It’s scary to think that our dogs are susceptible to the same cancers that humans do. Cancer starts when cells (internal or external parts of the body) grow too rapidly and get out of control, and as a result, invade its surrounding tissue. Just like humans, the cells can be localised (in one area) or generalised (spread throughout the body).
Dogs often get cancer at about the same rate as humans, accounting for nearly half of animal deaths, especially among pets older than 10 years of age. Malignant lymphomas (lymph node tumours), skin cancer (mast cell tumours), bone cancer, and breast cancer (mammary gland tumours) are very common in elderly furkids.
Look Out For...
Some of the more common symptoms would include:
• Abnormal swelling that grows continuously
• Sores that are not healing
• Sudden loss of appetite
• Weight loss
• Bleeding or discharge from openings in the body
• Strong and offensive odour
• Difficulty ingesting or swallowing
• Loss of stamina
• Hesitation or lethargy when exercising
• Constant stiffness or lameness
• Difficulty breathing and eliminating
Here are some steps you can take to help Fido:
• Spaying or Neutering
This might be one of the biggest preventive measures for female pups. Try scheduling her surgery as late as possible, but prior to her first heat cycle—this will help reduce the probability of mammary cancer development by almost eight-fold!
• A Healthy Diet
The cancer rate in dogs has grown significantly along with the advancement of the commercial dog food industry. Choosing the right, premium, and high-quality food for Fido is essential in helping prevent canine cancer. Do ensure that you know where the food has been made from, preferably from America or Canada—and not China, where regulations and quality control are low.
• Avoid Exposing Fido To Pollutants
Canine cancer is not an illness that your furkid can possibly contract from the environment or another animal because it’s something that grows from inside his body. Thus, it would be best if any form of stress is not inflicted on your furkid by limiting his exposure to pollutants like second-hand cigarette smoke, chemicals, household cleansers, and fumes.
• Early Diagnosis & Treatment
Although cancer prevention is difficult due to the unknown causes of this disease, paw-rents have to be alert enough to spot symptoms early and get treatment as soon as possible to avoid the severity of this disease.
Annual veterinary examinations and blood tests are a good way to identify cancers swiftly –by the time symptoms are obvious to you, cancer might be difficult to treat.
* The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified pet health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Always make a pet health care decision in partnership with a qualified veterinary or pet health care professional.
*This article was updated on 23 Jul 2020. It first appeared in PetsMagazine.com on 16 Jan 2017.