Pet Cancer Awareness Month: What You Need to Know

November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month and is designed to help make pet owners aware of the fact that their pets are at risk of developing cancer. It’s also a time to donate to pet cancer research in order to advance the science of treating cancer and helping pets live their best lives. Following is a look at the different types of pet cancer, signs that your pet has developed cancer, and when it’s time to bring your pet to your veterinarian in Bend.

Common Cancers in Dogs and Cats

It’s estimated that one out of every four dogs will develop a type of cancer known as neoplasia, and almost half of all dogs over the age of 10 will develop a form of cancer. Cats can also develop neoplasia, but at a much lower frequency than dogs. The most common type of cancer in cats is leukemia, lymphoma, the digestive system and in the mammary glands. Both cats and dogs can develop a type of brain tumor known as meningioma. Glioma, another type of brain tumor, is almost as common as meningioma.

Why Pets Develop Cancer

The reasons why pets develop cancer are many. Sometimes the cause is viral, sometimes it’s environmental, and sometimes it’s due to something going wrong in your pet’s cellular reproductive system. Certain breeds of dogs, known as brachycephalic, are more prone to developing brain tumors than dogs with longer snouts. Brachycephalic breeds include pugs and boxers.

Can Pet Cancer Be Avoided?

Cats can be vaccinated against some cancers, but a vaccine for cancer in dogs hasn’t reached the market yet. However, the risk of reproductive cancers can be eliminated by getting your pets spayed and neutered at an early age. The best plan of action to reduce the risk of cancer in your pets is to bring them to Blue Sky Vet Clinic for regular exams that look for signs of cancer and other pet illnesses.

Signs a Pet Has Cancer

The signs of cancer can be difficult to identify due to the fact cancer can affect any and all parts of an animal’s body. However, there are some visual signs that a pet has cancer or may be suffering from an internal tumor. Some of the signs include:

  • Abnormal swelling that doesn’t stop growing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss for no reason
  • Lesions or sores that won’t heal and weep
  • Pale gums
  • Shallow breathing
  • Bad breath

If you notice that your pet isn’t acting like their normal selves, you should make an appointment with the veterinarian as soon as possible for an examination.

Senior Pets and Cancer

Veterinarians have noted that most pets develop cancer with age. The link between age and cancer is not known to date, but the chances of your cat or dog developing cancer increase as they age. Bringing your pet in for regular checkups at your veterinarian in Bend can help you and your pet get on top of cancer at an early stage. The sooner cancer is detected and treatment started, the better the odds of survival are for your pet.