November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Dog getting a check up at the vet

Signs That Your Pet May Have Cancer

As unfair as it may seem, cancer isn't just a human disease. Your furry friends may also be affected by the potentially deadly illness. Learning about common signs of cancer during Pet Cancer Awareness Month in November can help you protect your pet's health.

Common Signs of Cancer in Pets

If your pet displays any of these signs, it's time to pay a visit to your veterinarian:

  • Lumps and Bumps - Lumps and bumps, particularly ones that seem to be getting bigger, are a cause for concern. Although growths aren't always cancerous, it's important to rule out the disease. Conduct a home exam to look for lumps, bumps, sores, and other signs of health problems at least a few times every month.
  • A Change in Appetite - If your normally ravenous dog, cat, or small animal has suddenly lost interest in eating, you'll need to determine the cause of the sudden change. Your pet may not enjoy mealtime if tumors make eating painful or trigger nausea.
  • Weight Loss - Eating less will certainly cause your pet to lose weight, but weight loss can also occur even if your pet's eating habits haven't changed.
  • Bad Breath - All pets have bad breath occasionally. If the odor is particularly strong and never improves, a tumor may be the cause. Diabetes, or kidney, liver, or gum disease can also cause bad breath.
  • Enlarged Lymph Nodes - Some lumps may actually be enlarged lymph nodes. Lymph nodes remove waste and germs from your pet's body and may become swollen if your pet is sick or has a form of cancer called lymphoma. Lymphoma is more common in cats than dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Lymph nodes in dogs and cats are located on either side of the jaw, in front of the shoulders, on the groin, and behind the knees.
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea - All pets experience diarrhea and vomiting occasionally, particularly if they eat something they shouldn't. Frequent vomiting or diarrhea are unmistakable signs of illness and can lead to dehydration if not treated promptly.
  • Disinterest in Usual Activities - Pets who are sick or have cancer may become lethargic and lose interest in playing, going for walks, and other activities.
  • Swollen Abdomen - Call your veterinarian as soon as possible if your pet's abdomen begins to swell, and the animal isn't pregnant. Abdominal swelling can be caused by bleeding, cancerous tumors, parasites, or bloat.
  • Difficulty Walking - Lameness may also be a sign that your pet has cancer. If cancer invades your pet's bones, walking or jumping may become painful or difficult.
  • Coughing or Trouble Breathing - Persistent coughing or difficulty breathing may occur if your pet has cancer. If you notice that your pet is struggling to breathe, call or visit your veterinarian immediately.
  • Sores That Don't Heal - Sores or ulcers that never seem to get better may also be cancerous.
  • Difficulty Defecating or Urinating - Tumors may make it difficult or impossible to urinate or defecate. If your pet hasn't urinated in 24 hours, seems to be in pain, or strains to urinate or defecate, let your veterinarian know right away. In addition to cancer, trouble urinating can be caused by a urinary tract blockage that could kill your pet if treatment isn't begun immediately.
  • Bleeding - Bleeding from the nose, mouth, ears, penis, vagina, rectum, or other parts of the body should be evaluated. In some cases, bleeding may be related to an injury that's difficult to see. Bleeding, even if you only notice it once or twice, warrants a trip to the veterinarian.

Does your pet have any of these cancer signs and symptoms? Contact our office to schedule an appointment for your pet.

Sources:

AVMA: Cancer in Pets

https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/cancer-pets

Animal Cancer Foundation: 10 Warning Signs of Cancer

Merck Manual: Causes of Cancer, 5/20

Call to schedule your pet's wellness or urgent care exam now: (952) 758-6722

Testimonials

  • We have been clients of New Prague Animal Care for over 13 years. They have provided exceptional and compassionate care for our “pack” (6 dogs and 3 cats). As a professional dog trainer, breeder of Best in Show and Master Hunter Retrievers as well an owner of multiple kennel/ doggy daycare facilities (30+ years), I have worked with numerous veterinary clinics both in the Twin Cities and nationwide. Dr. Steve and his crew rate among the finest I have worked with. The clinic has all of the fea

    ...
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  • My dad has taken all of his dogs there for years, and I take mine there as well. Dr. Lavalle's bedside manner is amazing, and his staff are so genuine and caring. I always have, and will continue referring people to take their pets here. They are hands down the best veterinary care in the area!

    - Amber C
  • Have taken our dogs to Dr. Lavallee for over 10 years and he is great with each of them. He and his staff are very caring and helpful.

    - Barb S
  • Middle of a snow storm a few days ago. My little puppy was injured. I live in Faribult. Vet offices were closed in town. They actually called me while in route to see if I was ok. They were so good with the puppy. The cost was very reasonable. Called today to see how everything was going. I really was very impressed with this office. I recommend this place.

    ...
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  • Awesome experience! My pets love the care they get from Dr. Lavallee and his staff! They are not just a number; they care for them like my babies are family! Would highly recommend them!

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  • Found a 6-wk old kitten on the side of the highway and brought it in at 7pm on emergency basis. I was blown away by the compassion of Dr. Johnson's team. What a great experience. True animal people!

    - Anna H
  • Moved to New Prague and found this place for our dog.. Such great service, friendly staff, amazing Dr. and very accommodating to all of our needs!! Highly recommended by my pet family!!!

    - Kerri N
  • We love New Prague Animal Care, they are always so kind and caring, from the phone calls to when you walk in. We take our Siberian Husky Bandit in and he gets so much attention, well loved. We've had to take him in twice for emergencies, the in house testing was great, Dr. Johnson was able to resolve the issue almost immediately. I wouldn't take him anywhere else.

    ...
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