If you’re like many people, your cat or dog is treated just like a family member. When they are under the weather or just not feeling well, you can usually tell when something is wrong. Noticing that your furry friend hasn’t been his old self lately is the first sign that there may be an underlying issue. Before you schedule an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian, take note of some of the physical signs of cancer and when the issue came to your attention.
Here are just a few things to look for:
Loss Of Appetite And Weight Loss
If you’re used to your dog begging for food or always barking for treats, when they suddenly turn food down, it’s a good indication that something underlying is going on. A loss of appetite is a good indicator of a medical issue and possibly cancer. Cancer cells attack the bloodstream and vital organs, which initially causes a loss of appetite and sudden weight loss. Types of cancer that commonly trigger a loss in appetite and weight include gastric cancers and plasma cell neoplasms. Utilizing Canna-Pet’s Cancer Resources can help you find answers to pet health concerns and healthy supplemental therapies that can help your furry friend thrive. Giving your dog a canine supplement treat or feeding him soft food may be the best way to care for him during his illness.
Skin Changes Or Lumps Under The Skin
Are you noticing any moles or lumps under the skin of your dog? This could be an indicator of an early stage cancer. Mammary tumors in female canines often display themselves with a lump or uneven skin tone in the mammary glands. Things to check for:
- *Nipples that are inverted or on the contrary, stick out further than others
- *A discolored skin lump or tumor visible on the skin.
- *Hard, painful area in the lymph nodes or anywhere on the body.
- *Darkened or reddened area anywhere on the skin.
If you notice any changes on the skin or a hardening or crusting of the skin, call your vet right away. Your vet may recommend a specific skin care regimen while your pet goes through the treatment process.
Unfortunately cancer is quite common in both cats and dogs. According to the Animal Cancer Foundation, roughly 12 million cats and dogs combined are diagnosed with cancer annually. While startling, you can detect some cancers by noticing some physical changes in habits such as:
- *Your pet constantly biting at their skin.
- *A sudden growth in the neck that is painful to the touch.
- *Trouble swallowing or chewing food.
- *Unable to urinate or defecate properly.
In addition to the visible changes, check for abnormal discharges from all areas of the body. Anything that is bloody or has a mucous base to the texture should be a cause for concern. Keep the area as clean as possible to prevent the risk of infection.
Excessive Sleeping And Coughing
Has your cat been sleeping a great deal more than usual? Have you noticed a strange cough or breathing difficulty even when at rest? It could be the signs of an underlying type of cancer. The feline leukemia virus is a serious virus that can often trigger some cases of lymphoma—one of the most common feline cancers. If your cat is sleeping more than usual and also has weight loss and swollen lymph nodes, he could have cancer. Your vet will do a physical exam and run a series of tests to determine a diagnosis, including:
- *Urine and blood tests
- *X-rays and ultrasounds
From there, the cancer will be staged and the recommended course of treatment will be started. It could be as simple as wait and watch or a combination of surgery, chemotherapy or immunotherapy to be used to treat the cancer. You may have to engage in more hands on care and try to keep your cat as comfortable as possible while he goes through treatment.
Cancer is a serious and oftentimes life-threatening illness that can affect all animals. Going to routine vet appointments, and staying up to date on shots are just some ways to reduce the risks of your pet getting sick from progressive cancer. Keep your pet as pain-free as possible by visiting your vet today for a complete checkup to address any underlying health concerns.