What You Must Know about Cancer in Dogs & Cats

December 15, 2015

Did you know that an estimated 6 million dogs and 6 million cats will be diagnosed with cancer this year? That is a frightening statistic!  According to the Veterinary Cancer Society, cancer is the leading cause of death in 47% of dogs and especially in senior dogs. Dogs contract cancer at about the same rate as humans, while cats get fewer malignancies. Some dog breeds have a higher tendency to develop cancer at a younger age but mostly, it is the older animal affected.

With over 100 types of cancer in animals, just about any part of the dog’s body could be involved but most common in dogs are lymphoma and mammary gland cancers.. Leukemia is the most common in cats.

There is good news in the face of such depressing statistics. Because of advanced training of veterinary professionals, new treatment options, and more awareness about pet cancers, many more pets survive bouts of the disease. So, how can you reduce your pet’s odds of getting cancer?

Spay or neuter your pet.  Spaying a female dog or cat reduces or eliminates the chances of an animal contracting mammary cancer. Early neutering of a male dog or cat avoids testicular cancer.

Feed your pet a healthy diet. Good nutrition is the foundation for a healthy animal. If you want to learn more about what your dog or cat should eat, click on the BARKS & MEOWS page at the top of this website.

Exercise your pet. Daily walks are the bare minimum required. Larger animals need more.

Talk to your vet about  decreasing the number of vaccines your pet receives annually. Some experts now believe that over-vaccinating of some medications can contribute to certain cancers. Your vet can use titers to test for levels of protection against the diseases for which vaccines are intended, so that your pet is not over-vaccinated.

Control your pet’s exposure to sunlight. Dogs or cats with short hair and areas on any animal with no fur, such as the lips, nose, and insides of the ears are at great risk for skin cancer. Animals with white fur are also susceptible. Keep your pet indoors or in shady yards in warmer weather. Slather your dog with sunscreen for prolonged periods in the sun.


Top 10 Signs of Cancer in Pets

10.  Lumps and bumps
9.  Abnormal offensive odors in mouth or ears
8.  Abnormal discharges (blood, pus, vomiting, diarrhea
7.   Non-healing wounds
6.   Unexplained or sudden weight loss
5.   Appetite changes
4.   Coughing or difficulty breathing
3.   Lethargy or depression
2.   Changes in bathroom habits
1.   Evidence of pain


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