Cancer in Pets

Our veterinarians are highly knowledgeable in diagnosis and offer aggressive treatment plans to help your pet endure a long, healthy life. We know that a positive cancer diagnosis can be difficult, troubling, and confusing. Our staff is here to offer our complete support throughout your pet’s treatment, and we are here to help your family through this trying period.

Symptoms that possibly indicate cancer in pets: 

  • Bleeding from body openings
  • Difficulty making bowel movements or urinating
  • Hesitation to move
  • Inclined to sleep more throughout the day
  • Lethargy
  • Sudden and unexplained collapse
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Growing masses

Diagnosing pet cancer

The following are some of the methods utilized in diagnosis: 

  • Biopsy – Remove a sample mass of the affected area and have it lab tested for cancerous cells. If those tests are positive, more samples might be necessary to see if cancer is spreading. 
  • Blood tests/chemistry functioning – Test doesn’t diagnose cancer, but major changes in the composition of blood indicate health problems. High white blood cell count, low red blood cell count, and changes in kidney and liver functioning are all examined. 
  • Fine needle aspiration (FNA) – Similar to a biopsy, but does not require removal of a mass. Cells are extracted for testing from the mass with a needle. If those cells test positively, more cells might be tested to see how far cancer has spread. 
  • Lymph node aspirate – Requires removing and testing lymph node fluid.
  • Surgery – Enables veterinarian to examine all potentially cancerous areas in question.
  • X-ray – Allows veterinarian to detect and visualize tumors in chest, bones, and lungs.

Treating pet cancer

In planning your pet’s cancer therapy, we utilize different approaches depending on the type of cancer and how far it has progressed.

Tumors (collections of cancer cells) come in two forms: 

  • Benign: Slow growing; don’t spread. Usually surgically removed, but sometimes left alone if they are considered a non-threat. 
  • Malignant: Also called carcinomas, sarcomas, and lymphomas; spread to other parts of the body. Can lead to pet death.

Some pet cancer cases might need to be referred to an oncology specialist. If your pet requires treatment beyond what we offer in-house, we may refer you to a specialist that we are in close contact with.

If you have any questions about pet cancer, please contact our veterinary practice. 

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