We are designating October as Pet Cancer Awareness month, with the goal of educating pet owners about the detection and treatment of cancer in pets. All pets, regardless of size and breed, are at risk for developing cancer. However, there are certain breeds of dogs that have higher instances of the disease than others.
Certain breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Rottweiler’s, and German shepherds are considered at-risk breeds and have a higher risk of getting cancer. According to the Veterinary Cancer Society, these breeds can have up to a 70-80 percent chance of getting cancer in their lifetime.
Of course, older dogs are more likely to develop diseases such as cancer than younger dogs, just like in people. However, the earlier that cancer is detected, the greater chance there will be of achieving remission.
One goal of Pet Cancer Awareness Month is to inform pet owners of symptoms to look for in their pet. The Veterinary Cancer Society suggests checking your pet regularly for signs such as swollen lymph nodes, sudden weight loss, enlarging lumps, vomiting, diarrhea, and lameness. If your pet displays any of these warning signs, consult with your veterinarian as soon as you can.
If your veterinarian does find cancer, there are various treatment options for most types of the disease. Once we know which type we’re fighting, the various treatment options can be discussed with your veterinarian.
Veterinarians stress that regular preventive care check-ups, at least once a year are key to cancer prevention. A comprehensive physical exam and lab work may reveal problems that were not obvious, such as abdominal masses or leukemia. If suspicious masses are seen, biopsies are usually done to diagnose the cause.
Learning that your beloved pet has cancer is never easy, but discovering it early on ensures a better chance of survival and an increased quality of life. Although October is Pet Cancer Awareness month, we should spread the awareness of cancer’s prevalence amongst our four-legged friends all throughout the year, and be sure to check for signs both at home and schedule regular visits to the veterinarian. If it has been more than a year since we have seen you pet, please call for an appointment today.