Warning signs of cancer in cats and dogs. November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month, Do you know the signs of cancer in dogs and cats?
Recognize the signs to CATCH IT EARLY…
- Persistent or abnormal swelling.
- Sores that do not heal.
- Loss of weight and/or loss of appetite.
- Bleeding or abnormal discharge from any body opening.
- Difficulty eating or swallowing.
- Lethargy or loss of stamina.
- Persistent lameness or stiffness.
- Difficulty urinating, defecating, or breathing.
There are some environmental influences that may contribute to the development of pet cancer. Some proactive measures that owners can take to help reduce the risk of pet cancer include:
- Keep your pet at a healthy weight. Provide nutrient-dense food that includes all the essential minerals and vitamins that a cat or dog’s body needs to stay healthy, strong and energetic.
- Spay or neuter at an appropriate age.
- Minimize exposure to carcinogens and other toxins. This includes secondhand smoke, pesticides and herbicides, which have been associated with increased risk of some cancers. Carcinogens in cigarette smoke can be deposited on a dog or cat’s fur. When they groom or lick themselves or another animal, they unintentionally ingest these carcinogens, which can cause oral tumor development.
- Maintain routine examinations. Pets should receive annual checkups by a veterinarian. Geriatric pets, however, should receive veterinary exams every six months, since the risk of developing cancer increases with age (some resources suggest about half of dogs over the age of 10 develop some form of cancer). Exams that include blood and urine tests can lead to early detection of cancer—even if the dog or cat may not show physical or behavioral symptoms of illness. If cancer is caught early, treatment is less aggressive and more likely to result in remission or a cure.