Tips & Information

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November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer can strike at any time, but with November being Pet Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a good time to learn how to check your pet for signs of cancer if it’s not already part of your routine. Checking for lumps, bumps, and sores is one way to detect early signs of skin cancer in your dog or cat. 

When examining your dog or cat, use the pads of your fingers to run through the coat right at the level of the skin surface. Separate the coat with both hands as you look for changes in skin colour, sores, and raised areas. Have you noticed any changes in old pigmented coloured spots or freckles?  White and light-skinned pets may be more prone to cancers, especially around the ears and muzzle, which are influenced by sunlight. If you find a change in a lump or the growth of a new mass, it’s time for a trip to your veterinarian. Pets are generally middle-aged to senior when diagnosed with skin cancer.

 

Don’t be surprised if your veterinarian examines every other body part before coming back to the skin evaluation. A complete physical is required to offer the best recommendations possible for your pet. He or she will be looking for other abnormalities that aren’t as obvious to you at home. 

 

Skin lumps, bumps, and sores are relatively common findings in companion animals.  As pet owners, we can do our part to check our cats and dogs regularly for signs of skin cancer simply by giving them the regular hugs, pets, and scratches they love and deserve.  Although many of these skin masses are benign and require no specific treatment, always check with your veterinarian.  Early detection and intervention will go a long way to keeping your pet healthy and happy.

If your pet is showing any of these warning signs, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian:

-Weight loss

-Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
-Persistent lameness or stiffness

-Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow

-Loss of appetite

-Sores that do not heal

-Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

-Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina

-Offensive odour

-Difficulty eating or swallowing

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