By Terry Orr
For as far back as I can remember, our families have always had pets. On the farm there we cats in the barn (tending to the mice); dogs that help with some of the chores and notified us when someone was visiting; and a wide variety of other creatures. Those of us who lived in the city or suburbs had dogs and cats as primary pet – but also had hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, and other interesting pets.
It wasn’t until Pat and I got our Siamese cats (Bambi and Thumper) in the late 70’s that we became aware of cancer in our pets. We lost Thumper to a stroke and Bambi to cancer. A few years later – we lost two other cats to cancer – Lady and Tramp. Each of these cats for the most part had long and healthy lives and not forgotten.
Cancer is a disease that all too commonly affects our pets. While no animal is immune from this disease, there are some things that you can to do lessen your pet’s chances of developing cancer (Source: Plum Street Pet Clinic Blog).
- Provide good nutrition and weight management for your pet. Overweight animals and people are at an increased risk of developing cancer.
- Know your pet’s risk factors. If you have a purebred pet, be sure you know what types of cancer are most common in the breed and what signs to watch out for.
- Spay or neuter your pet. It is never too late, and spaying/neutering has been shown to prevent or reduce the risk of certain types of cancer including breast cancer.
- Try to keep your pet “clean.” Do not expose your animal to pesticides, herbicides, asbestos, or cigarette smoke. For that matter, don’t expose yourself, either!
- Keep up on wellness visits. Make sure your pet comes to see us at least once a year to help catch problems early in process.
According to WebMD - Cancer and diabetes are two important diseases the veterinarians at The Animal Medical Center treat every day.
According to VPI, a pet insurance company, their top ten insurance claims for pet cancer treatment include tumors we veterinary oncologists commonly treat.
- Lymphoma or lymph sarcoma
- Malignant skin cancer
- Splenic cancer
- Bone or joint cancer
- Liver caner
- Chest cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Brain of spinal cord cancer
- Mouth cancer
- Cancer of the cells lining the inside of the chest and abdomen
10 Common Signs of Cancer in Small Animals according to Veterinary Cancer Society (VCS):
- Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow.
- Sores that do not heal.
- Weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Bleeding or discharge from anybody opening.
- Offensive odor
- Difficulty eating or swallowing
- Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
- Persistent lameness or stiffness
- Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating
So fellow pet owners, please ensure your Pet gets their annual check-up!
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