Although it’s a difficult subject to discuss, nearly every person on earth knows someone who has been affected by cancer. It is so difficult on families because of so many different types of cancer, different forms of treatment, and different symptoms. Worst of all, despite great efforts, researchers have still found no cure. Unfortunately, our pets can also get cancer and at about the same rate as humans.
According to Nationwide Pet Insurance, cancer is the #1 disease-related cause of death for dogs in the U.S. and cancer accounts for nearly 50% of deaths in pets over 10 years of age. Treatment can be expensive and it is not widely available. Here are some warning signs that should be reported to your veterinarian:
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Unwillingness to exercise
- Growing lumps or sores that fail to heal
- Drastic changes in appetite or weight
- Unusually strong odors
- Discharge or bleeding
Grafton Animal Hospital wants to help you reduce the risk of cancer in your pet.
- Keep your pet at a healthy weight – if your pet is carrying a couple of extra pounds, ask one of our staff members for tips on shedding that excess weight.
- Spay or Neuter – According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, spaying your dog at any age reduces the risk of mammary tumors 40-60%, and doing that surgery before the pet’s first heat cycle drops that risk to less than 1%. Read more at https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/mammary-tumors.
- Visit your veterinarian twice a year for checkups – Because our pets age so much more quickly than we do, diseases can develop more quickly. The doctors at Grafton Animal Hospital recommend a visit twice a year to give your pet a better chance at avoiding these problems.
- Limit exposure to carcinogens and other toxins – According to Dr. Raiff, veterinarian at Grafton Animal Hospital, our pets can be affected by many of the toxins that affect humans. She noted that cigarette smoke and too much time in the sun can affect pets like it does humans. Of course, any chemicals in your home can affect your pet as well.
If you have any concerns or questions about cancer in pets, be sure to contact any of the knowledgeable staff members at Grafton Animal Hospital at (757) 898-8433.