It’s Pet Cancer Awareness Month

By: Alicia Sexauer

Photo by cottonbro on

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, read below to educate yourself on symptoms to watch out for with your pets. The earlier that cancer is detected, the greater chance there will be of achieving remission!

Per the AVMA, “Approximately 1 in 4 dogs will, at some stage in their life, develop neoplasia. Almost half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer. Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans, while there is less information about the rate of cancer in cats. Some cancers, such as lymphoma, are more common in cats than in dogs.”

Like people, pets can develop cancer impacting any organ or tissue in their body. The signs that may be observed can vary based on the tissue involved and how severe it is.

Make an appointment to consult your veterinarian if you observe any of the following signs.

Possible Signs of Neoplasia in Pets

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Bleeding from the mouth, nose or other body openings
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty eating
  • Lumps, bumps, or discolored skin
  • Non-healing wounds
  • Persistent diarrhea or vomiting
  • Sudden changes in weight
  • Unexplained swelling, heat, pain, or lameness
  • Visible mass/tumor

What is the success rate?

Per the AVMA, the response to treatment will depend on the type and extent of the cancer, as well as the availability and effectiveness of therapy. There is no general rule in regards to each pet’s response to therapy, but treatment can be successful for many pets. Benign cancers are usually easier to treat, and treatment of any type if cancer is more likely to be successful if the cancer is detected early. Despite a lack of metastasis (spread), benign tumors can sometimes have damaging effects on the patient. Although some cancers (especially the more aggressive types) cannot be cured, treatment can prolong your pet’s life and improve their quality of life.

For more information, we recommend checking out the following links: