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Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Pet Cancer Awareness Month
10/11/2016 Parkvets

November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month

 

According to the Animal Cancer Foundation, 1 in 4 dogs and 1 in 6 cats will be affected by cancer in their lifetime.

 

During Pet Cancer Awareness Month this November, we are trying to generate awareness of pet cancer and the early warning signs to look out for.

Though cancer is most common in pets who are 10+ years old, similarly to humans, cancer can appear at any stage of life. Knowing what signs to look out for can help catch cancer early on.

Skin cancer and lymphoma cancer are two of the most common cancers found in cats & dogs. While your pets can contract a number of different types of cancer, these are the most common and, at times, the most obvious to detect.

When stroking or brushing your pet, if you notice an unusual lump, it is best to get it checked out. It is important to know that testing lumps and bumps on your pet’s skin is not as invasive as you might think. A fine needle sample of the lump will be taken and it requires no sedation and is minimally uncomfortable for your pet. This type of test provides results in 24 hours for your peace of mind. Any hard quick growing lump in a fixed position should be looked at by your vet as soon as possible.

Lymphoma cancer can appear as lumps under the jaw, shoulder bones, and behind the legs of dogs, while in cats it is less obvious. Lymphoma cancer in cats can often be internal. You will notice your cat eating less and losing weight. Because of this, it is important to keep a good record of your cat’s weight. Some dog and cat breeds are predisposed to Lymphoma. Make sure to research common illnesses in the breed you are interested in, so you are fully aware of potential health threats.

Things to look out for:

 

  • Lumps on the skin that can appear as fat bumps or red lumps. (Especially in the mouth or on leg)
  • Sickness or diarrhoea can indicate a tumour
  • Change in breathing or mobility
  • Loss of weight
  • Blood in saliva, urine, or faeces

Be informed. If your pet is diagnosed with cancer, putting them down is not the only option. Surface tumours and surface skin cancer can be removed surgically and chemotherapy can be given. Chemotherapy is not the same with pets as it is with human patients. Cats and dogs do not experience the same level of toxicity when receiving chemo, which means they do not lose their fur during the course of treatment or experience the same amount of sickness as humans do.

It is important to remember that cancer can cause numerous and varied symptoms to appear in your pet. Make sure you don’t miss any early warning signs and bring your pet to see the vet as soon as you recognise any unusual behaviour or growths. Lumps are often ignored if they are not bothering your pet, but it is better to be safe than sorry. Catching cancer as early as possible can help to give your furry best friend a longer and happier life.

Make sure to visit your vet at least twice a year for your pet’s health check and vaccinations to make sure they are happy and healthy.

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