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10 Warning Signs of Cancer in Cats and Dogs

 10 Warning Signs of Cancer in Cats and Dogs, cancer symptoms pets, cancer symptoms dogs, cancer symptoms cats, signs of cancer dogs

The early warning signs of cancer in dogs and cats may be subtle.

It’s every owner’s worst fear.

Your older kitty or pup is getting on in years and slowing down. Of course, with regular check-ups your vet will help identify any concerns he/she might have but in the back of your mind, you’ve heard stories or perhaps had other pets who seemingly overnight were diagnosed with cancer.

While you can’t prevent your pet from getting cancer, you can educate yourself about early warning signs. As with humans, early detection is key.

Here are the top 10 warning signs of cancer in cats and dogs, courtesy of petMD.

(Keep in mind that no single sign is indicative of cancer alone, but if notice two or more signs, take your pet to the vet for a complete check-up.)

Image: iStock


  • Lethargy and Depression 1 of 10
    Lethargy and Depression
    If your pet has cancer, there is a chance that he or she will suffer from depression and sleep more, become less playful, and be less willing to go for walks. Although lethargy or depression in dogs and cats can set in with any illness, it is commonly seen in pets that have cancer.
    Image: Flickr
  • Changes in Bathroom Habits 2 of 10
    Changes in Bathroom Habits
    Any changes in your pet's bathroom habits including difficulty using the bathroom, frequent bathroom use, and blood in urine or stools are potential warning signs that cancer has developed in your pet.
    Image: Flickr
  • Abnormal Discharges 3 of 10
    Abnormal Discharges
    Discharges such as blood, pus, vomit, diarrhea, and any other abnormal substance being excreted from your pet's body should be checked out by a veterinarian immediately. A bloated or distended stomach could also be a sign of internal discharge.
    Image: Flickr
  • Evidence of Pain 4 of 10
    Evidence of Pain
    Limping or other evidence of your dog or cat in pain when he or she is active, or if the pain is too great for them to be active, can be indications of cancer of the bone.
    Image: Flickr
  • Abnormal Odors 5 of 10
    Abnormal Odors
    Foul odors from any of your cat or dog's orifices and/or body parts may be a cause for concern. Cancers of the mouth, nose, or anal regions can cause your pet to emit offensive odors.
    Image: Flickr
  • Lumps and Bumps 6 of 10
    Lumps and Bumps
    Not every lump or bump is necessarily cancerous, but consulting with your vet is the only way to be sure. If the lump is growing or not resolving itself, contact your vet and he or she will do a biopsy to determine the contents of the bump.
    Image: Flickr
  • Weight Loss 7 of 10
    Weight Loss
    Sudden weight loss in cats and dogs not on a diet can be an indicator of many diseases and illnesses. If coupled with another warning sign of cancer, you should contact your vet right away and inform him or her about your pet's symptoms.
    Image: Flickr
  • Change in Appetite 8 of 10
    Change in Appetite
    While a lack of appetite in dogs and cats can be an indicator of many things, they never stop eating without a cause. Not necessarily a sign of cancer, a decrease in appetite can indicate an oral tumor, which would make it painful and difficult for your pet to eat and swallow.
    Image: Flickr
  • Non-Healing Wounds 9 of 10
    Non-Healing Wounds
    Lacerations or sores that do not heal within a normal time range on the surface of your cat or dog's body may indicate infection, skin disease, and possibly cancer.
    Image: Flickr
  • Coughing or Difficulty Breathing 10 of 10
    Coughing or Difficulty Breathing
    Although symptoms of heart and lung disease, coughing and abnormal breathing can also indicate cancer. This symptom will most likely occur if the cancer in your pet's body has metastasized into his or her lungs.
    Image: Flickr

Follow Danielle on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest (where she maintains an ‘Adorable Pups’ board), or find her at her blog, Just Write Mom and Babble’s Strollerderby.

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