Common Cancers in Dogs and Cats
Cancer can strike any organ of your pet's body. The following types of cancer are commonly seen in dogs and cats:
Abdominal cancer may involve any of the abdominal organs such as the spleen, liver, kidneys, and intestines. Abdominal cancers can often be hard to recognize early because the abdomen may mask swollen cancerous organs for a long time.
Bladder cancer has been on the rise in dogs. Dogs with bladder cancer have symptoms such as increased urine urgency and frequency, as well as severe bloody urine. Environmental factors such as cigarette smoke, petroleum, to the inert ingredients in many common flea and tick insecticides have been shown to play a role in pet bladder cancer.
Bone Cancer (Osteosarcoma)
Bone cancer, or osteosarcoma, is common mainly in large and giant breed dogs and much less common in cats. Research has shown that early spaying and neutering (before one year of age) may predispose susceptible dogs to bone cancer. These tumors may appear on the ribs, pelvis, or leg bones. Bone cancer is one of the more aggressive cancers in dogs. Quality of life may be extended by early limb amputation, along with secondary radiation and possible chemotherapy.
Breast cancer (or mammary gland cancer) is another fairly common cancer in dogs, which typically has a 50% malignancy rate in dogs. In cats, breast cancer is malignant 90% of the time. By spaying female dogs and cats before their second heat, the incidence of breast cancer is dramatically reduced.
Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus may affect up to 5% of cats in some locations. While these viruses commonly cause immune suppression and secondary bacterial and viral infections in affected cats, cancer of the blood cells or bone marrow is seen in many other cats as they get older.
Lymphoma (lymphosarcoma) is one of the most common cancers in pets, and may involve the white blood cells, lymph nodes, spleen, intestines, and bone marrow. While genetic factors play a role in dogs with lymphoma, environmental factors such as overvaccination and nutrient-poor commercial pet foods are also believed to be a risk factors in pets.
Oral cancers can be quite malignant and may spread rapidly to your pet's lymph nodes and the lungs. Pets with mouth cancer may have masses along their jaw and tooth line, as well as bleeding from the mouth, excessive salivation, and difficulty eating.
Prostate cancer is another tumor seen more commonly in neutered dogs. Symptoms of prostate cancer will mimic other urinary tract cancer symptoms, such as increased urgency/frequency of urination, and bloody urination.
Testicular cancer is rare in both dogs and cats, but if detected early, neutering is usually curative, since most forms of testicular cancer tend not to spread to other organs.