Unfortunately, cancer is not strictly a health problem associated with humans: It is a serious pet health concern as well. There are many types of cancer in pets and it occurs due to abnormal cell reproduction or growth. This condition can develop in both cats and dogs and it requires immediate veterinary attention and treatment.
How Cancer Affects Your Pet
What this disease can do to pets depends on many factors including the type of cancer your pet has, how far the condition has progressed and whether or not your pet has received proper treatments. Depending upon what part of the body cancer affects, your pet can experience varying degrees of pain and discomfort. Additionally, there are two kinds of cancer, and they are malignant and benign. Malignant cancer can spread quickly to other areas in your pet's body, which can make it extremely difficult to cure. Benign cancer cannot spread, but it can cause significant damage due to its growth and invasion of surrounding tissues. In many cases, tumors that are created by benign cancer can be surgically removed. However, it is essential that the entire tumor is removed so that it does not return. If your pet has malignant cancer though, even with proper treatment, prognosis is bleak.
Common Symptoms of Cancer
At times, cancer can be difficult to detect in your pet since it cannot tell you about its pain or where it is located. However, there are some common symptoms you can look for. If you notice any of these warning signs, you should take your pet to a veterinarian right away: Abnormal Lumps That Continue to Grow, Lesions That Will Not Heal, Weight Loss, Little or no Appetite, Discharge or Bleeding from Bodily Orifices, Foul Body Odor, Difficulty Eating, Drinking and/or Swallowing, Tiring Easily and Loss of Energy, Varying Degrees of Lameness, Difficulty Breathing, Difficulty Urinating and/or Defecating and Bloody Urine and/or Stools.
Treatments for Cancer
Common treatments for cancer in animals depend on each animal's unique case and can include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hyperthermia, cryosurgery or immunotherapy. The exact treatment that your veterinarian chooses to use for your pet will depend on the type of cancer your pet has, how far it has progressed, your pet's size and its age. Surgery is perhaps the easiest treatment method to recover from and has the least side effects. On the other hand, chemotherapy has many side effects including nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, lethargy and generalized weakness. Additionally, it is sad to note that even with proper treatment; the prognosis for cancer patients is not good.
Cancer can occur in most any breed of dog or cat and at any age. However, there are some animals that may be more vulnerable to the disease than others. These animals are listed below: middle-aged and senior animals, white dogs and cats, animals with family histories of cancer, unaltered animals, animals exposed to excessive sunlight, animals exposed to harmful chemicals and cigarette smoke, animals fed poor diets, Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Shih Tzus, Miniature Schnauzers, Boxers, Beagles, Poodles, Shetland Sheepdogs and any cat that has not had a FeLV Vaccination.
When adding a dog or cat to your family you want to make sure your pet is happy, healthy and protected. During its lifetime your pet is exposed to many illnesses and diseases and some breeds are affected by a congenital disease which is a condition existing at birth. At these moments when your pet is ill or maybe needs surgery, you want to be protected for the unexpected and high veterinarian costs.