With pets living longer than ever, there’s a higher risk of cancer development in old age. But, by knowing the cancer warning signs, you can quickly detect abnormalities and schedule a check-up with us. Our team at Latah Creek Animal Hospital has put together 10 cancer signs to watch for in your pet.


#1: Abnormal or rapidly growing swellings

Swollen lymph nodes, located under the jaw, on the hind legs, or in the armpits and shoulders, can be a sign of lymphoma. Other lumps and bumps that change shape, size, or appearance can be malignant and should be checked.


#2: Difficulty urinating or defecating

Pets can develop tumors in their bladder, urinary tract, intestinal tract, or around their rectum, which can make urinating and defecating difficult. You may also notice straining, decreased elimination, or blood in the urine or stool. 


#3: Sores that do not heal 

Open wounds or sores that do not heal, despite antibiotic therapy, can be a sign of something more serious, such as a cancerous process.


#4: Appetite change

Pets may suddenly eat more or less—generally less—when afflicted with cancer. They may also begin eating unusual items.


#5: Weight change

Your pet may experience weight changes, despite no diet or exercise adjustment. Pets with cancer may also vomit or have diarrhea.


#6: Decreased activity

Pets with cancer feel unwell and, if left untreated, fail to enjoy their daily activities. You may find your pet lying around more, hiding, avoiding playtime, or shunning interaction.


#7: Lameness

Persistent lameness, despite exercise restriction, rest, and pain medication, can indicate osteosarcoma, one of the most common bone cancers affecting pets.


#8: Difficulty eating, swallowing, or breathing

Tumors can form in the digestive or respiratory tracts, making it challenging for food, water, or air to pass large masses. Many cancers also metastasize to the lungs, causing breathing discomfort and inducing coughing.


#9: Bleeding or discharge from body openings

Bleeding is a common sign of cancer and other serious illnesses. 


#10: Unpleasant mouth odor

Oral tumors can create a foul mouth odor, and internal systemic disease can lead to an unpleasant odor. 


Has your furry companion developed one or more of these cancer warning signs? If so, don’t delay—contact us to schedule a comprehensive physical exam for your pet.