Symptoms of Cancer in Pets
|Cancer is one of the most common geriatric diseases affecting both dogs and cats. Cancer may involve any organ system from the skin to more interior locations, including the lymph nodes, digestive tract, liver, spleen, kidneys, lung and brain. While cancer may affect pets of any age, cancer is more likely to occur in adult and senior pets.
Symptoms of cancer are quite variable and often mimic many other chronic diseases. General signs of illness include lethargy, loss of appetite, weight loss, and changes in behavior. Other nonspecific signs may occur including vomiting, diarrhea, changes in urination, more rapid difficult respiration, and coughing. The development of sudden growths of lumps felt on the skin also may signal cancer.
It is important that pets with any of these clinical signs be thoroughly evaluated by the veterinarian, and that a full diagnostic workup including blood, urine and radiologic testing is done so that cancer may be differentiated from other diseases. Most lumps or growths can often be routinely aspirated right in the office with a needle to find out if they are malignant, so that appropriate treatment can be instituted.