The Animal Cancer Foundation (ACF) reports that one in four dogs and one in five cats will develop cancer in their lifetime—in fact, it’s the leading cause of death for dogs over the age of two. And just as with people, the longer your pet lives, the higher their risk of developing some form of the disease.
The most common types of cancer in dogs include lymphoma, mast cell tumors in skin and osteosarcoma (bone cancer). Some of these cancers have subtle symptoms or may appear simply as an enlargement or lump that a pet owner might just attribute to aging. In many cases, those bumps may be a benign lipoma (fatty tumor), but it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
That’s why it’s important that pets have annual wellness checks. For our senior pets, or those over seven years old, twice-yearly exams and annual blood testing and advanced diagnostics (like x-ray and ultrasound) are recommended. This is especially crucial for cats, who are experts at hiding illness but often have more aggressive cancers than dogs. Many types of pet cancers are treatable, but the earlier they’re caught, the better your pet’s chances of a good outcome. The best way to ensure an early diagnosis is x-rays, a service we are proud offer at our hospital as an extension of our goal to be a one-stop shop for all your pet’s needs.