Early disease screening is critical to keep your pet living longer and healthier. All dogs and cats over 7 years of age should be screened for disease twice a year. Keep an eye out for these warning signs between visits.


Lumps and Bumps


As dogs and cats age, they are prone to developing abnormal tissue growths both above and below the skin. These masses can grow inside a pet’s body, inside his or her mouth, above or below the skin, in mammary tissue, in the bone,  and on or inside organs. Because so many pet owners are used to feeling benign ‘fatty’ tumors on their pet (these feel like someone has placed a piece of firm Jello just beneath your pet’s skin), they tend to be dismissive of all lumps and bumps. This is a big mistake. Any time you feel a new lump on your pet or see a mass of any kind, you should bring your pet in for an evaluation. If the mass is cancerous, early detection and removal is critical to a positive outcome.


Weight Loss


Dramatic weight loss in dogs or cats is almost always a sign of serious disease. Do not wait to bring you pet in for evaluation. Weight loss is a common sign of serious illnesses like cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and glandular disorders. As patients lose weight, they can develop secondary conditions, equally as alarming and just as deleterious. Early diagnosis and treatment is very important.


Weight Gain


Changes to a pet’s weight, either up or down, is a warning sign. Pet’s that grow steadily fatter, may not just be eating more, but experiencing lethargy or joint pain that’s preventing them from getting the exercise they need to burn calories.  Weight gain can also be caused by the build up of fluids in the body caused by tumors or circulatory issues. Like all the warning signs mentioned, if you don’t intervene to stop unhealthy changes to a pet’s weight, you risk leaving the pet open to secondary, additionally serious, health issues.


Increased Thirst


Increased thirst is a prominent sign of kidney disease, diabetes and hyperthyroidism all of which can be managed in the long term if they are diagnosed early. Don’t wait to see a vet if you notice your pet is drinking more water.


Changes in appetite


Pets that begin to crave food more or increasingly turn away from their food may be showing signs of serious illness. A Brookfield veterinarian should evaluate any decrease in appetite that last longer than 3 days and any change in appetite that is accompanied by other signs like diarrhea, vomiting or lethargy. Changes in appetite can be related to cancer, organ disease and glandular problems.




As pet’s age they sleep more, but dramatic changes in energy levels should always be evaluated. Pe’t may be reluctant to move because they are feeling unwell, are in pain, tire quickly, or are tapped out of energy. Do not let unusual lethargy go unchecked for longer than 48 hours.


All Visible Changes Are Significant


All pet owners should watch their pets for changes in eating, drinking, elimination, chewing, running, and general attitude. Typically, visible changes that occur over a period of days or weeks are very significant and should be investigated as soon as possible.


What if My Pet Is Diagnosed With Cancer Or Some Other Disease?


Undoubtedly a diagnosis of cancer or other disease is alarming, but all diseases, if diagnosed early enough, are more likely to be managed affordably, successfully, with less stress to your pet, than if treated at a later stage. Pets that are diagnosed early also have the benefit of fewer days feeling ill and anxious. If you are concerned that your pet is ill, don’t wait. Waiting will only increase your levels of anxiety and allow the existing problem to get worse.   We’ll help you face whatever issues your pet is having and come up with a treatment plan that works for your pet, you, and your life style.

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