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In honor of Pet Cancer Awareness Month, we would like to share some important facts about pet cancer with our readers. Pets can develop cancer just like people can, and it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms so that you can get your pet treatment if necessary. This month, please take a moment to learn about pet cancer, and if you think your pet may have it, please seek veterinary care right away. Thank you for helping us spread awareness about this important topic!

Common cancers in pets

Some of the most common types of cancer in pets include:

  • Osteosarcoma — Osteosarcoma is a highly aggressive bone cancer that most commonly invades the limb bones in large- and giant-breed dogs. All too often, metastases to the lungs have formed by the time this cancer is diagnosed, making the prognosis a grim one.
  • Mammary gland cancer — Highly preventable through correctly timed spaying of female pets, mammary gland cancer is the most common tumor found in female dogs. Mammary tumors in cats are malignant 85% of the time; in dogs, they are cancerous about half the time.
  • Hemangiosarcoma — This aggressive cancer affects vascular endothelial cells, with tumors most often occurring in the spleen or heart. Certain breeds are more predisposed than others, including boxers, German shepherds, Labradors, and golden retrievers.
  • Lymphoma — Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph system, which is part of the immune system. In cats, one in three cancer diagnoses is lymphoma, with the gastrointestinal tract most commonly affected.
  • Mast cell tumors — More common in dogs than cats, these skin tumors can range from relatively benign if removed early, to seriously malignant and aggressive.

Cancer signs in pets

Certain signs seem to point to cancer development in pets, so keep a sharp eye out for the following potential cancer indicators:

  • Growing lumps, bumps, or swellings that do not go away
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Abnormal bleeding or discharge
  • Unpleasant odor 
  • Difficulty swallowing or eating
  • Lethargy
  • Persistent lameness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Problems urinating or defecating
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

Although many of these signs can be caused by other diseases, they all require veterinary attention to help your pet feel their best again. If you notice any abnormalities in your pet, contact our team right away.