Pet Cancer Awareness Month: What You Should Know About Early Detection at Wesson Animal Clinic
Did you know that approximately 33% of dogs and 20% of cats will develop cancer in their lifetimes? November is pet cancer awareness month. At Wesson Animal Clinic, we like to use the opportunity to help raise awareness about cancer in pets and the importance of early detection.
While veterinary medicine has come a long way, in terms of treating cancer in pets, early detection is still key to fighting cancer, slowing the progression of disease, and effectively managing a pet’s symptoms. As is the case in humans, the earlier cancer is diagnosed and treatment is begun, the greater the chances of recovery.
Be Aware of Cancer Risk Factors
Some pets are more likely to develop cancer than others. For example, not being spayed or neutered, obesity, elderly age, gender, breed, diet, environmental factors, and feline leukemia can all increase a pet’s risk of developing cancer.
Know the Signs of Cancer in Pets
Signs and symptoms of cancer in pets include:
If you notice any of the above-listed symptoms or any other changes to your pet’s behavior, appearance, appetite, or energy level, we recommend scheduling a veterinary examination as soon as possible.
Ask About Early Detection Pet Cancer Screening
While symptoms of cancer can prompt a thorough physical examination, they, in many cases, do not appear until a disease is fairly advanced. As a result, relying solely on the appearance of symptoms can result in a late diagnosis and less effective treatment outcomes.
Advanced cancer screening techniques are now available for dogs that allow us to use a simple blood test or aspiration to look for some of the earliest signs of cancer in pets, and we recommend this screening for pets that belong to high-risk groups. These tests cannot yet diagnose cancer or determine the type of cancer present in a pet, but they can detect early signs of cancer that inform a veterinarian as to whether or not further diagnostic testing is necessary.
In addition to these new cancer screening tests, there are a variety of traditional diagnostic tests that can be used to screen pets for potential signs of cancer such as diagnostic imaging and routine blood work.