- Papp says pets that display prolonged coughs, weight loss, trouble breathing and a lack of energy should be evaluated for lung cancer. Other symptoms may include a lack of appetite or coughing blood. Each of these symptoms could be caused by other conditions. Only a trained veterinarian can conduct the tests needed to determine if the condition is lung cancer or something else.
- A veterinarian must conduct tests to diagnose pet lung cancer. These tests include a full blood work up, a urine analysis, full medical history including the smoking patterns of the owner, X-rays and potentially an abdominal ultrasound. If a mass is located, the veterinarian will conduct a biopsy of the tumor.
- According to Papp, surgery is the primary treatment for lung cancer. If the pet shows cancer in a single section of the lung, that lobe may be removed, halting the progression of the disease. If the cancer is shown to be more widespread, removal of the primary tumors and a follow up of chemotherapy is the treatment of choice. If surgery is not recommended because of the large number of tumors, chemotherapy can be used to prolong the pet's lifespan but is not shown to have a large effect on the lung cancer.
- If lung cancer is caught early in pets, the prognosis is generally good. The removal of the affected lung lobe is typically all that is required to ensure a healthy and high quality of life for the pet. If the condition spreads, the prognosis drastically drops. Widespread lung cancer is a terminal illness with supportive treatments being the only option.
- Keep the air in the home as clean as possible to prevent lung cancer in pets. Dogs that live in urban settings are more prone to lung cancer as are pets who belong to smokers. Providing the pet with clean air either through rural exposure or filtered air is the best method of lung cancer prevention.