November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Pet cancer month

Photo: Chaiyaporn Atakampeewong/

Cancer is a major cause of death in pets. Studies have shown about 1 in 4 dogs (and 1 in 5 cats) will develop cancer during their lifetime reported in The Lead enewsletter (Dogs NSW).

November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month to remind pet owners the importance of keeping their companion animals healthy with annual visits to their veterinarian.  Know the signs of pet cancer and what you can do to reduce the risk of cancer in your cat or dog. Find a veterinary oncologist in Australia. Watch the video on how to check your dog for tumours. 

Signs of pet cancer

Because pets can suffer from many types of cancers, they may exhibit a wide range of signs. However, here are some of the most common cancer indications to look out for:

• Lumps and bumps

• Abnormal discharges

• Abnormal odours

• Non-healing wounds

• Change in appetite

• Weight loss

• Lethargy or depression

• Evidence of pain

• Coughing or difficulty breathing

• Changes in bathroom habits

It is advisable to contact your veterinarian right away if your pet exhibits any of the above symptoms. Find a veterinary oncologist in Australia. 

 Treatment for pet cancer 

Many cancer treatments and therapies for pets do NOT have the same side effects as they do in humans. Pets receive lower dosages, which cause significantly fewer side effects, and most pets tolerate radiation and chemotherapy well. Treatment options depend on the type of cancer your pet has, and may also be done alone or in combination:

• Chemotherapy

• Radiation therapy

• Surgery

• Electrochemotherapy

• Immunotherapy

• Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS)

Pet cancer prevention

While a definitive cause of pet cancer is not known, you can reduce the risk of cancer in your dog with the following tips:

• Schedule annual health check-ups with your vet or more often if your dog is older.

• Frequently examine your dog’s body for any lumps and bumps, and if you find something, contact your vet immediately.

• Ensure your dog maintains a healthy weight.

• Protect your dog from sunburns to prevent melanoma, especially breeds with short fur.

• Reduce risks in the environment, such as pesticides, second hand smoke and cleansers with harsh chemicals.

Dr Ken Wyatt, Perth Veterinary Specialists, shows how to check your dog for tumours in this short video