Cancer is a scary possibility, regardless of whether you’re talking about a family member or a pet. Besides, if you’re like many pet owners, your dog or cat is a family member! Learn what signs to watch for in your fur baby to know if you should take him to the vet for cancer screening.
About half of all dogs are diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lives, usually as they get older. This makes canine cancer the number one cause of death in dogs over age 10. Fortunately, many types of cancer are treatable and even reversible if caught early. Watch for these signs of cancer in your pooch and bring him to the vet without delay to have him tested for cancer:
- Abnormal lump or bump
- Persistent wound that never heals
- Enlarged lymph nodes (located behind the jaw, in front of each shoulder, in the armpits, in the groin area and behind each knee)
- Lameness accompanied by swelling in the bone
- Abnormal bleeding
While cats develop cancer only half as often as dogs, it’s still a condition you should be aware of. As with dogs and humans, the chance of your cat developing cancer increases with age. The symptoms of feline cancer vary greatly depending on the exact type, but here are the general signs to watch for:
- Abnormal lump or bump
- Difficulty breathing
- Lack of appetite resulting in weight loss
- Rough coat
Testing for Canine and Feline Cancer
The effectiveness of cancer treatment relies heavily on diagnosing the condition early. That’s why you should keep a close eye on your pet if he exhibits any unusual signs and call the vet with your concerns if he isn’t acting 100 percent normal.
When you bring your dog or cat to Germantown Vet Clinic for cancer testing, here’s what you can expect:
The first step is to look for signs of trouble through a physical exam. This includes a few simple steps that can reveal a lot about your pet’s condition. The vet will:
- Check your pet’s heart and lungs
- Examine your pet’s teeth
- Look at your pet’s eyes
- Check your pet’s ears
- Feel the lymph nodes, skin and abdomen
- Check your pet’s joints and muscles
Blood and Urine Tests
The purpose of a blood test is to detect increased enzyme levels that could indicate a tumor. Urine testing may reveal the presence of blood or molecules that could point to cancer in the bladder or other organ that has direct contact with urine. We recommend you have your pet undergo preventative blood and urine testing once a year starting around age 10 to help detect cancer early.
This involves collecting a tissue sample from your pet and analyzing it to determine if the suspected mass is cancerous or not. A biopsy should always be done before beginning any treatment.
Cytology involves examining individual cells under a microscope. It’s faster than a biopsy and can provide preliminary results.
Vets use multiple techniques to capture images of your pet’s body that can aid in the diagnosing process. Ultrasounds and x-rays are two common tools used to diagnose cancer in pets.
Schedule Cancer Testing for Your Pet
Whether an unusual bump has you worried or your pet is simply acting abnormally, bring him in for cancer testing. The earlier we can make a diagnosis and begin treatment, the better your pet’s chances are for survival.
Contact us online or call us at 240-252-7467 to schedule canine or feline cancer testing today.