Top 8 Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

It shouldn’t be a surprise that our pets may develop the same diseases we do. Like us, they are mammals and warm-blooded creatures. We share many similarities in body organs and function. Health problems like obesity, cataracts, urinary tract infections, and diabetes are no stranger to them. But the scariest illness our pets can get is cancer.

Cancer is the top disease-related cause of death in dogs and cats. And as a pet owner, it is your responsibility to be on the lookout for any signs and symptoms that will point to that direction. Early detection of cancer is your best bet to saving your pet’s life. Here are the top 8 signs of cancer in dogs and cats you should watch out for.

1. Suspicious lumps

While you were stroking your pet, you suddenly noticed a bump under his skin. You’re certain it wasn’t there before, but you shouldn’t worry right away or rush your pet to the vet. Lumps are sometimes normal in cats and dogs and resolve on their own. They could form under their skin or inside their body organs.

When should I be worried? If the lump does not disappear and seems to grow in size since within weeks since you discovered it, you should consider taking your dog or cat to the vet. There is really no way of telling whether or not a bump is cancerous without getting a veterinarian involved. Just as people with suspicious lumps undergo biopsy to identify if a tumor is benign or malignant, pets go through the same diagnostic approach.

A vet typically orders a needle biopsy to find out if the suspicious lump in your pet is indeed cancerous. This diagnostic tool is not as invasive as surgery and merely involves the extraction of cells from within the tumor using a specialized syringe. The veterinarian then identifies if the extracted cells are cancerous.

There are times when lumps go unnoticed because they are in too deep. By the time you do notice them, the lumps are already large. This can be dangerous as your pet will not get diagnosed early, increasing the risk for cancer. Regular trips to the vet will help prevent these.
Is there any treatment? Surgery is often recommended for dogs and cats with suspicious lumps. Even benign or non-cancerous tumors have to be surgically removed to prevent them from becoming malignant or cancerous.