World Cancer Day is coming up on February 4th. Cancer is unfortunately very widespread in both people and pets. Roughly 6 million dogs, and a similar number of cats, are diagnosed with cancer each year. A local Bend, OR vet goes over some basic information about pet cancer below.
In a nutshell, cancer is the term for a situation when the body’s immune system is not able to stop malignant cells from multiplying and forming tumors. It is the leading cause of death in dogs, claiming almost 47% of our canine companions. It’s also the cause of death for more than a third of our feline pals. Cancer is more common in senior pets, though it can also afflict younger pets as well. There is no one single cause of cancer: genetics, viruses, hormones, and environmental conditions can all play a role.
Types Of Cancer
Pets can be affected by many different types of cancers. Cancer in pets is often found in the skin, bones, lymphatic system, digestive system, or reproductive system. With kitties, leukemia is the most common type. For dogs, it is lymphoma and mammary gland cancer.
Signs Of Cancer
The signs of cancer vary widely, depending on both the individual pet and the type of cancer. Some red flags are sudden weight changes, vomiting, dull fur, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, respiratory issues, and/or withdrawal. You may also notice lumps or bumps. Any of these things—or anything else that seems off—should warrant an immediate call to the vet.
Speaking of vets, keeping up with your furry buddy’s appointments is very important. Exams and screenings can reveal minor changes that may reveal a developing issue long before your pet shows symptoms.
Now for the good news! Over the past few decades, treatment for cancer in both people and pets have come a long way. In addition to fine-tuning traditional methods, such as chemotherapy and radiation, researchers are finding additional benefits in alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, for instance. If your pet is diagnosed, you don’t necessarily need to choose between traditional and alternative treatments. Many of them complement each other, and work very well together. Of course, treatment options are always done on a case-by-case basis. Ask your vet for more information.
Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Contact us, your Bend, OR pet clinic, today!