Pet Cancer Awareness Month

This year, October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month; a month filled with sharing knowledge and empowerment for those effected by breast cancer, their friends and families. As November rolls around, a less talked about form of cancer takes its turn as National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Since cancer is often associated as a human condition, it’s important to watch for signs that cancer may be present within your pet.

Signs & Symptoms

Check for lumps. Just like in humans, abnormal bumps or lumps can draw cause for concern. If you see or feel something that looks suspicious, take your pet to the veterinarian for an exam. This will determine whether or not the mass is malignant or benign, and appropriate action can be taken at that time.
Abnormalities. Whether it be a strange odor or leaky substance, anything that is abnormal for your pet should be addressed with a doctor. This could take form as blood, puss, any type of discharge, bloating, vomiting and diarrhea, foul smells in the ears, mouth, anal regions, etc. Cancer can form in any place, and can be caught showing signs by irregularities in any part of a pet’s body.

When your pet isn’t acting like themselves. If your pet is showing signs of lethargy, depression, or a change in appetite, you should consult their veterinarian. When a pet is less playful or excited, this can mean there is something wrong. A sudden change in appetite or weight loss could indicate there is a presence of pain while swallowing – as found with oral tumors – or any other form of cancer throughout the body. These symptoms do not necessarily indicate that your pet has cancer, but cancer is on the list of diseases that can cause these issues.
Indications of discomfort. Changes in your pet’s urinary and bowel habits, such as presence of blood or increase/decrease in frequency, can indicate a problem. Coughing or difficulty breathing, though symptoms of heart disease or lung disease, can also be indicative of cancer. Wounds that won’t heal, or sores, as well as displaying pain, also indicate there is an issue. Is cancer always the culprit? Of course not, but it is a possibility.

It’s very hard to determine what is bothering your pet, and often, cancer is not going to be the first thought that comes to mind. There is such a long list of problems, diseases, and reasons as to why your pet isn’t feeling like their normal self, it’s just important to be armed with the knowledge that can be used to combat more serious issues, like cancer. If you are ever unsure of what’s going on, ask your pet’s veterinarian. It could be something minor, or it could be something serious; better safe than sorry.

To all of the pet owners that have experienced or are experiencing their pet having cancer, our hearts are with you!