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Everyone knows that the quicker you find and diagnose cancer, the better chance you have at fighting if off and prolonging your dog’s life. While annual check-ups at the vet are important for bringing your attention to something you may not have been aware of, a year in the fight against cancer is just too long.
Be proactive and look for signs that your dog, regardless of age, may have cancer. Dr. Kelly Ryan, DVM, at the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America and Humane Society of Missouri has 10 warning signs that dog owners should know and watch for.
Canines are susceptible to the same types of cancers as humans, but they can metastasize at a much faster rate. If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.
#1 – Unusual Odors
While “dog breath” is common, if you notice unusually foul odors coming from the mouth, nose or rectal area, it may be due to a tumor.
#2 – Bumps or Lumps On or Under the Skin
Get into the habit of checking your pet’s skin monthly. Don’t forget to check behind ears and around the face. Even if you find a very tiny lump or bump, cancer can grow very quickly. Any new lumps or bumps should not be ignored. If the bumps are bleeding or there is discharge, see a veterinarian immediately.
#3 – Weight Loss
Unless you’ve put your pet on a diet, their weight should remain consistent. Sudden weight loss is a cause for concern.
#4 – Appetite Changes
If your dog has lost interest in meal times, illness is likely the cause. Many health conditions cause appetite loss. Cancer is a very serious one.
#5 – Lethargy
Learn to tell the difference between a lazy dog and a lethargic one. You should know your dog’s personality fairly well. If he doesn’t seem himself and is spending more and more time sleeping, talk to your veterinarian.