Pet Cancer Awareness
Published on: November 14, 2017
What to know about pet cancer
More than 12 million dogs and cats will be diagnosed with cancer this year, and cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over age 10. The good news is treatment has evolved tremendously in the past few years and many animal cancers can be dealt with via surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Half are curable if caught early, so familiarize yourself with the symptoms and risks of pet cancer.
Be on the lookout for these symptoms in your companion:
- Lumps or bumps
- A wound that doesn’t heal
- Any kind of swelling
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Abnormal bleeding
- Difficulty eating
- Difficulty breathing
- Sudden weight changes
Keep in mind that many times there are no symptoms so the best protection for your pet is an annual visit to the veterinarian for younger pets and twice a year visits for dogs over the age of seven.
The most common types of pet cancer are breast cancer, lymphoma, mast cell tumors and bone cancer. To arrive at a diagnosis, veterinarians often need to use several types of tests to identify the problem. Blood screens, urinalysis, x-rays, biopsies, ultrasounds and more advanced scans are possible tests to run, so talk with your vet to decide the best course of action.
Some breeds are more prone to cancer than others. Golden Retrievers, boxers, flat-coated retrievers and Bernese Mountain Dogs have higher rates of cancer, so watch for symptoms closely.
What to do
If your companion is diagnosed with cancer, there are several things you can do before you make decisions on which course of action to take. Visit petcancercenter.org or wearethecure.org to gain basic information so you can ask your veterinarian questions. Understand what treatment options are available to you and what the estimated costs are. Don’t feel guilty asking about costs. Option prices vary and you’ll want to know what the financial responsibility is. It may also be worthwhile to schedule a consultation with a veterinary oncologist for best information on the prognosis of your pet. Think about pet quality of life, too. Ask about pain management and follow up treatment.
Pet cancer prevention
According to pets.webmd.com cancer in dogs is often a combination of genetic and environmental influences. There are five actions you can take to reduces your pet’s risk of cancer. They include spaying a dog before her first heat, keep dogs and cats at a healthy weight, provide regular exercise, feed a high quality nutritionally complete diet and reduce exposure to toxins like lawn chemicals, tobacco smoke, flame retardants and household cleaners.
Visit your locally owned Wag N’ Wash to learn about diets that improve the overall health of your pets. Raw diets are often recommended in cancer prevention, so talk to a team member about the raw options that are available. Avoid foods and treats that are high in carbohydrates, corn, wheat, soy and fillers. Wag N’ Wash team members are happy to help you choose food and treats that best suit your companion.