What to Know About Cancer in Pets

Cancer in pets.

The fact that there are many unknowns can make a cancer diagnosis much more challenging. Because each case is unique, it’s not always clear how cancer will affect a pet’s lifestyle and lifespan. There is definitely room for hope, but it’s important to move quickly toward an effective medical plan after the initial diagnosis. Cancer in pets can be treated (and even cured), and many animals maintain a high quality of life throughout the ordeal.

National Awareness

Each November, veterinary professionals focus on raising awareness about cancer in pets. Statistically, one in four dogs and one in five cats develop cancer annually. About half of all dogs over the age of ten will develop cancer.

Because of its pervasive nature, many pets and their owners face this disease. With the right information and support team, a cancer diagnosis can be managed. 

Cancer in Pets

Cats may not be diagnosed with cancer as frequently as dogs, but their cancers can be more dangerous. Cancer types that commonly affect cats include:

  • Fibrosarcoma
  • Squamous cell cancer
  • Feline leukemia (FeLV)
  • Lymphoma
  • Mammary cancer

Dogs face these types of cancer more often:

  • Lymphoma
  • Melanoma
  • Osteosarcoma 
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Hemangiosarcoma

Because of the aggressive nature of most cancers, it’s vital to seek help if you ever notice the following symptoms:

  • A lump or bump on the skin doesn’t go down
  • Sudden or unexplained weight loss
  • Changes in breathing, movement, eating, or going to the bathroom
  • Pale gums
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Lethargy or depression
  • Muscle soreness or stiffness
  • Funky mouth odor
  • Bleeding from the mouth, nose, or anus

These signs may lead to early detection of cancer. Quick intervention can alter cancer’s course and increase the odds of a healthy outcome.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Cancer in pets can be detected with X-Rays, blood tests, and ultrasounds. A biopsy of a tumor’s cells or lymph nodes may also be ordered to determine the type, spread, and malignancy. Further diagnostics, such as CT scan, MRI, or PET scan, can locate a tumor’s exact placement in the body, leading to possible surgical removal

Veterinary oncologists give pet owners the best possible shot at treating cancer in pets. We are equipped to facilitate proper, effective treatment plans for our patients and stand by to assist pet owners navigate these choppy waters.

Cancer in pets is scary, but it doesn’t always end in tragedy. Please give us a call at (916) 634-0822 with any questions or concerns, or if you think your pet would benefit from a routine wellness exam.