Animals Get Cancer Too
Just like people, pets can get cancer. Many of the same types of cancer affect both humans and animals, but there are also some animal-specific types of cancer. At Riverview Animal Clinic, we are prepared to examine your pet and answer any questions that you might have about cancer in animals.
How is cancer diagnosed?
As with other diseases, cancer can often be diagnosed with a good physical exam and bloodwork but more specialized tests may be required. X-rays (‘radiographs’) and/or ultrasound may help with the diagnosis. If these tests are not conclusive, a sample of tissue may need to be collected and submitted to a pathology laboratory for further diagnostics. Depending on the location of the cancer, the tissue may be collected from a superficial location using just a small biopsy probe or may be collected using ultrasound. However, in other instances surgery may be required for sample collection.
What are some signs that my pet might have cancer?
Cancer can mimic many diseases so you should definitely not assume that your pet has cancer if he or she has any of the signs listed here but these signs may be due to cancer in some animals. Signs: fast growing, ulcerated or hard lumps or nodules; unexplained weight loss; loss of appetite; diarrhea; vomiting; pale mucous membranes; swollen abdomen; lameness; and many other abnormalities. See us at Riverview Animal Clinic if our pet has any abnormal signs that concern you.
What treatments are available for cancer?
Some types of cancer can be controlled using surgical removal of tumors, some respond to common therapeutic drugs and some require both surgery and drugs for control. Some types of cancer may require more advanced care, like chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and we can refer you to the oncology team at Washington State University for advanced treatment.
For more information on cancer in animals, including guidelines on when to choose cancer treatment for your pet, contact us at Riverview Animal Clinic (509-758-5022) or you can visit the oncology page at Washington State University at http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/deptsOncology/owners/