Can Pets with Cancer Survive? Here Are Treatment Options You Can Consider

Aside from pet vaccinations (see dog vaccinations in Windsor), pet owners should always look for ways to keep their animal companions as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, some pets will still develop cancer even with the best care.

Remember that if your pet is diagnosed with cancer, there are treatment options available and that cancer diagnosis doesn’t always mean death.

What Is Cancer in Pets?

Cancer in pets is the abnormal growth of cells in the body. Cancer can develop in any type of tissue in pets, including bone, skin, muscle, fat, blood vessels, and organs. Similar to humans, the cause of cancer in pets is unknown, but it is believed that genetics, lifestyle, diet, and environment may all play a role.

That’s why veterinary routine exams are necessary to check for any early signs of cancer. If caught early, many cancer can be treated successfully.

Most Common Types of Cancer in Pets

Different types of cancer can affect pets. Some of the most common include:

  • Skin cancer: These are the most common type of cancer in dogs and cats. They often appear as growths or lumps on the skin and can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).
  • Lymphoma: It is a blood cancer type that affects the lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. It is the most common type of cancer in cats and one of the most common types in dogs.
  • Bone cancer: This is a kind of cancer that develops in the cells of the bones. It is most common among larger breeds of dogs.
  • Mast cell tumors: Mast cell tumors are the most common type of skin cancer in dogs. They develop from mast cells, a type of white blood cell.

Signs of Cancer in Pets

The signs and symptoms of cancer in animals depend on the type and location of the cancer. Some common signs include:

  • Lumps or masses that are visible on the body
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty eating or drinking
  • Panting or difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in behavior

As a pet owner, it is critical to make an appointment with your veterinarian right away if you see some of these signs. Only a professional can determine if your pet has cancer and what type.

Most Common Treatment Options for Cancer in Pets


This is typically the first line of treatment for cancer in pets. It can be used to remove tumors or growths and is often combined with other treatments, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Radiation therapy

Radiation for dogs and cats uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. It is often used in combination with surgery and/or chemotherapy.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is typically given as an injection or pill and can be used alone or in combination with other treatments.

Targeted therapy

Targeted therapy is a more recent treatment option that uses drugs to target specific genes, proteins, or the environment around the cancer cells. It helps to kill the cancer cells while sparing normal cells.


Immunotherapy is a targeted therapy that boosts the immune system’s ability to fight cancer.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is a treatment that relieves symptoms but doesn’t cure the cancer. It is often used to improve the quality of life for pets with terminal cancer. For example, it can help with pain management to make your pet more comfortable.

Final Thoughts

A diagnosis of cancer in your animal companion can be scary, but it is important to note that there are treatment options available. If you think they may have cancer, make an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. Keep in mind that early detection is key to successful treatment.

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