Cancer Care

Unfortunately, humans are not the only species affected by cancer.

It is believed that cancer causes almost 50% of deaths in pets over the age of 10. Some common types of cancers in pets include: skin, breast, head and neck, lymphoma, leukemia, testicular, abdominal, and bone. Examples of cancers commonly found in pets that are also commonly found in humans are lymphoma, melanoma, and osteosarcoma. 

Of the two most common household pets, dogs tend to get cancer at a higher rate than cats. The cancer may be treatable depending on cancer type. Cancer treatment options for dogs and cats are similar to those for humans. Surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy are all considered and will usually result in less side effects in animals than in humans. Veterinarians will tailor treatment dosages to optimize efficacy and minimize side effects.

Cats are susceptible to a variety of cancers.  Among the most common are lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer), mammary cancer, mast cell tumors, oral tumors, fibrosarcoma (soft tissue cancer) , osteosarcoma (bone cancer), respiratory carcinoma, intestinal adenocarcinoma, and pancreatic/liver adenocarcinoma.  The disease has become so prevalent that it is now the most common cause of death in cats.
Certain breeds are more prone to certain cancers than others.  Signs and symptoms differ depending on the type and stage of the cancer.  Detection and diagnosis requires some detective work.  Tumors that are visible and/or detectable by touch are most easily identified.  Our Vets often perform additional tests to make an accurate diagnosis.  Along with a physical exam, they may perform blood and urine tests, cytology, imaging and biopsies.

Treatment options vary and include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy, or a combination of these.  In many cases, cancer can be successfully treated.  Early detection and diagnosis is critical.  Regular visits to the veterinarian can help prevent and manage cancer. Because the causes of cancer in cats are similar to those in humans, risk can be reduced by lowering the animal's exposure to harmful carcinogens, including tobacco smoke


Dogs get a variety of cancer types. The most common is skin cancer,or melanomas. Other common canine cancers include breast cancer, bone cancer, and leukemia. Other types of cancer found in dogs include cancer of the mouth, lymphoma, testicular, breast and abdominal tumors. Osteosarcoma, or bone cancer, is most common in large dog breeds, such as Great Danes, Mastiffs, Labrador Retrievers, and Rottweilers. Cancers in dogs are often very similar to those in humans. Genetic risks for canine cancers can be the same as in the human disease.

Our Southern Animal Hospital and Marion Animal Hospital employ the services of one of Australias leading oncology and internal medicinespecialists, for diagnosing and treating your pet, should they have an unfortunate cancer diagnosis.