Cancer doesn’t only happen to humans—sadly, this disease afflicts cats and dogs as well. In fact, dogs get cancer at about the same rates that humans do, and cats aren’t far behind. But don’t worry—with treatment, your pet can still live a long, happy life, even with a cancer diagnosis. May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and the vets at East Valley Animal Hospital want to help you learn to recognize the signs of cancer in dogs and cats so you can get your pet the care they need. 

Cancer in Dogs

About 1 out of every 4 dogs will get cancer during their lifetime. Risks increase with age, as 50% of dogs over the age of ten develop cancer. Dogs can get cancer of the skin, mouth, lymph nodes, brain, bones, reproductive system, and any other organs in their bodies. Scheduling regular wellness exams and monitoring your dog for changes in behavior can help to detect cancer while it’s still in its early stages.

Cancer in Cats

About 1 in 5 cats will get some type of cancer, but they can still live long, fulfilling lives. The most common type of cancer in cats is lymphoma, which affects the lymphatic system and blood cells. It’s related to the feline leukemia virus (FeLV), a highly infectious disease. Fortunately, there is a vaccine for FeLV, so make sure to keep your cat up-to-date on their immunizations. 

Symptoms of Cancer in Pets

Cancer symptoms in pets can vary widely, depending on the type of cancer. They can also be difficult to recognize, since dogs and cats typically hide their pain. Watch for lumps and bumps under their skin, pale gums, sores that do not heal, swelling of the face, and sudden changes in weight, as well as behavioral changes like lethargy, loss of appetite, or difficulty eating. 

Diagnostic X-rays for Dogs and Cats

With early detection, your pet’s chances of beating cancer greatly improve. If your pet is showing signs of cancer, we may suggest putting them under anesthesia for further tests. Diagnostic x-rays and ultrasounds help us find cancer in its early stages so we can offer treatment and help your pet recover. 

Cancer Treatment for Dogs and Cats

If your pet gets a cancer diagnosis, don’t despair! They can still live for many years without pain, even if their cancer is in its advanced stages. Besides traditional treatments like chemotherapy, surgery, and medications, there are many holistic treatment options available. East Valley Animal Hospital offers alternative treatments like cold laser therapy and CBD supplements, as well as palliative care for pets with terminal cancer. 

Pet Cancer Awareness Month in Gilbert, Arizona

Cancer in dogs and cats is more common than most people realize. If your beloved pet is showing any signs of pain or unusual behavior, bring them to East Valley Animal Hospital for a full examination. We offer a full range of advanced diagnostic services and cancer treatment options. Get help from vets who truly care—request an appointment online or call us at 480-892-1577.


Photo by Avi Richards on Unsplash used with permission under the Creative Commons license for commercial use 4/26/2022.