Cancer in cats and dogs

Cancer in cats and dogs

What is cancer?

What are the signs and symptoms of cancer in animals?

Why does cancer develop in cats and dogs?

What types of cancer affect animals?

How can we treat cancer?

Is it possible to cure cancer and how?

How does nutrition affect the development of cancer?

Cancer is an epidemic. 40% of cats and 50% of dogs prematurely die of cancer nowadays.

Many people don’t understand that cancer is not only a human disease – it happens to domestic animals too. In fact, cancer is one of the most common causes of death in cats and dogs.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a disease that begins with mutation – division/growth of a bodily cell at abnormal rate. Normally, a cell functions according to its biological processes, i.e. mechanisms. These mechanisms regulate timing of a cell division, growth and maturity – activities that comprise natural cell lifecycle. These mechanisms are damaged in the cancerous cell.

What are the signs and symptoms of cancer in animals?

Veterinarians urge their customers to pay attention to the following symptoms, which may indicate the presence of a cancerous tumor in their animals:

  • Lumps and bumps

Of course, not all lumps that you might notice on the animal indicate cancer. If a lump continues to grow, a veterinarian may investigate it using a biopsy and conclude whether the tumor is malign.

  • Unusual smell

Sometimes unusual bodily odors may be caused by cancerous tumors.

  • Unusual discharge

Blood, puss, vomit, diarrhea, and other similar types of symptoms must be checked by the veterinarian. You should also see the vet immediately if your animal’s stomach appears swollen.

  • Wounds that don’t heal

A cut or a wound that doesn’t heal may be a symptom of infection, skin disease or developing cancer.

  • Weight loss

Weight loss is one of the symptoms of cancer in animals. If your animal suddenly lost weight without a change in the diet and exhibits other abovementioned symptoms, he/she should be checked by the veterinarian.

  • Loss of appetite

Cats and dogs don’t normally loss appetite. This symptom may indicate that your pet is unwell and should be checked by the veterinarian. Cancer may result in development of oral tumors, which may cause difficulty eating and swallowing.

  • Cough and difficulty breathing

Cough or difficulty breathing may by symptoms of heart disease or lung disease, and even cancer. Cancerous growth may spread to lungs, causing these symptoms.

  • Lack of energy and depression

An ill animal may exhibit sudden loss of energy. His or her behavior may change and include more sleep time, less playfulness, unwillingness to go for a walk, etc.

  • Change in toilet habits

If your cat or a dog has difficulty going to the bathroom, or goes too frequently, if you notice blood in urine or stool, you should show your him/her to the veterinarian.

  • Pain

Limping and other signs of pain in animals are often associated with cardiovascular, joint and muscle problems, but may also be symptoms of cancer, specifically, bone cancer.

If you notice one or several of these symptoms in your animal, you should immediately see the veterinarian. These symptoms may not necessarily indicate cancer but may point to other illnesses which can be prevented with timely treatment.

As is the case with humans, early diagnosis may prevent the development of a disease.

What are the causes of cancer in cats and dogs?

There are several physiological, chemical and biological factors that contribute to the development of cancer.

Causes of cancerous tumor development:

  • Repeating physical traumas
  • Harmful effects of toxins on the body
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Radiation
  • Viral infections
  • Parasite infections
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Hormonal imbalance

Does nutrition affect the occurrence of cancer?

Nutrition is the integral part of an animal’s life, so it must be balanced and healthy. As mentioned above, toxins may provoke the development of cancer in pets.

Meat products often contain a large number of carbons and have a tendency to accumulate toxins (pic. 3). You should carefully pay attention to nutrition of your pet.

This video contains an interview with veterinarian Dr. May, where she describes negative effects of toxins on animal bodies. [1]

Dr. P. F. McGargle, a Veterinarian and a former federal meat inspector, believes that feeding slaughterhouse wastes to pet animals increases their chances of getting cancer and other degenerative diseases. [2] He claims, "Those wastes include moldy, rancid or spoiled processed meats, as well as tissues too severely riddled with cancer to be eaten by people." Feeding animals dead or sick animals, whose tissues are already toxic, to live beings increases their chance of succumbing to toxins-related illnesses, such as cancer.

Many poultry farms and farms with livestock intended for the meat industry are in very contaminated areas, which adds toxins to the still living "meat sources". One of the most dangerous toxins found in the environment is lead. Most of the lead comes from bone meal, used as an ingredient in meat-based pet food products.

Meat is a very dirty, toxic product.

The Environmental Working Group conducted a study in 2008, entitled “Polluted Pets”, which tested blood and urine samples from 20 dogs and 37 cats at a Virginian Veterinary Clinic. [3] Researchers found that these animals were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested. These chemicals included heavy metals, plastics, food packaging chemicals, and carcinogens.

In dogs, blood and urine samples were contaminated with 35 chemicals altogether, including 11 carcinogens, 31 chemicals toxic to the reproductive system, and 24 neurotoxins. The carcinogens are of particular concern, since dogs have much higher rates of many kinds of cancer than do people, including 35 times more skin cancer, 4 times more breast tumors, 8 times more bone cancer, and twice the incidence of leukemia, according to the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Center (2008).

The cats’ blood and urine was contaminated with 46 chemicals altogether. These included 25 chemicals (54%) with average levels at least 5 times higher than typical levels in people, and another 18 chemicals (39%) with average levels up to 5 times amounts found in people. Relative to people, cats showed very high levels of methylmercury, a pollutant from coal power plants and a common seafood contaminant.

When we look at these numbers, we see that these animal companions are being overloaded with dangerous chemicals on a daily basis. By giving them plant-based diet, we can help reduce the load of toxins they are ingesting.

Is it possible to cure cancer and how?

The goal of all cancer treatment options is to inhibit the division of tumor cells and their irreversible destruction, that is, prevention of further abnormal cell growth.

Surgical treatment is the most common method of treating cancer in pets and can be very effective if cancer is localized and enough tissue is removed during the procedure.

Chemotherapy is most often used to treat systemic (not local) cancer. Chemotherapeutic agents act by killing cells that divide rapidly, a critical property of most cancer cells.

Sometimes it is necessary to combine both types of treatment to achieve the desired goal.

What can we do to treat cancer?

See the veterinarian immediately. The most important thing to remember is this: the smaller the tumor, the more successful will be the treatment. Do not give up if you find out that your pet has a cancerous tumor. Modern veterinary oncology has developed new and better methods for treating malignant neoplasms in animals.

Balanced, plant-based food is one way to prevent the development and appearance of cancer.


[2] Polluted Pets: High Levels of Toxic Industrial Chemicals Contaminate Cats And Dogs (2008):

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published