November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and you guessed it -just like humans, pets can get cancer too. In fact, cancer is the leading cause of death in older dogs and cats, so it’s important that we have the best resources available for the prevention and treatment of this disease.
Read on as a local vet talks about National Pet Cancer Awareness Month and things you can do to lower your pet’s risk of getting cancer.
National Pet Cancer Awareness Month – Fast Facts
You’re probably aware that cancer is the second leading cause of death in humans. But did you know it’s also one of the biggest threats to animal welfare? In fact, pet cancer is a serious health concern for pet parents and their furry friends. Pet cancer is the leading cause of death in older cats and dogs—but it can strike younger animals as well.
The American Veterinary Medical Association estimates that about 50 percent of all dogs over 10 years old will develop cancer at some point during their lifetimes. That number increases to 60 percent for cats.
Here are some fast facts about pet cancer to consider:
- 1 in 4 dogs and 1 in 5 cats will develop cancer during their lifetime.
- Cancer is the leading cause of death in older cats and dogs—but it can strike younger animals as well.
- Male pets are at higher risk for certain cancers than female pets (e.g., osteosarcoma, testicular tumors).
- Female pets have higher rates of mammary and uterine cancers than males.
Some dog breeds are more prone to certain cancers than others (e.g., lymphoma in golden retrievers or boxers).
- Oral tumors such as squamous cell carcinoma are on the rise in cats—and often appear more aggressive than similar tumors in dogs.
Help Protect Your Beloved Animal Companions
There are several things you can do to reduce the risk of cancer in your pet:
- Spay or neuter your pet before they reach sexual maturity (usually around six months). This reduces their risk of developing testicular or ovarian tumors, which are common types of cancers in cats and dogs.
- Feed them a diet free from preservatives, additives, and artificial colors/flavors. If you feed your dog or cat commercial food instead of home-prepared meals, read labels carefully!
- Reduce your pet’s risk by avoiding exposure to lawn chemicals, secondhand smoke, insecticides, sunscreen, harmful cleaning products, and toxic food items (such as grapes and raisins).
- Don’t smoke around animals! Secondhand smoke has been linked with many different types of cancer in humans as well as animals alike—including lung tumors in dogs and cats.”
If you have more questions or wish to schedule your pet for a checkup, please don’t hesitate to call us, your local vet anytime!