Cancer is an abnormal growth of malignant cells and can virtually affect any part of the body. The abnormal growth can take various forms; often cancer grows into a tumor. Tumors are solid masses of cancerous cells that can spread to other parts of the body. Metastasis (spreading) is one of the main reasons that results in cancer in other organs.
Symptoms of cancer in cats vary according to the type of cancer that the animal is suffering from. However, each type of feline cancer has a certain set of symptoms that are easy to observe:
- Oral cancer - bleeding from the mouth, drooling and difficulty in eating or swallowing
- Lung cancer - difficulty in breathing, rapid breathing and panting
- Cancer in the digestive tract - projectile vomiting, diarrhea, cessation of eating and mucus or blood in feces
- Bone cancer of the limbs - limp in gait or stiffness of legs
- Skin cancer - wounds that appear minor but do not heal over time, a chronic nasal discharge is indicative of cancer in the nasal passage, some skin cancers do not manifest as lumps but as bleeding or scabs
Since there are a number of cancers that can afflict your pet, it is important to be aware of the various symptoms so that you can detect this ailment in time. A keen observation of general symptoms of cancer in dogs and cats can help in early detection and hopefully better results in treatment. Some of these symptoms can be noticed during routine pet care. Any lump in any part of the body that seems to be growing fast and is warm to touch should be investigated immediately.
If you see that your cat’s abdomen is distended, is urinating with difficulty, bleeding without any obvious reason or is giving out offensive body odor, you can suspect a malignant growth developing somewhere in the body. Bleeding from mouth or ears is another sign of a tumor inside the body.
Pale gums, general weakness, reduced appetite and yellow discoloration of the skin are some of the symptoms of liver cancer in dogs
Malignant tumors are life-threatening and the prognosis is grave. Cancer is a progressive disease, and metastasis is a common feature. Many times, detection is late and that leaves very little time for complete elimination of the disease. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are effective, but only to an extent.