Did you know that approximately 6 million dogs and nearly 6 million cats are diagnosed with some form of cancer each year? Data shows that cancer is the leading cause of death in 47% of dogs and 32% of cats, especially those over the age of ten. As our pets live longer due to advances in medical care, their risk of getting cancer increases with age, just like in people. The most common pet cancer types are skin, mammary gland, head/neck, lymphoma, testicular, abdominal, and bone.
Do you know the warning signs of cancer in pets? The Blue Buffalo Foundation’s Pet Cancer Awareness program has put together a list of the most common symptoms of cancer in pets. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian if you notice any of these signs, or other changes in your pet’s overall health.
1. Swollen lymph nodes. Check behind your pet’s jaw or knees.
2. A growing or changing lump on your pet’s body.
3. Distended abdomen. A swollen abdomen could indicate a tumor or the presence of blood/fluid.
4. Chronic, unexplained weight loss.
5. Chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea. Could indicate cancer in the gastrointestinal system.
6. Unexplained bleeding not due to injury. Especially the mouth, nose, gums, and private parts (male and female).
7. Dry, chronic cough. Could indicate lung cancer.
8. Unexplained lameness, especially in large breed dogs, can be a sign of bone cancer.
9. Trouble urinating/blood in the urine. While these are common signs of a urinary tract infection, if the symptoms continue despite treatment, they could indicate bladder cancer.
10. Bad breath. Mouth odor and difficulty eating can be signs of oral tumors in pets.
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