Pet Health

National Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Nov 1 • 2 minute read

November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month, a month dedicated to educating pet owners on early detection, prevention and treatment for their four-legged companions.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, one in every four dogs will develop cancer in their lifetime, and this increases to 50 percent in dogs over 10 years of age. For cats, the risk of cancer varies between 25 to 35 percent.

 

signs and symptoms:

Pet owners should continually examine their pets for any abnormalities, such as lameness (loss of limb function), discomfort, changes in body composition and/or symmetry, attitude and behavior. Be sure to check for lumps and bumps or any unusual swelling on the pet’s neck, paws, belly/mammary region, and even the mouth, if permitted. If your pet develops any abnormalities, we strongly urge you to schedule an exam with one of our vets, ASAP—as the best chance to cure or control tumors is to diagnose them early and have them treated right away.

common warning signs of cancer in cats and dogs:

  • Persistent or abnormal swelling including palpable lumps/bumps

  • Sores that do not heal

  • Loss of weight and/or loss of appetite

  • Bleeding or abnormal discharge from any body opening

  • Difficulty eating or swallowing

  • Lethargy or loss of stamina

  • Persistent lameness or stiffness

  • Difficulty urinating, defecating, or breathing

prevention:

  • Obtain yearly wellness examinations with one of our vets. Exams that include blood and urine tests can lead to early detection of cancer—even if the dog or cat may not show physical or behavioral symptoms of illness. If cancer is caught early, treatment is less aggressive and more likely to result in remission or a cure.

  • Spay or neuter your pet at an appropriate age, as directed by one of our vets.

  • Keep your pet at a heathy weight and provide nutrient-dense food that includes all the essential minerals and vitamins.

  • Minimize exposure to carcinogens and other toxins. This includes secondhand smoke, pesticides and herbicides, which have been associated with an increased risks of some cancers.

treatment:

Treatment for cancer in pets varies depending on the type of cancer, stage and grade. The most common cancers in dogs are lymphoma, various skin tumors (mast cell tumors and sarcomas), osteosarcoma, melanoma, hemangiosarcoma, and transitional cell carcinoma. In cats, lymphoma is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer. 

It is not uncommon for tumors to require a multimodality approach, which includes some combination of surgery and/or radiation and/or chemotherapy.  

If you have any doubts about the well-being and health of your pet, please reach out to us at 713-987-3237.

 

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