A diagnosis of cancer in a beloved dog or cat can come as a shock, especially when you didn’t notice any unusual symptoms. One reason for this is that our pets are masters at disguising their pain. When they lived in the wild, they needed to do this so as not to appear weak to predators. The behavior has remained with them, even though many live comfortable lives as house pets.
Because November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo would like to make you aware of 10 common signs of cancer in dogs and cats that might surprise you. Some are subtle enough that you could mistake it for something much less serious. These symptoms include:
Any type abnormal discharge: Vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding, and pus may be unpleasant, but they’re also a way for your pet to let you know that something is wrong. You may also notice a bloated or distended stomach if your pet is experiencing internal discharge.
Change in appetite: Tumors can make it difficult for your pet to chew or swallow his food, which typically appears as a loss of interest in eating.
Breath and body odor: Cancer cells in the nose, mouth, or anal area can produce offensive and unusual odors.
Breathing difficulty and/or coughing: This can be a sign of lung cancer. Your pet will cough without relief and may even start gasping for air.
Changes in urination and defecation: You may notice that your dog or cat eliminates less often or more often than usual. Fecal products may appear loose or contain tinges of blood.
Fatigue and lethargy: Your pet may appear listless, depressed, and show little interest in play or exercise. She may also sleep much more than usual.
Appearance of new bumps or lumps: If you notice a new hard mass on your pet’s body, please bring him into our animal hospital so we can check for internal tumors.
Wounds that heal slowly or not at all: If your pet has a wound or cut that doesn’t appear to heal in the expected time, it could be due to cancer.
Limping: Your dog or cat may have a bone tumor if you notice him limping or favoring some limbs over others.
Sudden weight loss: Even the loss of a pound can make a big difference for a pet who’s not overweight. Please let us know if you notice sudden or significant weight loss.
Don’t Ignore These Symptoms
The above symptoms may or may not indicate cancer, but it’s best not to take chances. Whether you’re a long-time client or new to the area and searching for a veterinarian near me, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo so we can evaluate these symptoms. If we diagnose cancer, we will discuss all treatment options and let you know realistic survival expectations.
Depending on the specific cancer and how early we catch it, your pet could live for many more years. It’s also a good idea to schedule regular preventive care to help stay ahead of this serious health issue. Cancer is a significant problem for dogs and cats over age 10.
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