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Warnings on Cancer in Pets

March 10th, 2010

Cancer in petsWhen we hear the word 'cancer', we shiver. The disease that grabs the whole body and only sometimes, reluctantly lets go, is responsible for "about 200 deaths a year per 100,000 people of all ages and 1,000 deaths per 100,000 people over age 65". But the disease is not limited only to people. Your pet can suffer from it as well. Though it's common in older dogs and cats.

Cancer, in general, refers to the uncontrolled growth of cells. It comes in all sizes and forms, with each type affecting a specific part of the pet's body. Despite its dozens of faces, there are some general tell tale signs of cancer among pets.

1. If you notice swellings, lumps or bumps that keep growing, you should immediately take your pet to the veterinarian. It could be something benign like abscesses or cysts, but at the same time it could be cancerous. If your pet is furry, those bumps may not be seen with a naked eye - the best way to spot it, actually, to feel it is grooming and petting your pet regularly.

2. Wounds or sores that take time to heel can point to cancer. Once again, visit your veterinarian to examine your pet.

3. Weight loss is another cancer pointer. It doesn't occur over night, it's a process that takes time. It's a bit hard to spot a weight loss in furry animals. The first thing that comes to your mind is a fur loss. So if your pets shrinks, fur may not have anything to do with it. Weight loss could be a sign of some other diseases, not only cancer.

4. Pets don't stop eating just because, especially not dogs and cats. If they're refusing food, something's wrong. It doesn't have to be cancer, lack of appetite is a general symptom for almost any disease. Consulting your veterinarian is welcome.

5. If you see your pet struggling with food; having hard time swallowing it, that might point to dental problems or some other form of diseases of the mouth, throat or neck,  including cancer.

6. Vomiting, diarrhea and other abnormal discharges represent another possible sign of cancer. Abnormal discharges are a tell tale sign that something's wrong. First thing you should do is visit your veterinarian. Constipation, on the other side is also not normal, not even for old pets and just like discharges can be a sign of cancer.

7. If you detect a nasty odor coming from any part of your pet's body, it should be examined. Usually, cancer of the nose, mouth and anal region produces foul odors.

8. As your dog or cat or some other pet is aging, it's getting more prone to diseases. Joint diseases, arthritic changes, muscle problems can also point to cancer, especially the form that attacks the bones.

9. Your pet may have problems with its urinary tract. Obvious symptoms are frequent urination, blood in urine, difficulty urinating. Those can all be signs of cancer and the last warning for you to take your pet to the veterinarian.

10. Heart diseases also attack all kinds of pets. Heavily breathing, coughing are the first signs. They can also be indicators of lungs problems and cancer. Some cancer types can spread to the lungs and led to these symptoms.

11. If your pet is acting weird - doesn't want to go out, sleeps more than usual, doesn't want to play with you even though he/she usually adores that, take your pet to your veterinarian. Just in case. It doesn't have to be anything but on the other side, these symptoms point to cancer and a variety of diseases.