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Symptoms of a Tumor

When It Comes to Treating Cancer, the Rule of Thumb Is "The Earlier, The Better"

It is always a difficult task to inform pet owners that their cat or dog has a tumor. It makes it easier if the mass is small since the earlier a tumor is detected, the better the odds that we can remove it completely or administer treatment that can rid the pet of cancer. However, its treatability depends on the type, size, and location of the mass, as well as how early it is detected. This is why if you ever feel a lump or swelling on your furry companion, you may be doing him or her a life-saving favor by scheduling a veterinarian appointment at Bridges Professional Park Animal Hospital in Morehead City.

Step 1: Start Early and Keep it Up

The key to self-detection, so to speak, is to get your pet accustomed to a daily round of petting from day one. In the majority of cases, not only will the animal respond with enthusiasm, she may remind you if you don't keep up your part on any given day. By establishing this habit, you will be familiarizing yourself with the healthy contours of her body so that you can immediately spot an abnormal mass forming. Special areas to concentrate on are the foot, chest, and neck.

Step 2: Pay Attention to the Signs of a Tumor Your Pet May Be Exhibiting

In some cases, your dog or cat will give you clues that something has changed. For example, he may start licking his foot almost obsessively. This can be an indication that a tumor is forming. It also helps to be mindful of everyday things like putting on a collar or harness before a walk. If your dog has a mass on his chest or neck, he may flinch or resist. Don't ignore it.

Step 3: Sit Down with Our Veterinarian and Consider the Treatment Options

When you hear the words cancer, your mind is likely to spin, and your emotions overwhelm you. However, it's important to sit down with our veterinarian, listen to your treatment options, and ask questions. Some of our clients find it helpful to bring a pen and pad of paper, so they can write the information down for review when they're feeling calmer. It can also be helpful to bring a friend who cares, but is not as emotionally invested as you are.

In most cases, we will recommend one of the following:

  • Surgery is the path we will take in a case where the tumor is localized and has not metastasized (spread to other areas).
  • Chemotherapy is our line of attack if the tumor has metastasized, or if the cancer is a blood cancer like lymphoma or leukemia. This treatment option involves administering toxic drugs to damage or destroy cancer cells. The good news is dogs and cats can better tolerate the side effects than we humans can.
  • Radiation Therapy is used if the tumor cannot be entirely removed surgically. It involves using precisely targeted radiation to destroy or shrink tumors. Radiation can also be used prior to surgery in order to shrink the mass to a to reduce the invasiveness of the surgery, or post-surgery to finish the removal process. It can also be used in conjunction with, or instead of chemo.
  • Palliative care is an option our veterinarian may discuss if she determines that the cancer will not respond to any of the above types of treatment. This involves prescribing pain management drugs that will make life more comfortable for your pet and improve his quality of life

We're Here for You in Morehead City

Know that you and your beloved pet are not alone in this battle. Many other pet guardians are waging the same war. But remember — you have an advantage! You have our veterinarian and the entire Bridges Professional Park Animal Hospital staff as your allies every step of the way. Give us a call at 252-247-5595 to learn more.

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Morehead City Office


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7:30 am-6:00 pm


7:30 am-6:00 pm


7:30 am-6:00 pm


7:30 am-6:00 pm


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Read What Our Clients Say

    Dr. Marci and the staff at Bridges have taken amazing care of my boys (who are not easy to work with I might add). They treat us like royalty and I wouldn’t trust my babies with anyone else. They are amazing, always so sweet, caring, and understanding. I just can’t thank them enough for keeping my sweet babies happy and healthy.

    MOLLY S.

    Doctor Roxanne Taylor is the best most Professional Veterinarian. For the past 30 years she has been their for us and our dogs. She has the most loving caring heart of any Veterinarian I have ever met. Thank You Doc. Taylor for all you do! Ronnie & Debbie Ennis


    truly kind and caring doctor and staff. they honestly love animals and and put their patients above everything. I had to lay my dog down, it was a horrible time, and the doctor cared enough to make sure i got her paw print, some of her hair, and her ashes. Then i got a card in the mail from the vet herself that was heartfelt, they are not in it for the money, but for their love of animals.

    GERRI R.

    I’ve been taking my birds and dogs to Dr. Taylor and her staff for a very long time – one of my cockatiels is 22 years old (they're only supposed to reach 12!) In healthy times, sickness and emergencies, the folks at Bridges have been there for me with compassion and excellent care. They are such a part of the community and are always active in animal rescue events, rabies clinics, and any opportunity to support animal welfare. These folks care like family.

    RITA E.

    I have a very high regard for Dr. Taylor and her staff. They take great care of my pets, and during a recent emergency, I was really impressed by Dr. Taylor’s tenacious, detail-oriented diagnostics and resulting treatment recommendations. Bridges is also the vet for Siamese Cat Rescue efforts in this area. I love the staff. They are so willing to work with us and they really support our efforts in caring for these amazing creatures and helping find them safe and loving homes.


    Dr. Roxanne Taylor is a great, caring vet. I breed, raise and show champion Doberman Pinschers and Dr. Taylor has been my vet for 18 years. She is beyond caring; I can site thousands of incidents. She is very thorough; her motto is ‘let’s find out, let’s be sure.’ Her staff, oh my gosh, they know who you are when you call, are so personable and do everything to make the animals feel at home. They are accessible, honest and truly love what they do. I couldn’t imagine finding better vete


    Oh I love Roxanne! The best way I can describe my experience with her is total trust. She is honest, deeply compassionate and not afraid to refer you to a specialist when it’s in the best interest of the animal. She snatched one of my Yorkies from the grave twice within his first two years of life! And when my sister and I lost our Poodles, she was so comforting. Our dogs just wag their tails like crazy when they see her; that’s a testimonial in itself!

    THEDA “FAY” S.

    I have a lot of confidence in Dr. Taylor and her practice. They go to extraordinary lengths to help animals . . . and their people! Before I moved here from New Jersey, I brought my dog to Dr. Taylor whenever I visited my daughter. It was a long way to travel to see the vet, but she helped me bring an abused very scared animal to health. She is very upfront and helps me make good decisions for my pets with complete information. I’m very pleased with the service I’ve gotten at Bridges Animal


    Dr. Taylor has been treating our dogs for more than 20 years. We breed show dogs and therapy dogs and are very particular. The folks at Bridges are gentle, kind and have never let us down. We have complete confidence in them and wouldn’t go anyplace else. We are really lucky to get to work with them.


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