From the time I was a child up to my first few years of marriage, my family possessed cats and dogs. Back then, the only time one of our animals saw a veterinarian was to get its annual rabies shot. Our animals passed away for three reasons; old age, hit by a car, or ran away and never came back. Such things as spaying, neutering, teeth cleaning, or periodic wellness exams were never considered. Nowadays, those activities are routine.
At a teeth cleaning for our feline Nora, the Vet found a cyst-like growth on the bottom of the tongue. It was squamous cell carcinoma, a very aggressive cancer. All too often it is not found until the disease has metastasized in the animal’s jawbone, lymph nodes, lungs, and other bones. At that point, life expectancy is reduced to three to six months. Luckily, for Nora, the tumor was very small – it was found early. The animal hospital was able to remove the tumor, in total. The margins were clear. No radiation or chemotherapy was necessary, neither was a feeding tube. Now, a year later, Nora is still cancer free.
Our recommendation – take your animals in for exams, especially where the cat, or dog, is anesthetized so your Vet can get a good look in its mouth. In our case, that is where the cancer began.