Pets are just as susceptible to cancer as humans – and they can be diagnosed with the same types of cancer as us. In fact, cancer is the number one disease-related cause of death in older cats and dogs.
To help pet owners gain a better understanding of this disease, November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Here at Westfield Veterinary Group, we believe the more you know about pet cancer and the available treatment options, the better it is for you and your fur baby.
National Pet Cancer Awareness Month is Not the Only Time of the Year to Examine Your Pet
As with many diseases, finding and diagnosing cancer early on can make all the difference in the world to your four-legged family member. We encourage all young and adult pets to visit either our Union or Westfield location annually for a full checkup. For older, senior pets, we recommend an examination every six months. By finding a cancerous lump or bump in the early stages, it increases the chances of a full recovery. Likewise, it’s recommended that you examine your pet monthly – like monthly breast exams, to be alerted to any changes in their skin or any new growths.
If you find a lump or bump on your pet that is larger than a pea and has been there for longer than a month, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
The Most Common Types of Pet Cancer
There are various types of cancer found in cats and dogs, with skin cancer, or Malignant Skin Neoplasia, being the most common. Other types include:
- Anal gland tumors
- Bladder cancer
- Soft-tissue sarcoma
- Gastrointestinal cancers
- Thyroid cancer
- Bone or joint cancer
- Oral cancer
Warning Signs of Pet Cancer
Besides visiting your veterinarian regularly, it’s essential to be observant to changes in your pet’s physical appearance and behavior.
Here are the top 10 warning signs of cancer according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA):
- Abdominal swelling
- Bleeding from the mouth, nose, or other body openings
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty eating
- Lumps, bumps, or discolored skin
- Non-healing wounds
- Persistent diarrhea or vomiting
- Sudden changes in weight
- Unexplained swelling, heat, pain, or lameness
- Visible mass/tumor
Treating Pet Cancer at Westfield Veterinary Group
When a pet is diagnosed with cancer, we understand that the diagnosis can be devastating. The first thing we want all pet parents to know is that cancer can be treated – and with limited side effects in many cases.
Through our partnership with Private Veterinary Specialties LLC, we can offer on-site medical oncology services. M.J. Hamilton, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology), is a board-certified veterinary oncologist that brings years of experience in pet cancer care right to WVG. His mobile services allow our patients and their families to stay at our practice while receiving specialist care.
Oncology services include:
- Education and support
- Radiation therapy consultations
- Quality of life enhancements
- Multi-modality treatment protocols
- Pain management and palliative care
During your consultation, Dr. Hamilton will review your pet’s prognosis, treatment options, and provide a customized treatment plan.
If you are concerned about cancer in your pet, please give us a call at (908) 232-1048. At this time, Dr. Hamilton is available every Wednesday at our Westfield location.