Cancer Awareness for Dogs and Cats

What You Need to Know About Cancer and Pets

By Madison Guthrie

Cancer in pets is a scary topic, but it’s an important one, nonetheless. We know you strive to do everything you can to keep your pets happy and healthy, but is there anything you can really do to help keep your pets safe from cancer?

At Petsadena Animal Hospital, cancer in pets is something we unfortunately see quite often.

That’s why it’s important to us that our clients understand that cancer in pets may be more common than they think.

How Common Is Cancer in Pets?

As we mentioned above, cancer in dogs and cats is actually more common than many pet parents may realize.

Studies have found that cancer is more prevalent in dogs than cats, with our canine counterparts developing cancer at the same rate as humans. In fact, it has been found that nearly 50% of senior dogs over the age of ten will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime.

And although cats may have a lower rate of developing cancer than dogs, it is still estimated that roughly one in five cats will develop cancer as they age.

This means that, if you are a pet parent, you could easily find yourself caring for a pet with cancer at some point in their life. But what type of cancers are most common in dogs and cats?

Let’s find out.

Most Common Types of Cancer in Dogs

While there are over 100 types of different canine cancers, some of the most common forms of cancer we see in dogs include:

– Melanoma
– Mast Cell Tumors
– Lymphoma
– Bone Cancer
– Hemangiosarcoma

Most Common Types of Cancer in Cats

There are less types of cancers that affect our feline friends, however there are still quite a few cancers cat owners should be aware of.

The most common cancers in cats are:

– Lymphoma
– Squamous cell carcinoma
– Soft-Tissue Sarcoma

Signs of Cancer in Pets

The early symptoms of cancer can present themselves similarly in both dogs and cats.

It’s important to keep an eye on your pet’s overall health and make a note of any sudden changes to appetite, weight, behavior, or sleep.

Remember, while cancer is a scary topic, early detection is key and can make all the difference in how your pet is treated for cancer, whether or not they recover, and their quality of life during treatment.

Some of the most common signs of cancer in pets are:

– Loss of appetite
– Sudden weight loss
– Breathing difficulties
– Lethargy
– Skin abnormalities or ulcers
– Unusual lumps or bumps on the body
– Lameness

If you notice any of the above signs or symptoms in your dog or cat, schedule a vet exam right away. But don’t panic. Remember, many of the symptoms above are common in pets and are often the result of much less serious ailments.

Still, it’s better to be safe.

Causes of Cancer in Pets

Sometimes, certain cancers in pets can be caused by genetics. Other times, cancers can be the result of the environment, diet, or the pet’s lifestyle.

Like humans, pets can develop cancer from too much sun exposure, second hand cigarette smoke, prolonged exposure to certain cleaning products and pesticides, and more.
So, how do you prevent your pet from getting cancer?

Keep reading.

Prevention and Early Detection of Cancer in Pets

While it may not always be possible to prevent your pet from developing cancer, it’s important to stay on top of your pet’s health by scheduling routine veterinary checkups with your regular veterinarian.

Since cancer is considered to be the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of ten, most veterinarians suggest routine vet visits twice a year for dogs and cats starting at the age of seven.

And while you can’t protect your pet from every type of cancer, you should know that nearly half of all cancer in pets is treatable if caught early, so make sure you are keeping an eye on your pet for any symptoms or signs of possible illness.

You can also help promote the health of your pet by ensuring they are consistently exercised, living in a clean, healthy environment, not spending too much time under direct sunlight, and are eating a quality, balanced diet that is specified for their breed, age, weight, and activity level.

Do you have questions or comments about cancer in dogs and cats? We would love to hear from you! Leave us a note in the comment section below and for more information on how you can help keep your pet happy and healthy, visit us online at

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