By Dr. Alison Book, DACVIM Oncology

As is true for humans, cancer is a common disease in pets. It is estimated that 25% of all dogs and nearly 50% of dogs over 10 will die of cancer. Even before you have had a pet diagnosed with cancer, it pays to be educated about detecting cancer early in your pet. Early detection and timely diagnosis can greatly increase your pet’s treatment options and odds of survival.

It’s never too soon to start! While cancer is typically a disease of older pets, it can happen at any age.

There are many signs that are associated with cancer but that also may occur with other diseases. Be on the lookout for these signs and have them checked out by your veterinarian:

  • Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow.
  • Sores that do not heal.
  • Weight loss or loss of appetite.
  • Bleeding or discharge from any body opening.
  • Offensive odor.
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing.
  • Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina.
  • Persistent limping or stiffness.
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating.
  • Behavior change or seizures.

Adapted from the American Veterinary Medical Association