Learning that a loved one has a tumor can truly shake you to your core. When that loved one is your pet, you’re often left with making difficult decisions on your pet’s behalf, in addition to processing and coping with the shocking news. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, having as much information as possible can help you to make those tough choices. Keep reading to learn more about cancer and tumors in pets.
What Kinds of Cancer Do Animals Get?
Animals are prone to many of the same types of cancer as humans, including the following:
- Breast cancer – This type of cancer is the most common cancer found in female pets. In fact, more than half of all cancerous tumors in female dogs are mammary tumors. A female pet is more likely to suffer from breast cancer if: she was never spayed, she was spayed after her first heat cycle, she eats a great deal of meat, or she is overweight.
- Mouth and throat cancer – There are several types of cancer that can develop in animals’ mouths and throats. They require aggressive treatment.
- Lymphoma – Cancer of the lymph tissue, or lymphoma, is the most common type of cancer seen by vets. Often, this cancer spreads, requiring treatment of not only the lymph nodes, but the liver, spleen, and even bone marrow.
- Skin cancer – While humans often get skin cancer as a result of sun exposure, pets develop a different kind of skin cancer known as mast cell tumors, or MCTs. These usually cause ulcers or lesions, but can also become malignant and spread in some cases.
These are just a few possible cancers that your pet can get. Just as with cancer in humans, it’s important to know exactly what kind of cancer you’re dealing with, as well as what stage the cancer is at, in order to develop a treatment plan.
Symptoms of Cancer in Your Pet
As a pet owner, you are the one that is most likely going to know that something is wrong with your beloved animal. It’s important to keep an eye out for these symptoms that could indicate your pet has cancer:
- Trouble urinating or passing stool
- Unexplained swelling anywhere in the body
- Sudden and unexplained lameness
- Excessively bad breath
- Black, tarry stool
- Sores that don’t heal
- Sudden weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble breathing
- Abnormal discharge anywhere on the body
- Lack of energy
If you spot a lump on your pet, it’s important to have it identified quickly. However, it’s possible that the lump is only a soft tissue sarcoma. These lumps commonly appear in the connective tissue of older animals, and most frequently in larger breeds of dog.
For most types of pets, cancer treatment options are the same as they are for humans, and include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy. The best treatment option for your pet will primarily depend on the type of cancer your pet has, your pet’s species, and what stage the cancer is in.
If you would like more information concerning your pet, contact Forever Vet Animal Hospital and ask about our veterinary services in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. We have 8 locations and are open 7 days a week with extended hours. Serving Jacksonville, Orlando, Nocatee, St. Johns, St. Augustine, Ponte Verda and more.