We all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but did you know that your pets can get breast cancer too? It is difficult to determine the exact incidence of cancer in our pets because not all pets get the medical testing needed for a definitive cancer diagnosis, this is especially true for cats. The National Canine Cancer Foundation estimates that almost 50% of dogs over the age of 10 will develop cancer and about 25% of all dogs will develop cancer at some point in their lives. Mammary tumors are the most common type of tumors in dogs and 40-50% of these tumors are malignant. Fortunately, complete surgical removal is often curative. But if it is needed, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are both available for our pets too. In fact, almost any type of traditional or alternative treatment available for humans is also available for our pets.
Cancer is simply put an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells on or in the body. This growth may be benign or malignant. It may be localized or it may invade the surrounding tissues and spread throughout the body. Early detection is the key to early diagnosis which is why PetTech TM developed the “Snout-to-Tail” TM Assessment that is taught in all of our Pet CPR, First Aid and Care classes. Our mantra is that there shouldn’t be any part of your pet’s body that you can’t touch.
PetMD lists the Top Ten Signs of Cancer as:
10. Lumps & bumps
8. Abnormal discharge
7. Non-healing wounds
6. Weight loss
5. Change in appetite
4. Coughing or difficulty breathing
3. Lethargy or depression
2. Changes in bathroom habits
1. Evidence of pain
So if you notice any of these signs, please schedule a visit to your veterinarian right away. A thorough examination and possibly a few lab tests could possibly save your pet’s life!