By HAILEY LAWSON
Cancer isn’t just limited to humans – our precious pets can also be affected. In fact, it’s a leading cause of death among pets. That’s why November is dedicated to raising awareness about pet cancer. Being aware of the warning signs can help safeguard your pet’s health. Look out for these common indicators:
- Lumps and Bumps – If you notice any lumps or bumps on your pet’s body, especially if they appear to be growing, it’s essential to get them checked out. While not all growths are cancerous, ruling out the possibility is crucial. Conduct a home pet exam every month to identify lumps, bumps, sores, or any other changes.
- Change in Appetite – If your beloved pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, or small animal, suddenly loses interest in food, it’s important to find out what’s causing the change. Tumors can be a potential cause of pain or nausea, which can make mealtime an unpleasant experience for your pet.
- Weight Loss – Reducing your pet’s food intake can lead to weight loss, but it’s also possible for your pet to shed pounds without altering their eating routine.
- Bad Breath – While it’s common for pets to have bad breath from time to time, persistent and foul-smelling odors could indicate an underlying health issue. Keep in mind that a tumor, diabetes, kidney, liver, or gum disease can contribute to bad breath in pets.
- Enlarged Lymph Nodes – Some lumps may be enlarged lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are responsible for filtering waste and germs in your pet’s body and may become swollen if your pet is sick or has developed lymphoma, a type of cancer. Dogs and cats have lymph nodes in several locations, including on both sides of the jaw, in front of the shoulders, on the groin, and behind the knees.
- Disinterest in Usual Activities – When pets are ill or have cancer, they may exhibit symptoms such as lethargy and disinterest in activities they once enjoyed, such as playing and going for walks.
- Swollen Abdomen – If your pet’s abdomen begins to swell, and the animal isn’t pregnant, it could be due to various reasons such as bleeding, cancerous tumors, parasites, or bloat.
- Difficulty Walking – Lameness may also be a sign that your pet has cancer. If cancer spreads to your pet’s bones, mobility may become challenging or uncomfortable.
- Coughing or Trouble Breathing – Be aware that incessant coughing or breathing difficulties may be symptoms of cancer in your pet.
- Difficulty Defecating or Urinating – If your furry friend is having difficulty urinating or defecating, tumors could be the cause. It’s essential to keep an eye out for symptoms such as pain, straining, or not urinating for over 24 hours.
If your pet is experiencing any of these cancer signs and symptoms, contact your veterinarian. Early detection and treatment can make all the difference!