Cedar Pet Clinic Blog

Do You Know the Top 10 Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats?

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:Cancer in Dogs and cats

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.

Image credit: Lindsay_Helms | iStock / Getty Images Plus


October 15 is the Start of National Veterinary Technician's Week

During National Veterinary Technician’s Week, Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo would like to highlight the contributions of the eight talented and hardworking veterinary technicians on our staff. Allow us to introduce them:

National Veterinary Technician's Week

  • Michelle, team member since 2008
  • Sue, team member since 1986
  • Kelly, team member since 2012
  • Maggie, team member since 2013
  • Kristen, team member since 2011
  • Sarah, team member since 2012
  • Jayde, team member since 2007
  • Kathleen, team member since 2012

In addition to helping care for your pets during the day, each of our veterinary technicians has at least one pet of her own. They understand exactly how much your pets mean to you.

The National Association of Veterinary Technicians started an awareness campaign in 1993 and decided to host it every year during the third week of October. The organization hoped that National Veterinary Technician’s Week would encourage greater awareness about the essential role of the vet tech and give veterinarians, other support staff, and clients the chance to say "thank you" for a job well done. Our veterinarians rely on the assistance and expertise of veterinary technicians, who complete many duties behind the scenes that clients don’t see.

Being a Vet Tech Means Being Ready for Anything
When it comes to working with animals, our veterinary technicians know to expect the unexpected. Things can and do change quickly. Clients bringing their pets in for emergency surgery, a nervous animal trying to make an escape, or an appointment going much longer than expected are just some of the things that can change the course of a day. While it’s impossible to describe a typical day, here are some of the veterinary tasks our technicians do consistently:

  • Interview clients about their pet’s health history and record information in the medical chart
  • Provide prompt first aid to injured animals
  • Collect specimens required for laboratory testing such as tissues, blood, and urine
  • Help to keep anxious animals calm by talking to them in a soothing manner providing calming touch
  • Help to restrain animals during a procedure if necessary
  • Take X-rays and develop them for the doctor
  • Administer medications and vaccines
  • Assist in preparing pets for surgery

Personal and Professional Qualities of an Excellent Veterinary Technician
This job requires someone with strong technical skills who also has a big heart. We look for team members who exhibit a high degree of compassion and professional communication skills who can convey important information to clients. Our vet techs also need strong detail orientation and good problem-solving skills. Certification for Veterinary Technicians in Minnesota requires graduation from an accredited veterinary technology program. 

Aside from preventive care exams, many pets who come to our clinic are sick or injured and often scared. That means our clients may feel stressed and upset as well. A veterinary technician is often the first person you encounter after checking in with our client care team. Our technicians are skilled at putting both you and your pet at ease. 

You Can Say Thank You Any Time of Year
National Veterinary Technician’s Week officially runs from Sunday, October 15 to Saturday, October 21 this year but you can express your appreciation whenever you happen to visit. Our entire staff also appreciates that you have chosen Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo to care for the health needs of your beloved pets.

Have a Safe and Happy Autumn with Your Pet

Fall is in the air in Minnesota. The temperatures may still be warm, but you can tell that the seasons are shifting. Kids are back at school, stores are already selling Halloween candy, and the green leaves are slowly turning magnificent shades of orange and red. Like all seasons, fall presents unique safety hazards for dogs and cats. We encourage you to review the items below and make any needed adjustments so you and your pet can enjoy the season.

Keep These Autumn Hazards in Mind
These are some of the most common pet hazards you might encounter this fall:

Safe and Happy Autumn

Mushrooms and plants: While most mushrooms are harmless, a small percentage can cause effects such as increased salivation, allergies, and digestive distress. Since you can’t always tell safe from unsafe mushrooms, it’s best to keep your pet away from them altogether. The autumn crocus and clematis plants, which only grow in the fall, can be dangerous for your pet to chew or swallow as well.

Piles of leaves: Nothing says autumn for kids like jumping in a pile of leaves. However, make sure you rake and dispose of leaves as quickly as possible after the fun. Leaves attract moisture, which in turn causes bacteria and mold. Your dog or cat could exhibit a decreased appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting if she chews on leaves filled with these substances.

Rodent traps: Mice and other critters will try to seek shelter inside as the temperature gets cooler outside. Homeowners typically try to prevent this by placing rodent traps and poisons on the exterior of their home. If you choose to do so, make sure your pet doesn’t go near them. He could develop tremors, a depressed mood, poor appetite, and abnormal movements if he consumes rodent poison.

Snakes: Snakes are already preparing for hibernation and have little patience with other animals in what they perceive as their space. If you normally take your dog for a walk in a natural setting, be sure she stays on the trail and doesn’t chase after snakes. Your dog may also alert you to their presence in your yard by barking in an especially aggressive manner. If you notice a snake, move your dog away immediately to avoid it biting her.

Autumn Holidays
Fall also brings two big holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving. Although both are several weeks away, make sure that you decorate with your pet’s safety in mind. Keep streamers, cardboard cutouts, and other seasonal items well out of his reach. It’s also important not to share Halloween candy or Thanksgiving treats with your pet and to supervise him closely to ensure that others don’t either.

Contact Us in an Emergency
Sometimes accidents happen despite your best intentions. If your pet’s curiosity gets her into trouble this fall, contact us right away at 651-770-3250. You can also find after-hours emergency information by clicking on the link above. Happy fall to you and your pet.

Image credit: Anna-av | iStock / Getty Images Plus

After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128


Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)