Our pets develop many of the same serious diseases as we do, including cancer. In fact, it is the leading cause of death for both dogs and cats. Cancer is especially prevalent in companion animals over 10 years old. In a recent report, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) reported that one-third of senior cats and one-half of senior dogs succumb to cancer every year. Because our pets can’t tell us that something is wrong and are masters at disguising pain, a cancer diagnosis often throws pet parents completely off-guard. 
 
It is important for every pet owner to recognize the symptoms of cancer, especially those with older dogs and cats. We encourage you to schedule an appointment at Battletown Animal Clinic as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms: 
  • Unusual fatigue that can’t be explained by age or other illness 
  • Walking with a limp or stiff gait 
  • Offensive or unusual body odor 
  • Open sores that don’t seem to heal on their own 
  • Swelling on any area of the body 
  • Eliminating appears painful or difficult 
  • Marked decrease in appetite 
  • Bleeding from the eyes, ears, nose, or anus 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Vomiting or gagging from inability to chew food 
Keep in mind that having one or even several of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that your pet has cancer. However, having the symptoms checked as soon as possible means that we can get started on a treatment protocol whether it is cancer or not. As the statistics from AMVA show, dogs develop cancer more often than cats do. However, the progression of the disease tends to be more aggressive in cats. Since they are even more adept than dogs at hiding their pain, keeping an eye out for an unusual symptom is essential.

Top Five Cancer Types in Dogs and Cats
Knowing which types of cancer is most common for your pet’s species makes it easier to look for signs of trouble. The most prevalent types of cancer for dogs are: 

  • Mast cell tumor: These are normally found in a dog’s connective tissues. 
  • Melanoma: Melanoma is a serious cancer of the skin. 
  • Lymphoma: Tumors of the lymphoid tissues can be found in the spleen, liver, bone marrow, lymph nodes, and gastrointestinal tract. 
  • Bone Cancer: This is more prevalent in larger dog breeds, although any dog can develop it. 
  • Hemangiosarcoma: Tumors can develop anywhere in the body and are especially common in the spleen or heart. 
 The most common cat cancers include:  
  • Lymphoma 
  • Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV): This was the leading cause of lymphoma until the vaccine for it became routine. FeLV causes dozens of potential health issues in addition to tumors. 
  • Mammary Gland: Spaying female cats before their first heat cycle dramatically decreases the risk of this type of cancer. 
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This type of skin cancer typically appears on the eyes, ears, or hairless area around the nose. 
  • Fibrosarcoma: These aggressive tumors develop in a cat’s fibrous connective tissues. 
 In addition to your watchful eye, coming in for regular preventive care at our clinic is the best way to spot signs of cancer. 

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