Advancements in veterinary medicine have helped our dogs and cats live longer than ever before. With longer lifespans, however, comes a higher risk for certain diseases like cancer. Approximately 6 million dogs and 6 million cats are diagnosed with cancer each year. November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and the team at Bayside Animal Hospital wants to help you learn more about the disease and what you need to know to protect your pets.
What Is Pet Cancer?
Sometimes cells or tissues grow abnormally. Often these cells are benign and will not affect other cells or spread to other areas of the body. When the cells become malignant, however, they are considered cancerous and grow and spread quickly. Malignant tumors can grow into other tissues and even metastasize to other areas of the body.
Signs and Symptoms of Cancer in Pets
Regular wellness exams allow you to keep a steady hand on your pet’s overall health and wellness, but being able to recognize signs of cancer can help you act quickly. One of the biggest indicators of cancer is rapid and unexplained weight loss. Other symptoms can include:
- Swelling around the abdominal area or other areas of the body
- Frequent bleeding from the mouth or nose
- Trouble eating or breathing
- Skin discolorations
- Lumps or bumps
- Wounds that will not heal
The course of treatment will largely depend on the type and stage of cancer. If your pet is diagnosed with cancer, your veterinarian will perform a detailed physical examination and advanced diagnostics to determine the best course of treatment. Oftentimes, the best treatment is a combination of therapies. Chemotherapy, radiation, and immunotherapy are some of the most recognized cancer therapies in both humans and pets. Sometimes cryosurgery and hyperthermia are effective treatments as well.
Although it is impossible to prevent some kinds of cancer, certain lifestyle changes can decrease your pet’s risk of developing other kinds of cancer. Be sure to:
- Get your pets spayed or neutered
- Keep your pets at a healthy weight
- Do not smoke near your pets
- Limit sun exposure
- Make sure your pet gets regular exercise
Bayside Animal Hospital is here for all your pet’s health needs. From annual wellness checks to surgery and cancer treatment, our dedicated team is here when you need us. Call (916) 791-8387 to schedule an appointment.