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Cancer In Pets

May 1, 2024

It’s Cancer Awareness Month. This is aimed at humans, but is also very relevant for our animal companions. Unfortunately, cancer is quite common in our beloved pets. It remains the biggest cause of disease-related death for dogs and cats in the US at present. About twenty-five percent of dogs and 20% of cats have been diagnosed. Continue reading to learn about this potentially harmful illness from a veterinarian.

Which Cancer Types Are Most Commonly Found in Pets?

Many cancers can affect pets. There are over 30 different forms of lymphoma alone.

That being stated, let us take a look at some of the most frequently seen ones:  


This particular type of cancer attacks the body’s soft tissues. It is quite prevalent among felines. The good news is that it spreads slowly. It can, however, be quite aggressive.  Fortunately, a diagnosis does not have to mean the end for our beloved feline companions. Cats can live for quite a while if they are properly cared for, though this will vary each kitty.

Mast Cell Tumor 

This type of tumor is most commonly found on or near the skin’s surface, but it can also appear in other regions of the body, such as the eyes, mouth, neck, and spine. Surgery may be a possibility, but its feasibility is determined by the tumor’s size and placement.

Mammary Tumor 

Pets, like people, can develop breast cancer. This is a common occurrence among female dogs. These forms of tumors are also commonly found in our feline companions.  Indeed, mammary tumors make up a sizable fraction of neoplasias. 

Unfortunately, the majority of feline mammary tumors are malignant and have the potential to spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs and lymph nodes. Surgery is frequently mentioned as a feasible therapy option. In some situations, additional chemotherapy or radiation treatments may benefit pets even more.


Osteosarcoma mostly affects the skeletal system and can cause considerable discomfort. Some dog breeds, including Dobermans, Boxers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Irish Wolfhounds, Rottweilers, and Weimaraners all have higher risks of developing this type of cancer than the average pup.


Lymphoma affects a kind of white blood cell called a lymphocyte, as well as other lymphoid tissues such as lymph nodes, bone marrow, and the liver.

Cats suffering from this condition frequently have digestive issues.  Fortunately, chemotherapy has proven to be extremely helpful in the treatment of feline lymphoma. According to a recent study, roughly 70% of cats went into remission after receiving chemotherapy.

Feline Leukemia (FeLV) 

Feline leukemia virus is a retrovirus that affects cats. FeLV can be spread from infected cats through saliva or nasal secretions. It weakens the cat’s immune system, which can lead to fatal infections.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SSC) 

This is a mouth-related condition. Excessive drooling, unexplained bleeding, and difficulty swallowing are all warning signals. Surgery is sometimes an option, however it is difficult to perform on smaller animals.

What Are the Risk Factors for Cancer in Pets?

Environmental and genetic factors appear to be significant contributors to companion cancer, although there is no single known definitive cause.

Cancer is becoming more common in dogs, just as it is in humans. It is possible that this is due to increased exposure to cancer-causing agents such as pesticides, chemicals, secondhand tobacco, and other reasons.

Are some breeds more likely to develop cancer than others?

Cancer can affect dogs of all breeds and ages. Nonetheless, some puppies may be more susceptible than others. These include the Golden Retriever, Rottweiler, Bernese Mountain Dog, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Poodle, Beagle, Scottish Terrier, Bouvier des Flandres, Cocker Spaniel, Bichon Frisé, Doberman Pinscher, Bulldog, Boston Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, and Pug.

As for kitties, Siamese cats may be more prone to cancers, though more research is needed. 

If you’re not sure what breed Fido is, you may want to think about getting a doggy DNA test. This could help you identify any specific illnesses or diseases that your dog is prone to. This information can be very useful.

What Are the Symptoms of Pet Cancer?

Cancer can generate a variety of symptoms. It is essential to be aware of warning indications. Bloating, changes in bathroom routine, decreased energy, mood changes, eating difficulties, limping, unpleasant odor, bleeding or discharge, fatigue, decreased tolerance for physical activity, vomiting, urinary difficulties, loss of appetite, wounds, weight loss, respiratory issues, inflammation, discomfort, unusual breath odor, coughing, straining during elimination, decreased stamina, and changes in water intake are a few of the most common.

Take note of any general changes in behavior as well. When pets aren’t feeling well, they generally don’t act like their usual selves. An affectionate feline may exhibit signs of irritation or hostility, whilst a less sociable cat may unexpectedly seek love and cuddles.

If you notice any of these symptoms, or anything else that appears unusual for your pet, contact your Lapel, IN veterinary facility right away. Remember, the sooner a problem is identified and treated, the better!

What are the differences between neoplasia, tumors, and cancer?

Neoplasia, tumors, and malignancies are all different; however, there is significant overlap between them.

Neoplasia is abnormal cell development. This could be malignant or benign. Tumors are the outcome of aberrant cell growth. Although benign tumors can sometimes be dangerous, depending on their location, their capacity to spread throughout the body is limited. Cancerous tumors have the ability to spread and migrate rapidly throughout the body. That is of course the very bare bones explanation. For further information, please contact your Lapel, IN veterinarian.

What Are the Treatment Options?

Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are the three basic cancer treatment choices for pets, just as they are for people. Other therapies include immunotherapy, cryotherapy, heat, and radioactive iodine I-131. Then there is palliative care, which stresses the pet’s comfort over aggressively fighting the cancer. Alternative treatments for pets include laser therapy, nutritional therapy, and acupuncture. 

However, these are not universally applicable. Every one of our furry best friends is unique, thus the best solution will be determined by the diagnosis. Your pet’s age and health are other important considerations. Once your veterinarian has completed a thorough evaluation of your pet and gotten all of the necessary test results or screenings, they will be able to discuss the options with you.

There are a few factors to consider, including the stage and type of cancer, as well as your pet’s overall health. A dog with an early-stage tumor on its leg may have a better prognosis than a cat with advanced lung cancer. 

As responsible caregivers for our beloved animal companions, we must make informed decisions on their behalf. As previously said, there are numerous therapy choices to explore. However, it is critical to prioritize your pet’s health and happiness. We understand the difficulties you may be facing, and we know how powerful the bonds between pets and people can be. 

Book an appointment at our Lapel, IN Pet Clinic

Have you seen any of these symptoms in your beloved pet? Are you worried that your pet will develop cancer? Please contact us at our  Lapel, IN animal clinic! We are committed to offering both high-quality care and outstanding customer service.