November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. This awareness event was started by Nationwide and the Animal Cancer Foundation back in 2005, in the hopes of raising both money for and awareness of fighting pet cancer. Cancer is the leading disease-related cause of death for domestic pets. A veterinarian discusses cancer in pets in this article from Fairfield Animal Hospital, your Cy-Fair, TX pet clinic.
Any pet can develop cancer, and at any stage of their life. About half of dogs over the age of ten develop cancer. (This is very close to the percentage of humans that develop cancer.) While there’s less data on cancer on cats, it is unfortunately also fairly common in our feline pals. Fluffy and Fido can develop several different types of cancer. These include lymphoma, lymphoma, splenic cancer, bladder cancer, anal sac cancer, cancers of the bones and/or joints, liver cancer, chest cancer, oral cancer, and brain cancers.
There’s no one single cause of cancer in pets. Many types seem to arise from gene mutations that take place over the course of a pet’s lifetime. As with people, exposure to various toxic substances, such as smoke or chemicals, can increase the risks. Breed may also play a role. Some pups, such as Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds, are more prone to developing certain cancers than others. It’s also worth noting that some types of cancer, such as lymphoma, are more common in cats than in dogs.
Different types of cancers present different warning signs. It really depends on the pet, the type of cancer present, and how far and fast the disease has spread. That said, there are some red flags to watch for. Some of these include weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, reduced appetite and/or trouble eating, stiffness, lethargy, respiratory issues, increased thirst/urination, swelling, masses, and reduced interest in play. Contact your vet right away if you notice any of these in your pet. While some cancers are, unfortunately, extremely dangerous and aggressive, others often respond well to treatment. In any case, the sooner the issue is diagnosed, the better.
Spreading The Word
Want to make a difference? One way to help is simply by sharing posts on social media. Use the hashtag #petcancerawareness.
Please contact us at Fairfield Animal Hospital, your Cy-Fair, TX pet clinic, anytime. We’re always here to help!