your pet in at the first sign of a possible cancer diagnosis.