Cancer in Pets

Cancer is a leading cause of disease-related death in older pets. Just as in humans, early detection can make the difference in treatment options and outcomes. Your observations of your pet's behavior and health are important. If you notice any of these signs in your pet, please consult with your veterinarian.

Regular health exams—at least once per year for younger pets and twice per year for pets over 7—can help detect issues while still in the early stages, improving treatment options for your pet.

Do not assume your pet has cancer if they show some of these signs. Symptoms such as bad breath and weight loss can be signs of other health problems, too. That's why it's best to have your pet seen by its veterinarian.

When in doubt, check it out.


Signs to Watch For

  • Swelling or changing lumps or bumps — check your pet once per month
  • Bad breath or bad smell coming from the body
  • Weight loss or gain without diet changes
  • Change in appetite
  • Bleeding or discharge from anywhere on the body
  • Sores that are not healing
  • Difficulty or changes in urination or defecation
  • Loss of energy
  • Lameness or stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing, chewing or swallowing

Updated: 2021-11-10 08:00:00

Author: Oregon Veterinary Medical Association