Cancer in Animals
Just like people animals get a wide variety of cancers. Since all cancers have variable signs and behave differently in every animal, your pet should be brought to your veterinarian if it is showing any problems of any nature. The three common cancers the veterinarians in Markham see in animals are skin cancer, lymph node cancer, and spleen cancer.
Skin cancers vary greatly, from small and benign to malignant with serious additional problems. Of concern is a highly malignant skin cancer called a Mast Cell Tumor (MST). There can be a swelling or mass that comes and goes over several months as the only symptoms. If the veterinarians in Markham find a growth or significant swelling they will perform an aspirate prior to any surgery and look at the cells in the mass for any signs of malignancy or cancer. If this aspirate gives us a good idea that cancer is present, and especially if the skin growth is getting larger or bothering your pet, the veterinarians in Markham will remove it surgically for a definitive diagnosis and to stage it if it comes back malignant.
When we suspect a malignant cancer we remove all of it, in addition to healthy skin below and around it to make sure all of it is removed at the time of surgery. When we send the tissue in for diagnosis the pathologist can let us know if we removed all the cancerous tissue. Once the veterinarians in Markham get this report they decide if further treatment, like radiation or chemotherapy is needed.
Lymph node cancer, called lymphosarcoma or malignant lymphoma, is a common cancer in dogs and cats. It is a cancer of the white bloods cells and lymph nodes, and affects many external and internal organs. Since it can affect many different organs the symptoms are variable, and cats and dogs tend to get different forms and have different causes.
On physical exam some pets will have enlarged external lymph nodes or skin masses. The veterinarians in Markham can diagnose it with a blood panel, checking for viruses in cats, and looking at the white blood cells in all species. This tumor can show up in any organ, so a radiograph and ultrasound are also commonly used in the diagnosis. Treatment ranges from surgery to chemotherapy, and the prognosis tends to be poor for the long term.
A tumor of the spleen, called hemangioma or hemangiosacroma, can also occur in the heart and liver less commonly. Symptoms can be subtle and easy to miss. Typically they might include lethargy, weakness, and weight loss. During an exam the veterinarians in Markham might palpate an enlargement in the abdomen. This is confirmed with radiography and ultrasound. They can even do an ultrasound guided aspirate for more information.
Surgery is the treatment of choice in splenic hemangiosarcoma. These tumors can rupture and cause immediate collapse and even death so surgery should be performed soon after the diagnosis. Chemotherapy is used after surgery in some cases.
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Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham
Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.
Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).
Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.