November 16, 2021
Pet cancer is one of the most common causes of death for pets in America. According to MedVet, 1 in 4 dogs and 1 in 5 cats will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetimes and it is the number one disease-related cause of death for pets. November is National Pet Cancer Awareness month and we’d like to make you more informed about pet cancer and treatment.
COMMON PET CANCER SYMPTOMS
Unfortunately, many cancer symptoms are also signs of other illnesses. It’s always best to start with a trip to your vet.
- Bad odor from mouth or body
- Blood in urine or bleeding from any body opening
- Change in behavior
- Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of stamina or reluctance to exercise
- Lumps that persist or continue to grow
- Sores that do not heal
- Unexplained weight loss
Your Vet Thinks It Might Be Cancer
If your Vet believes it may be cancer, they will likely refer you to a Veterinary Oncologist. Always be sure the Oncologist is board-certified. If your Vet does not know one, you can find one on the Veterinary Cancer Society webpage. Thankfully, there are several different approaches to treating cancer and if caught early enough, prospects are good that your pet will live a long life with a high quality of living.
Your Oncologist will likely recommend a combination of treatments, depending on the type and stage your pet’s cancer is at. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! This is a difficult moment for any pet owner family and the more informed you are, the better you’ll feel.
Prevention can be difficult. Genetics play a large role in cancer development. So does age. However, there are a few things you can actively do to reduce their risk.
- Same as humans, exposure to secondhand smoke can increase their risk.
- Avoid Pesticides / Fertilizer / Chemicals
- Often accidentally ingested from paw licking. Avoid treated lawns and household chemicals
- Routine Preventative Vet Visits
- Cancer caught early is the easiest to treat.
No two cancer situations are alike!
While scary, remember that every pet’s situation is unique. And, many types of cancer are treatable. Don’t fall prey to online misinformation (we have all gone down the WebMD rabbit hole…). Your best source will always be your vet. Take your time, ask questions. Bring a notebook! You’ll feel more informed and better able to make the proper decisions for you and your family.
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Brock Casper is the Southwest Region Team Manager for Rover-Time. He’s been part of the RT team for over two years. He lives in Cleveland with his partner, Laurel, dog Loki, and cat Coltrane.
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