November is observed as National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer being one of the top reasons for the death of cats and dogs in the U.S., this month aims to spread knowledge about cancer in pets so that we can prevent and treat it on time.
Here are a few resources that you should aim to learn about during this National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Let’s do our best to keep our pets healthy.
What Causes Cancer in Pets?
Cancer is an uncontrollable growth of cells that develop into an abnormal mass of tissue known as a tumor. There is no specific cause of cancer, but it is caused by changes in the genetic makeup of the cells. This genetic damage can occur due to a variety of environmental and genetic factors like radiation, chemicals, hormones or infections. Sometimes, aging can also be a cause of cancer, leading to the death of senior pets.
Types of Cancer in Pets
Just like humans, pets are also at a risk of developing different kinds of cancer. Here are some of them:
- Lymphoma (lymph nodes)
- Skin cancer
- Oral cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Splenic cancer (spleen)
- Bone/joint cancer
- Hepatic cancer (liver)
- Thoracic cancer (chest)
- Lung cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Anal sac cancer
- Oral cancer
- Brain cancer
- Spinal cord cancer
Signs and Symptoms of Cancer in Pets
Cancer can occur in all types of pets, including cats and dogs, regardless of their age, breed or size. Therefore, it is imperative to keep your eyes open for the warning signs of cancer, as it can be cured if detected early.
Some of these symptoms are as below:
- Rapid weight loss
- Unusual lumps or swelling
- Loss of appetite
- Bad odor from the mouth or body
- Masses along the jaw line
- Bleeding or discharge from the mouth or other orifices
- Difficulty in eating or swallowing
- Trouble while urinating or defecating
- Reluctance to exercise
- Changes in blood
- Sores that do not heal
Even if your pet doesn’t have any of the above symptoms, November is a good reminder that you should maintain regular vet visits every six months, as a routine check-up can sometimes detect cancer at an initial stage.
Is Cancer Treatable in Pets?
Cancer is a pretty scary disease and its diagnosis can be a shock for pet parents. However, the good news is, the same treatments that are used to treat cancer in humans can be applied to pets by veterinary oncology experts. Here are some of the treatment options:
- Bone Marrow Transplant
- Palliative Radiation Therapy
Things to Do this November
It is our duty to do our best to save our pets from a horrifying disease like cancer. Although cancer can be treated by modern technologies, the trauma of going through the meds and radiation therapies can take a toll on you and your pets. But, spreading awareness may end up saving a life. Watch out for the signs of cancer, take care of your pet’s diet and exercise and encourage pet owners for regular routine vet visits. Also, you can save our pets from suffering by sharing this article with your friends and family to educate them about cancer.
David joined CanadaVetCare in 2013 as a product analyst and veterinary assistant. Being a passionate pet lover and keen animal health researcher, David had always found ways and solutions to help pet parents to improve their pets’ health. He is always happy to answer pet health-related queries and recommending pet parents for the right pet product for their furry companions.