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Cancer is the number one disease-related cause of death for dogs and cats and it’s important that we know the signs and symptoms to detect the disease as early as possible. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), there are signs you can search for to detect cancer as early as possible.
Below are ten common signs and symptoms you should look for in your pet when watching for cancer.
Sign #1: Weight Loss in Dogs
Weight loss is the number one sign of cancer in dogs. You may notice a decrease in your dog’s appetite. There are some dogs who may continue to lose weight even if they are eating their normal amount of food each day. If you notice your dog losing weight whether slowly or quickly a veterinarian must be contacted to determine the cause.
Sign #2: Collapsing on the Floor
If your dog collapses onto the floor or ground, you must contact your veterinarian immediately. This is a common sign of cancer according to Jake Zaiel, DVM, from Malta Animal Hospital in New York State. Not only is collapsing a sign; lethargy and weakness are also common signs of cancer.
Sign #3: Extreme Coughing
If your dog coughs once or twice, don’t panic. If your dog coughs continuously for days on end, this is when you should begin to worry. This is one of the first signs of lung cancer.
Sign #4: Nosebleeds
Nosebleeds aren’t ever a good, normal sign for a dog (especially if your dog is older). With older dogs, there’s a good possibility this could indicate cancer in the nose. Although bleeding from the nose does not necessarily mean cancer, it’s a common sign of cancer of the nose and is worth checking into.
Sign #5: Seizures
Seizures are a sign to watch for. Seizures can be a sign of brain tumors and are typically found in senior dogs.
Sign #6: Lumps and Bumps
Every single lump and bump should be checked by a veterinarian. Dr. Susan Ettinger, writer of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, always says “don’t wait, aspirate.” Lumps and bumps could be noncancerous, but if they are cancerous then you’re more likely to catch it early and fight sooner.
Sign #7: Pain and Discomfort
Pain and Discomfort is a common sign of cancer in dogs. Your dog’s instincts tell her to prevent her from showing any type of pain. If she’s showing any type of pain, call your veterinarian immediately and explain the type of pain or discomfort she is feeling.
Sign #8: Difficulty Swallowing
If your dog has a lump in the neck, she might not be able to swallow her food and that could be leading to ‘lack of appetite.’ You may not be able to feel a lump in her neck, but it could be putting pressure on the esophagus.
Sign #9: Difficulty Breathing
If there is a mass placing pressure on your dog’s respiratory system, this could result in difficulty breathing. You may notice him gasping for air or experiencing sudden shortness of breath.
Sign #10: Discharge from the Nose or Eyes
If you’re noticing a discharge from your dog’s nose and/or eyes, this could be an early sign of a facial tumor or an eye tumor.
It’s important to remember that many cancer symptoms are subtle and commonly go unnoticed until cancer is in its later stages. And, every cancer is different in how it enters your dog’s life. Regular vet visits can help ensure your pet stays healthy and that everything gets checked regularly.
Cancer by the Numbers:
Below are two PetFirst Testimonials that share the stories of our very own policyholders and their furry friends.
“I got Bianca when she was just 8 weeks old. Unfortunately, she has had some medical problems throughout her 3 1/2 years, but a good thing for me I have carried pet first insurance on her since day one.
My vet had been watching a knot on her gums that seemed to be increasing in size. After doing x-rays it was decided she needed to see a specialist and possibly have it removed – knew right away this would not be inexpensive. After meeting with the specialist he advised me that she would need surgery to remove this knot and told me she would need to have a few other teeth removed. He also told me that it looked like she was developing another knot on the other side. He felt like we also needed to test it to be sure it was not cancerous.
Bianca did very well with the surgery and her tests came back negative, which was a big relief! I submitted my claim to PetFirst right away and was happy how quickly I received a check for over $1600. I would have never been able to afford this bill without insurance.
I feel that having pets is a big responsibility and I want to be sure they are well taken care of. That is why I have carried insurance on both my dogs since they were puppies.” – Angie S. PetFirst Policy Holder
“I have a beautiful mixed breed dog, Holly. She is 8-years old and has been with me for the last three years. We recently discovered a mass on her and had it removed. Come to find out it was a mass cell tumor, cancer in our family dog.
Needless to say, we are very fortunate to have found the mass, had it removed and treated Holly as quickly as we did. My claim was processed in a timely manner and Holly is doing great! I was reimbursed more than $350 for Holly’s treatment.” -Ann U. PetFirst Policy Holder
You can view more testimonials that share the stories of many of our policyholders and their beloved pets health stories.
Early detection is key. Of course, we may not be able to discover cancer immediately, but the sooner the cancer is discovered the sooner we can start treating it. Keep an eye on your pet. Pet him or her often to check for lumps or bumps under the skin (especially older dogs).
Visit your veterinarian regularly for checkups to ensure your furry friend is happy and healthy.
A health insurance plan for your dog is the best way to ensure he or she always has access to medical care without breaking the bank.
Cancer is Hard on All
Cancer is scary; let us be there for you. Keep in mind, pre-existing conditions are the number one exclusions for all Pet Insurance companies. A pre-existing condition is any injury, illness, or symptom noticed by you or your veterinarian before your waiting period has ended, even if your pet never went to see the veterinarian for it. Unfortunately, no pet insurance company covers pre-existing conditions. Be sure your pet is covered with pet insurance so that you can keep them happy and healthy throughout their entire life.
The team at PetFirst Pet Insurance loves helping pet parents have the ability to give their pets the best care possible. As a pet parent, you can find the best coverage for your furry friend with PetFirst and our various options that fit your families needs.
Our process is easy and quick. Plus, it’s free to grab a quote.