Lumps and bumps are a very common occurrence in pets both young and old, but especially in our ageing animals. It’s a serious matter, because one third of all tumours found in our pets are found on the skin. A simple, regular check of your pet’s body once a week may save his/her life.
A tip is to run your fingertips through their coat, starting with the head, back, sides, chest and belly, and then go down each leg. To our pet owners with Staffordshire bull terriers, boxers and bull dogs – these are higher risk breeds, so be diligent! If you feel something unusual, notice a new lump, or notice a lump change in size/shape, we recommend you have it checked by your local VetLove vet. Don’t panic, the lump may not be cancer, but it is worth finding out. Some can be very dangerous and early detection is key.
There are many other types of growths that can appear on your pets. Allergic reactions, insect bites and irritations are just a few of the possibilities. Most lumps and bumps are non-cancerous and can be easily removed, drained, or go away on their own. You should never avoid the vet because of the possibility of hearing bad news. Stay optimistic, we are here to help, and treatment is so much more advanced these days – the sooner you visit, the more likely it will be easier and more affordable to treat.
Cats and dogs get mammary cancer too
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but chances are dog and cat owners have no idea that their pets can get breast cancer too. The bad news is that breast (mammary) cancer in dogs and cats is prevalent; the good news is that the disease can be treated successfully if caught early.
The most common type of tumor in female dogs is the mammary tumor – especially in female dogs that are not desexed between the ages of five to 10 years. Male dogs can also develop breast cancer – sadly, their prognosis is not good because this type of breast cancer is very aggressive.
Signs of breast cancer in dogs and cats
Similar to human breast cancer, mammary tumors in dogs and cats can range in size and appearance.
Breast tumors often grow quickly, with an irregular shape. These malignant tumors can also cause bleeding and ulceration. However, if your pet’s lump does not exhibit these signs, that does not mean your pet is free from breast cancer; small tumors that have been present for a while can suddenly grow aggressively as well. As with most other types of cancer, once malignant tumors in cats and dogs start to grow, the cancerous cells can spread to other parts of the body.
If you find a lump on your cat or dog, it’s best to play it safe and have them examined by your VetLove veterinarian, who will perform a biopsy. Most mammary tumors in dogs and cats are benign, but it’s best to find out for peace of mind.
Breast cancer prevention
The best way to prevent breast cancer in female cats and dogs is to spey them before they go into heat for the first time – just another benefit of desexing. By doing this, cat and dog owners can practically eliminate the chances of their pet developing mammary cancer and many undesirable pet behavioural problems.