May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month! Cancer is a silent killer that has touched all of our lives in one way or another and it really takes a toll on everyone involved, from patients to caregivers. We take as many preventative measures as we can to avoid cancer, but what about protecting our cats as well? 

More than 6 million cats are diagnosed with cancer each year. In addition, most cancers seen in cats are much more aggressive than those seen in dogs, so early detection and treatment are essential to their chance of recovery. Since our cats can't tell us when something is wrong, it is up to us to monitor our furry family members to make sure that they are healthy and receive prompt care when needed.

 

SYMPTOMS TO LOOK FOR 

According to the Drake Center for Veterinary Care, symptoms of cancer to look for include, but are not limited to:

  • Lumps or abnormal swelling that persists/continues to grow
  • Sores that don't heal, even when treated with antibiotics
  • Loss of appetite and ultimate weight loss
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing
  • Bleeding and/or discharge from any body opening
  • Offensive oral odor 
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Difficulty using the restroom or breathing 
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea 

 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

There are a number of ways that you can both reduce your cat's risk of getting cancer and increase their chances of beating cancer if it can't be avoided. These easy steps include, but are not limited to: 

  • Vaccinate your cat against the feline leukemia virus
  • Spaying or neutering your cat
  • Minimizing excessive sun exposure
  • Keeping your cat at a healthy weight
  • Quitting smoking
  • Avoiding your cat's exposure to toxins
  • Regularly checking your cat for symptoms 
  • Taking your cat to the vet for regular checkups 

 

Keeping our cats healthy, happy, and cancer-free is at the top of all of our priority lists, year-round. However, there is no better time than Pet Cancer Awareness Month to take these couple of extra steps to ensure your cat's health for many years to come!

 

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