Pet Cancer Awareness Month takes place in May every year. Although pets are susceptible to almost every type of cancer that affects humans, five kinds strike cats and dogs the most. Pet owners need to be aware of these cancers and the specific symptoms of each. Even if a pet does have cancer, early detection helps to prolong his or her life and make it as comfortable as possible.
Bone cancer, technically called osteaosarcoma, is the most commonly diagnosed tumor in cats and dogs. They may have a hard lump where the leg bends, although this doesn't happen in all cases. Dogs and cats with bone cancer are reluctant to put weight on one leg because the tumor makes it painful to walk.
Like humans, breast cancer can occur in both females and males but is much more common in females. The first indication of canine or feline breast cancer is when people feel tiny lumps on their pet during a playful tummy rub. These lumps are usually the size of a pinhead and can eventually grow to the size of a raisin.
The symptoms of lymphoma appear differently in dogs and cats. Dogs typically consume more water, urinate more, and have swollen lymph nodes. Lymphoma symptoms in cats include weight loss, poor appetite, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Since dramatic weight loss or gain could indicate many other health issues, it's important to rule out cancer as soon as possible.
Melanoma is the most common cancer of the mouth in dogs while cats suffer from squamous cell carcinoma the most often. Both animals may exhibit excess drooling, bad breath, blood in the saliva, and difficulty with chewing and swallowing. A new lump in the mouth is often the first sign of oral cancer.
Squamous cell carcinoma is also the most common skin cancer in cats. In dogs, it's a mast cell tumor. Signs of skin cancer in pets include sores that don't heal, limping, unexplained bleeding, and broken toenails.
This list is not comprehensive, and only a veterinarian can diagnose if a pet has cancer. If you are concerned about the health of your pet or notice symptoms as noted above, please call our clinic right away-early detection can make a world of difference in a pet's prognosis. We have three convenient locations-Grantsburg, Frederic and Wild River to help with your veterinary needs.
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