Cancer. That’s a scary word. It can cause anxiety and fear, especially when it concerns our loved ones, whether human or animal. When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, early detection provides the best chance for successful treatment.

May is Cancer Awareness Month. At THRIVE Affordable Vet Care our veterinarians want to make sure that our clients know what the early warning signs of cancer are for dogs and cats. Detecting any of the following signs should prompt you to schedule an exam for your pet. 

What does cancer look like?

Cancer symptoms may mimic symptoms for many other non-cancerous conditions. Here are ten early warning signs associated with cancer from the American Veterinary Medical Association:

  1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
  2. Sores that do not heal
  3. Weight loss
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  6. Offensive odor
  7. Difficulty eating or swallowing
  8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
  9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
  10. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

After a thorough physical exam, your veterinarian may recommend further diagnostics such as testing blood and urine, taking samples for cytology or histopathology, and getting x-rays or an ultrasound. If cancer is detected, your veterinarian will discuss with you all options ranging from palliative to curative, including possible options in between. 

The goal with any treatment plan is to balance the positive benefits of the treatment with any possible negative side effects. When anyone hears the word “chemotherapy” we often think of the side effects seen in people such as nausea and hair loss. In veterinary medicine, we realize that we cannot explain to our patients the necessity of experiencing such effects. Therefore, chemotherapy in our pets is designed to maintain their quality of life while achieving the desired goals of treatment.

At THRIVE Affordable Vet Care, our veterinarians are here to guide you through the diagnostic and treatment stages, including referral to an oncologist when needed, providing optimal care for your furry family member. 

It is so important to bring your pet into a THRIVE anytime you notice anything different or unusual with your pet. Preventive care is always the more cost effective way in finding serious diseases when you can still intervene.