Ten warning signs of cancer in pets


Many people don’t realise that pets, like people, can get cancer too. There are varying degrees and progressions of cancer, so it is important to know some of the signs to watch out for.
Some of these signs may be indicative of cancer or they may signify other health problems. Regardless, they should always prompt a discussion with your veterinarian.

  • Low energy level or reluctance to exercise. This is often one of the first signs that a pet is not feeling well.
  • Sores that won’t heal. Most superficial sores and wounds heal within a week or so, but if your dog or cat has a wound that just isn’t healing, get it checked out.
  • Weight loss. If your pet is losing weight and you haven’t changed his or her diet, that is something to bring to the attention of your vet. Many cancers can cause dramatic weight loss in pets.
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing. This is a common sign of cancers of the neck or mouth.
  • Coughing or difficulty breathing. Some lung cancers and tumours can manifest in these symptoms. Difficult respiration should always be cause for concern.
  • Offensive odours. if you notice a persistent odour around the mouth, ears or anus, it is time to get that checked out with your vet. Some cancers do cause foul odours.
  • Unexplained discharge. Bleeding can occur for a number of reasons, most of which signal a problem. Unexplained vomiting and diarrhoea are considered abnormal discharges, as well.
  • Sudden Lethargy or Depression. Cancer can cause your pet to seem tired and lethargic. If you notice a significant drop in energy levels, it’s important to bring it to your vets’ attention.
  • Suspicious Lumps or Bumps. If you encounter a lump or bump that you haven’t felt or seen before while petting your pet, it’s probably not a bad idea to get it checked out.
  • Unexplained Pain. If your pet is limping, showing sensitivity toward a certain area of the body or snapping at you when you go near, your pet may be in pain.

The toughest thing about diagnosing cancer is that it manifests in symptoms that are so broad and across the spectrum. We always recommend you to take the cautious approach and speak to your vet even if you simply suspect something is wrong. Through early diagnosis, your vet can refer your pet to a specialist veterinary oncologist who can then prescribe the latest protocol that aims for a positive outcome.