It’s a tough topic, but one that some pet owners have to face the reality of sooner or later. Did you know that cancer is the #1 natural cause of death in older pets? Or that cancer accounts for almost 50% of all pet-related deaths annually? In fact, 1-in-4 dogs die of cancer, and the 1-in-4 dogs also develop some sort of tumor during their lifetime.
While we may not be able to avoid it and we largely still don’t know what causes cancer, there are still steps we can take in identifying it and caring for a pet with cancer as much as possible.
First off, here are some of the big symptoms that your pet might be suffering from cancer:
- Persistent and abnormal swelling
- Difficulty eating/swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Persistent stiffness in the joints
- Sudden loss of weight and/or appetite
- Increased body odor
- Sores that refuse to heal
For a full list of symptoms, check out this link. If you see any of these signs in your pet, the best option is to get them to a vet for a full checkup as soon as possible. This way you can determine the cause of the problem and nail down a treatment plan, depending on what they have and what stage it’s at.
Common treatments for pets with cancer can include surgery, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, or a combination of these and other techniques. The earlier the detection, the better chance they usually have. There’s certainly the option of not taking any drastic measures and simply seeking to alleviate any pain or discomfort your pet might be feeling. Whatever you decide, it’s important to talk all options through clearly with your vet. No matter what, it’s your pet’s quality of life that is being impacted most, and we know loving pet owners will seek to improve that as much as possible in any situation.
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