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Cancer And Pets: What You Need To Know

May 1, 2024

Unfortunately, cancer is very common in our beloved pets. It remains the biggest cause of disease-related death for dogs and cats in the United States. Approximately 25% of dogs and 20% of cats have been diagnosed. In this article from a Carol Stream, IL veterinarian, we offer some vital information about this dangerous disease. 

Which Cancer Types Are Most Commonly Found in Pets?

Our furry pals can be affected by many different kinds of cancer. In fact, there are more than 30 different forms of lymphoma alone. We of course can’t go through all of them here, but we can take a look at some of the most frequently seen ones:  


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.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SSC) 

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

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, most 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.


is a type of cancer that attacks the body’s soft tissues. It is quite prevalent among felines. The good news is that it is known for spreading 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 for each kitty.

Mast Cell Tumors 

These are most commonly found on or near the skin’s surface, but they can also appear in other regions of the body, such as the eyes, mouth, neck, and spine. Surgery may be a possibility, but that isn’t a given. Whether that is a viable option or not would depend on the tumor’s size and placement.


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, are more susceptible to this type of cancer.

What Are the Symptoms of Pet Cancer?

Cancer can create a variety of symptoms. It’s really going to depend on the type of cancer and how fast it has spread.

Some of the things to watch for include 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 behave like themselves. An affectionate feline may exhibit signs of irritation or hostility, whilst a less sociable cat may unexpectedly seek love.

If you observe any of these symptoms, or anything else that appears unusual for your pet, contact your Carol Stream, IL veterinary facility right away. Remember, the sooner a problem is identified and handled, the better!

What Are the Risk Factors for Cancer in Pets?

There is no single proven cause of pet cancer, although environmental and genetic variables appear to play an important role.

Cancer is becoming more common in pets, 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 Any Specific Dog Breeds More Likely To Develop Cancer Than Others?

Cancer affects 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.

If you’re not sure what breed Fido is, you should think about getting a doggy DNA test. This might assist in identifying any specific illnesses or diseases that your dog is prone to. This information can be very useful.

What Is The Difference Between Neoplasia, Tumors, And Cancer?

Neoplasia, tumors, and malignancies are distinct entities, but there is significant overlap between them.

Neoplasia is, in a nutshell, abnormal cell development. This could be malignant or benign. Tumors are the outcome of aberrant cell growth. Keep in mind that benign tumors can still be hazardous. However, 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. Simply explained, cancer is the dangerous type of abnormal cell proliferation. For further information, please contact your Carol Stream, IL veterinarian.

What Are the Treatment Options For Pets With Cancer?

Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are the three basic cancer treatment choices for pets, just as they are for people. Other therapeutic possibilities 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. 

These treatments are not one-size-fits-all. There are a few factors to consider in this case, 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 kitty with advanced lung cancer.  Every pet is unique, thus the best solution will be determined by the diagnosis, as well as 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 information with you.

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 comfort and happiness. 

In Conclusion: Cancer is becoming more common in pets, just as it is with people. However, there are also more treatment options than ever before. Ask your vet for more information, 

Book An Appointment At Our Carol Stream, Il 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 Carol Stream, Illinois animal clinic! We are committed to offering both high-quality care and outstanding customer service.