Do you know that 12 million cats and dogs are diagnosed with cancer every year? That means millions of pet owners are faced with difficult decisions around their treatment.
Cancer is the number one disease-related cause of death for dogs in the United States and accounts for almost half of the deaths in pets that are 10 years or older. Approximately 1 in 4 dogs and 1 in 5 cats will develop cancer during their lifetime, which is approximately the same rate as humans. However, it’s not a done deal—cancer in dogs and cats is treatable, and proper care can mean that your pet stays with you for many years to come.
The American Veterinary Medical Association says that early detection can help tremendously in cancer treatment. Look for abnormal swellings or lumps, sores that do not heal, weight loss/loss of appetite and difficulty eating, a strange or offensive odor, bleeding or discharge from any part of the body, lameness, stiffness, loss of stamina, as well as difficulty breathing or using the bathroom.
Here are the top five most common pet cancers:
- Lymphosarcoma / Lymphoma – A cancer occurring in the white blood cells that affects the immune system. Symptoms can include tumors, lethargy, weight loss, and loss of appetite. Chemotherapy is the most common dog lymphoma
- Skin Cancer – Cancer of the skin, usually from sun exposure, but can be from a variety of sources. A universal symptom of skin cancer is a raised mass or lesion on the skin. Treatment varies, but usually surgery is required to remove the lesion, as well as chemotherapy.
- Osteosarcoma – Also known as Bone Cancer, this cancer is harder to spot. More common in large dog breeds, symptoms include swelling, lameness, joint pain, and loss of appetite. Chemotherapy is the best treatment and in some cases, amputation is necessary.
- Mammary Gland Tumors – This is most common type of both benign and malignant tumors in dogs. The tumors can range in size, and surgery is usually required to remove all masses.
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas – The term “soft tissue” means it can be in any of the following: fat, lymph nodes, blood vessels, nervous tissue, muscle, and joints. Symptoms truly depend on the tumor’s location. Treatment includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Giving your pet a healthy lifestyle, one with a good diet and a lot of exercise, can go a long way towards keeping your pet cancer-free. Regular checkups will ensure that even if your pet does get cancer, it can be spotted early.
While cancer isn’t the end of the world—it’s entirely possible to treat it when it’s caught early—it’s definitely a stressful situation for both you and your pet. What’s important is that you work with your veterinarian to go through the options for treatment and provide support to your pet as best you can.
Our Pet Nannies at Pet Nanny Inc are ready and waiting to help you and your pet adjust to a cancer-prevention lifestyle. Follow us on our social media accounts or give us a call at 734-981-6108. Alternatively, you can use our on-line contact form and we’ll get in touch with you!