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Pet Cancer Awareness Month: Do You Know the Signs?

Most pet dogs and cats are living long, healthy and happy lives because of pet owners like you. You make sure to feed a high-quality dog or cat food, seek veterinary care routinely and as needed, and provide plenty of attention and affection.

A long life for our pets, however, tends to be accompanied by a sobering reality. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in dogs and cats. According to the Animal Cancer Foundation, one in four dogs and one in five cats will develop cancer in their lifetimes. Since November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month — and, more importantly, because early detection is critical to better results — every pet owner should know the warning signs of cancer.

Potential cancer warning signs in dogs

The American Veterinary Medical Association and Animal Cancer Foundation have identified the following signs and symptoms as possible warning signs in dogs:

  • Offensive mouth odor
  • A growing or changing lump
  • Sores that don’t heal
  • Sudden changes in weight
  • Unexplained bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Reluctance to exercise or loss of stamina
  • Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Abdominal swelling

Potential cancer warning signs in cats

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners and Animal Cancer Foundation, the common signs of cancer in cats are:

  • Chronic weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Lethargy (sluggishness)
  • Skin lumps or bumps
  • Offensive mouth odor
  • Unexplained bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  • Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
  • Sores that don’t heal
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating or passing stools
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Potential Pet Cancer Warning Signs | Diamond Pet Foods

What to do if you notice any potential signs in your pet

If you notice any signs or symptoms in your dog or cat, don’t panic or assume the worst!

Some of the listed symptoms are common to more than one health issue. But don’t ignore them either. Just call your veterinarian to schedule an appointment. He or she will be able to evaluate your pet and determine the cause of the symptoms that you’ve noticed. Cancers in dogs and cats are often treatable, and early detection, diagnosis and treatment can improve your pet’s odds of winning the fight against cancer.

You can read more about pet cancer here, here and here.

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.

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