Just Labradors banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered Users
Joined
·
10,466 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Something too many of us have had to deal with unfortunately. :frown:

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, a time to spread awareness of the symptoms of cancer in dogs and cats. As cancer is the leading cause of death in cats and dogs, knowing the symptoms your pets may present if they develop the disease can help you and your vet diagnose and treat your pet sooner. In order to help you protect your pet’s health, petMD.com has pulled together the top 10 warning signs of cancer in dogs and cats.

1. Lumps and Bumps: Not every lump or bump is necessarily cancerous, but consulting with your vet is the only way to be sure. If the lump is growing or not resolving itself, contact your vet and he or she will do a biopsy to determine the contents of the bump.

2. Abnormal Odors: Foul odors from any of your cat or dog’s orifices and/or body parts may be a cause for concern. Cancers of the mouth, nose, or anal regions can cause your pet to emit offensive odors.

3. Abnormal Discharges: Discharges such as blood, pus, vomit, diarrhea, and any other abnormal substance being excreted from your pet’s body should be checked out by a veterinarian immediately. A bloated or distended stomach could also be a sign of internal discharge.

4. Non-Healing Wounds: Lacerations or sores that do not heal within a normal time range on the surface of your cat or dog’s body may indicate infection, skin disease, and possibly cancer.

5. Weight Loss: Sudden weight loss in cats and dogs not on a diet can be an indicator of many diseases and illnesses. If coupled with another warning sign of cancer, you should contact your vet right away and inform him or her about your pet’s symptoms.

6. Change in Appetite: While a lack of appetite in dogs and cats can be an indicator of many things, they never stop eating without a cause. Not necessarily a sign of cancer, a decrease in appetite can indicate an oral tumor, which would make it painful and difficult for your pet to eat and swallow.

7. Coughing or Difficulty Breathing: Although symptoms of heart and lung disease, coughing and abnormal breathing can also indicate cancer. This symptom will most likely occur if the cancer in your pet’s body has metastasized into his or her lungs.

8. Lethargy and Depression: If your pet has cancer, there is a chance that he or she will suffer from depression and sleep more, become less playful, and be less willing to go for walks. Although lethargy or depression in dogs and cats can set in with any illness, it is commonly seen in pets that have cancer.

9. Changes in Bathroom Habits: Any changes in your pet’s bathroom habits including difficulty using the bathroom, frequent bathroom use, and blood in urine or stools are potential warning signs that cancer has developed in your pet.

10. Evidence of Pain: Limping or other evidence of your dog or cat in pain when he or she is active, or if the pain is too great for them to be active, can be indications of cancer of the bone.

While no one sign purely indicates cancer, a cat or dog displaying two or more of these symptoms should be taken to the veterinarian for an exam so that he or she can be properly diagnosed and treated accordingly, because early detection can make all of the difference in the case of a positive diagnosis.

Top 10 Warning Signs of Cancer in Dogs and Cats | Life With Dogs
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,926 Posts
Thanks for posting that Garth. Maybe it could be stickied in health?.

I know things have changed over the 7 years since I lost Kass to jaw cancer, but neither my vet nor I had any idea she was displaying classic cancer symptoms. Who would expect a 2 year old dog to have them? We forget cancer doesn't care about the age of those it visits.
 

·
Registered Users
Joined
·
10,466 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Numbers 5 & 6 were especially true of Holly. Her loss of appetite is well documented here. Poor girl also lost weight while the vet was trying to work out WTH was wrong with her. Oddly enough considering it was a tumor on the lung that killed her, in hindsight she should have been showing the symptoms of #7 but she didn't.

When Jo died from cancer of the spleen, the only thing that alerted me to the fact something was wrong was when he stopped eating for the 1st time in 14 years. I took him to the vet the next day & the rest is history. :frown:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,483 Posts
Great idea!

With Fanny, she stopped putting her weight on her leg but only occassionally, then when the vet saw her she put it down to her HD. Six months later, she was diagnosed with bone cancer. Fanny never gave any other indication of pain and to this day I kick myself for not pushing the vet for a better exam.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,695 Posts
Thanks Garth. Two of my last 3 labs have had cancer. Nellie is the only survivor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
max started losing muscle mass, his backbone began to be noticeable and his ribs started to show. We thought it was due to exercising him more (I was trying to get in shape and both dogs went with me on longer walks/runs). Also, his back legs became very shaky after walks or getting into the car, etc. So we upped his food and number of meals, and cut way back on his exercise. When that didn't put weight on we knew something was wrong. We hoped it was diabetes or something but it was tumors in stomach and liver.
I read an article on a vet site that animals bodies will compensate for the cancer or illness so much that you don't even know they are ill until it is pretty much too late. Suddenly the body can't compensate and then they just go down hill. Max was thinner and shaky but he took off running around the yard and wanted to get his ball and go for walks until about a week before they found the tumor, then he just seemed tired and frail. Could not have done anything at that point anyway so glad he lived life pretty much normally right up til the last. He lived 6 days after they found the tumor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,926 Posts
Maybe if we share out experience it also helps. We have to remeber not all things other dogs have will be cancer. If worried see your vet.

Kassa started when I would notice a little blood on sticks. As a 2 year old healthy dog we put it down to scratching the gum.Then the gum began to bleed fromm time to time. The vet did surgery thinking she had something stuck in the gum. It became worse and her breath smelt revolting.All the blood tests showed nothing, she looked amazing, ate like a horse, had energy to burn and seemed fine except for the gum and the awful smell on her breath.

She was sent to the vet hopsital for a week. On arrival they agreed she was too healthy looking for it to be anything. Xrays showed something not right and after testing the biopsy 3 times I was told Osteosarcoma of the jaw.

To the day she died she bounced around looking healthy, and shiny as any young Lab should. Towards the end she had trouble eating and this is when I let her go with dignity before the cancer ruined her beautiful face.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
Thanks for posting this!

I wanted to add that over the years 3 out of my 4 dogs have had cancerous lumps removed from their bodies (back, neck and toe). 2 of the dogs died at the ripe old age of 15 of unrelated causes and the 3rd lumpy dog is still going strong. If you see a lump on your dog's skin, the trick is to get them off as fast s possible so that they don't have time to spread! Cancer is not necessarily a death sentence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
240 Posts
Thanks for posting this!

I wanted to add that over the years 3 out of my 4 dogs have had cancerous lumps removed from their bodies (back, neck and toe). 2 of the dogs died at the ripe old age of 15 of unrelated causes and the 3rd lumpy dog is still going strong. If you see a lump on your dog's skin, the trick is to get them off as fast s possible so that they don't have time to spread! Cancer is not necessarily a death sentence.
I agree.
I have HORRIBLE guilt because of this exact thing.

My boy Jack got a small baby pea sized lump on his left leg in 2008. I did the right thing and went to the vet to ask about it. The vet said it was nothing, dogs get lumps.

2010, new vet, so I asked again. The tiny lump had not changed at all, and Jack was handsome and healthy. New vet said same thing, nothing but a lump, dogs get lumps.

I HATE that phrase... "Dogs get lumps".... "Dogs get bumps" Hate it with a passion!

2012 March - The lump changed sizes in a matter of a week. Pea sized, to dime size, to a golf ball in about a week.
It was malignant melanoma.

He lost his battle June 30th, 2012.

It's my fault.
I should have insisted on checking out the lump back in 2008. Had we removed it, I would still have my Jack.
The guilt is something I am having a very hard time dealing with. I feel like I did this to him.
I was his human, I was supposed to protect him. I did everything else, shots, preventatives, he didn't do without anything.

I feel like a failed him.
I'll never forgive myself for that.

Jack – Angel Session » McGraw Photography Blog
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,926 Posts
Spiritifilly I am sorry. It is so sad you experienced this. You did the best you could with the information you had.


It is a reminder for all of us to get them checked. Not all lumps are serious, but we need to make sure.I run my hands over Erns every night.

I was in a panic when I found Erns first one. He grows them like weeds and I can't remeber the last time I mentioned them to the vet. So much else going on with him. Tonight I will make a drawing of him and mark each one down. One of his doubled in size in a few days so worrried me. Some can be in places we can't feel them until they get bigger and pop out. This is what Erns were.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
THANK YOU so much for posting this. I only wish I had found this sooner. I also want to share my story - if nothing else maybe it will help someone else's pup.

I'm in much the same boat as spiritedfilly115. My Nala had a toenail injury that just wouldn't heal. She limped around with a bloody foot for over a year and a half. I lost count of how many times we went back to the vet (and took a few trips to the emergency hospital). The vet just kept prescribing antibiotics and telling me that it would take a while to heal. After a year and a half the vet finally did surgery on the toe - essentially "declawing" that toe and amputating the first digit. It still didn't heal.

Six months before Nala died I found a lump on her side. The vet said it was nothing. Three months after that she started eating ravenously but never gained weight. A month before she died I found a huge mass on her shoulder (vet said it was nothing) and a hard lump on her leg (vet said it was nothing). Nala then stopped eating and was extremely lethargic. I was in tears telling my vet that my dog "just wasn't herself." I knew something was wrong, but I just didn't know what. I didn't know cancer warning signs. I really just thought she was depressed and lethargic because of her foot. My vet sent her home (again) with antibiotics. At that point I was desperate enough to get a second opinion. The new vet immediately x-rayed her shoulder, which also showed the tops of her lungs. That's when we saw the tumors. Dozens of masses (the largest was 5 cm) in her lungs. She was so far gone there was nothing to be done. He gently advised me to put her to sleep, but also knew I wasn't ready. He sent us home with pain meds, advice for making her comfortable, and his cell number. Nala died five days later. By that point all her bones were showing, she was disoriented (getting stuck in corners & getting lost in the house), and had resting tremors. When she had a massive seizure with convulsions I knew it was time to let her go. She died peacefully in my arms at the new vet's clinic.

My guilt centers around the old vet. I knew I was unhappy with her, but I trusted her because she is a doctor. It never occurred to me that someone who is supposed to care for animals could be as bad as she was. It wasn't until I met the new vet that I realized how loving, gentle, and thorough a vet COULD be. We had been going to the old vet for eight years, and Nala had her first REAL physical with the new vet. Had I switched years ago a new vet might have seen Nala's symptoms for what they were. Maybe Nala could have been helped long ago. At the very least maybe she wouldn't have spent the last year and a half of her life depressed and in pain. Ultimately I failed my dog. That guilt will ALWAYS be with me.

My goal for sharing this story is this: trust your instincts, not your vet. YOU know your dog. If you see changes or have nagging suspicions, take your pup to the vet asap. If your vet dismisses your worries then get a second opinion. If your vet isn't phenomenal then find a new one. Don't settle for second-rate care just because you have a history with a vet (like I did). I can't change what happened with Nala, but I can learn from my mistakes.

Thank you for reading this!
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top