November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and Animal Medical Clinic is dedicated to educating pet owners about cancer in dogs and cats. Pet cancer affects millions of families each year – about one in every four dogs and one in every five cats will develop cancer in their lifetime.
Most people tend to panic when they hear the word “cancer.” However cancer is not always fatal. There are treatment options for many different types of cancer. We work with a veterinary oncologist to help make the best recommendation for your pet. Some can be cured with surgery. Others can be managed for extended periods of time with medication. Treatment for cancer in pets is less drastic than it is in people because in most cases we are more focused on quality of life than cures.
One key to successful outcomes is early detection and treatment. That is one reason why comprehensive annual preventive care examinations are so important. Although there is no universal “test for cancer,” annual lab work and in some cases x-rays can help us screen for cancer. In between checkups, monitor your pet for lumps. Any lump greater than the size of a pea should be examined and a needle biopsy considered. Even smaller lesions in sensitive locations (e.g. eyelid masses) should be evaluated. Early detection and treatment leads to more effective and less costly outcomes.
This month we will cover a variety of cancer topics that include breeds that are at risk for developing cancer, breast cancer in dogs and cats, top warning signs of cancer and more.