Cancer awareness – 12 warning signs

1st May 2017

Cancer can present itself in many forms, and is certainly one of those conditions that all pet owners dread. All too often at Bollington Veterinary Centre we see pets with cancer of the lymph nodes, skin, bones, liver and spleen. Luckily there are lots of things that we can do to help, but early detection is essential to help make treatment as successful as possible.

We thought it would help if we gave you some of the important warning signs to look for to help you monitor your pet’s health.


12 early warning signs of cancer

  1. Lumps and bumps – look for any abnormal swellings that persist or grow. Make sure you have a feel every day. Regular stroking and grooming will help you find lumps, bumps or swelling that could be anywhere on the body.
  2. Wounds that won’t heal – a non-healing skin wound or sore can be a sign of cancer. You might notice your pet licking or nibbling the wound.
  3. Weight loss – cancers can change the way your pet uses energy, so be particularly aware of any unintended weight loss
  4. Loss of appetite – look out for your pet walking away from meals that would normally be enjoyed.
  5. Bleeding – blood loss can occur for a number of reasons, most of which are abnormal. Let us know if you find blood in the mouth, urine or faeces.
  6. Vomiting and diarrhoea – tell us if your pet has persistent or recurring vomiting or diarrhoea.
  7. Unpleasant smells – these are often apparent in tumours in the mouth, nose and ears.
  8. Difficulty eating or swallowing – we come across this if there is pain or swelling in the mouth, nose, throat and neck.
  9. Lethargy – if your pet becomes unusually tired, this could be one of the first signs that your pet is not feeling well. Cancer can make huge demands on an animals' energy reserves, and they will often be extremely sleepy.
  10. Lameness – especially if it persists or doesn’t respond to rest and pain killers.
  11. Breathing difficulty – this can be seen when the animal is sleeping, at rest and especially when trying to exercise.
  12. Coughing – a persistent cough which may be productive, fluidy or dry.


If you notice some of these signs, or are worried that your pet is just not 100%, let us know and we can have a thorough check over. The sooner we know, the more likely we are able to help. Early diagnosis often means better treatment options.


Call us if you are worried

Call us if you are worried > 


Canine cancer facts – did you know?

  • Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over 2 years of age
  • Half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer
  • 50 percent of cancers in dogs are curable – we can use surgery, chemotherapy or radiation to help
  • 25 percent of canine cancers are controlled with drugs to extend and improve the animal’s quality of life
  • Knowing the signs and acting fast will help us cure many more cancers