Blue Eyes KittenNo pet owner wants to hear the devastating news that their furry friend has been diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, cancer in pets is all too common and is the leading cause of death among senior dogs and cats.

Early Detection Is Key To Beating Cancer In Pets

As with most serious medical conditions, the sooner cancer is diagnosed, the sooner we can treat it, which means a better chance of prolonging your pet’s life. Annual wellness exams are an important part of your pet’s overall wellness regimen and should not be skipped, but don’t underestimate your own powers of observation as well.

By developing excellent home care habits for your dog or cat (and sticking with them), you may be able to spot any signs of cancer before your pet is due for their next checkup.

Regular Grooming Habits

Beyond keeping your pet looking and feeling great, regular grooming is the perfect way to stay in touch with your pet’s skin on a regular basis. The acts of brushing, bathing, clipping, and ear cleaning can alert you to any changes on or underneath the skin, such as lumps, bumps, or growths, that could indicate cancer.

Home Dental Care

Just like people, pets need their teeth brushed and their mouths examined on a regular basis for optimal health. Once per week, lift your pet’s lips and examine the inside of his or her mouth for lesions, growths, or other abnormalities.

Changes In Appearance

Sudden changes in your pet’s appearance should be taken seriously. Bring your pet to the veterinarian if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Bloating of the belly
  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • An uncharacteristic odor
  • Any new swellings, lumps, or bumps
  • Coughing or difficulty breathing

Behavioral Changes

You know your pet better than anyone else, and you can use this knowledge to spot the subtle signs of illness that may not be noticeable to an outsider. Report any changes in your pet’s behavior to your veterinarian, including:

  • Changes in eating/drinking habits
  • Changes in urination or defecation
  • Signs of pain, such as limping or tenderness in a certain area
  • Decrease in energy levels
  • Unwillingness to socialize, “hiding” from family members and other pets

A Final Thought

March 23rd is National Puppy Day! There’s nothing better than a new puppy (or kitten!) and no better way to celebrate this special day than by taking a bite out of pet cancer. If you’ve recently adopted a puppy or kitten, make it a priority to give your pet a nutritious diet, plenty of exercise, and lots of affection, but also be ready to establish the above good habits so that you can be on the lookout for any signs of illness right from the beginning. If you have any questions about cancer in pets, please give us a call!