Sometimes it can be easy to detect cancer in pets, but it depends on the type of cancer, said Peter Perretta, the owner of Yappie Cuttery and Blooms Crossing Animal Hospital. Sometimes owners, groomers and caregivers can find abnormal growths that could be cancerous.
Perretta said that in these cases, X-Rays, biopsies and blood work can help to determine if there is cancer, but it isn't always that easy.
There isn't a specific type of cancer that is common among specific breeds of dogs or cats, but most of the cancers they see at Blooms Crossing are liver, intestinal and lung cancers, Perretta said. In most cases, there are no tell-tale signs, he said.
Owners should monitor their pets behavior. If they become lethargic, suffer from mood changes, stop eating or start having unusual bowel movements, then you should take them to the vet, he said.
Perretta said that treating cancer depends on the severity of the disease and the age of the animal. In some cases, Anesthesia may be used to provide treatment.
“Anesthesia isn't a perfect science,” he said. When older animals are put under, their breathing patterns and hearts have difficulty adjusting to the situation and the likelihood of not awakening from the anesthesia is high. In most cases treatment depends on the patient's quality of life and comfort.
While it's impossible to stop cancers in some animals that are genetically predisposed for the illness, “being healthy makes it easier to treat and makes the chance of remission higher, Perretta said.
Exercising your animal and giving them the right kinds of food can make all the difference, he said. He recommended feeding your pet a good brand of food such as Iams, Nutrimax, Hills, Purina, Science Diet or any type that has proteins mentioned toward the top of the ingredient list.
Perretta said that when it comes to your pet's health, it's best to, “catch it before it's acute.”
He explained that treating a sneeze or a cough is only $60, but when it turns into an upper respiratory infection or pneumonia, it can cost between $800 and $900.