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FAQS About Cancer In Pets

May 1 2024

May is dedicated to raising awareness about cancer. Dogs and cats in the United States face a significant risk of cancer; in fact, it is the number one cause of disease-related death in pets. Around 25% of dogs and 20% of cats will eventually be diagnosed with this condition. An Ardmore, OK vet answers some key FAQS about this topic below.

What Kinds Of Cancer Do Pets Most Often Get?

Pets can be affected by a wide range of cancer types. Believe it or not, there are more than 30 different types of lymphoma! Although we cannot provide a comprehensive analysis of all the various ones here, we can briefly discuss some of the most commonly encountered ones:  

Mast Cell Tumors These commonly appear on or near the skin’s surface. They can also form on the eyes, mouth, throat, and spine.

Mammary Tumors pets can get breast cancer, just like humans. In fact, many neoplasias are mammary tumors.  Unfortunately, a significant number of mammary tumors are cancerous, indicating their ability to spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs and lymph nodes.

Feline Leukemia (FeLV) Around 2 to 3 percent of cats are affected by the feline leukemia virus, which weakens their immune system and makes them more vulnerable to various viruses and conditions. Luckily, there is a vaccine available. If Fluffy hasn’t been vaccinated yet, discuss scheduling with your veterinarian as soon as possible.  

Osteosarcoma Osteosarcoma primarily impacts the skeletal system and can result in considerable discomfort. Certain dog breeds, like Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Boxers, Irish Wolfhounds, Rottweilers, and Weimaraners, are more likely to get this type of cancer.

Lymphoma Lymphoma affects a specific type of white blood cell known as a lymphocyte, as well as the lymph nodes, bone marrow, and liver. It’s not uncommon in cats. Other illnesses, like feline immunodeficiency and feline leukemia, can play a role in its development. However, there is some good news here: chemotherapy has been very successful in treating feline lymphoma. A recent study revealed that approximately 70% of cats who underwent chemotherapy experienced a successful recovery.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SSC) An oral cancer, SSC causes excessive drooling, unexplained bleeding, and difficulties with eating. Treatment options may involve radiation and chemotherapy.

Fibrosarcoma impacts the soft tissues. Its rate of spread is generally slow, but it has the potential to become quite aggressive.  

Here are a few other cancers that are common in pets:

  • Mastocytoma
  • Melanoma
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Transitional cell carcinoma
  • Anal sac adenocarcinoma
  • Soft-tissue sarcoma
  • Bladder cancer
  • Brain tumors in pets
  • Breast cancer
  • Haemangiosarcoma
  • Stomach cancer
  • Oral melanoma
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Histiocytic sarcoma
  • Papilloma

Ask your vet for more information.

What Are The Main Signs Of Cancer?

There are many different indicators that a pet could have cancer. These include the following

  • Loss Of Appetite
  • Wounds
  • Weight Loss
  • Respiratory Problems
  • Inflammation
  • Discomfort
  • Unusual Breath Odor
  • An Enlarged Abdomen
  • Changes In Bathroom Habits
  • Decreased Energy Levels
  • Mood Swings
  • Difficulties With Eating
  • Limping
  • Unpleasant Odors
  • Bleeding Or Discharge
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Urinary Problems
  • Coughing
  • Straining During Elimination
  • Decreased Stamina
  • Increased Thirst

 It’s also crucial to be aware of any significant changes in behavior. If Fluffy and Fido aren’t feeling well, They might act differently than they usually do. A very loving and affectionate pet may become less sociable, while a more independent one may suddenly crave attention and affection. You might also observe differences in the way your pet communicates.

If you see any of these signs, call your Ardmore, OK vet’s office immediately. Diagnosing an issue as early as possible can significantly impact treatment outcomes.

What Are The Key Differences between Neoplasia, Tumors, and Cancer?

Although they have many things in common, neoplasia, tumors, and cancers are different.

Neoplasia is the term used to describe the abnormal growth of cells, which can be either benign or cancerous. A tumor occurs as the result of cells undergoing abnormal growth. While benign tumors can still be a cause for concern, they usually cannot spread. Cancerous tumors can spread and move to different areas of the body. To put it into very simple terms, cancer is the harmful form of abnormal tissue growth.

What Factors Contribute To The Development Of Cancer In Pets?

Cancer is becoming more common in pets, just like it is in people. This is likely due to increased exposure to substances that are known to cause cancer, such as pesticides, chemicals, secondhand tobacco, and other similar agents. And while there is no clear-cut explanation for pet cancer, it seems that both environmental and genetic factors have a significant impact.

Can Cancer Happen To Some Breeds More Often Than It Does To Others?

Dogs of all breeds and ages can be affected by cancer. However, some puppies may be more vulnerable to potential hazards than others. Some dog breeds are more prone to this than others. Some of the dog breeds on this list are the Bernese Mountain Dog, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Poodle, Beagle, Scottish Terrier, Bulldog, Bull Mastiff, Bouvier des Flandres, Golden Retriever, Rottweiler, Cocker Spaniel, Bichon Frisé, Doberman Pinscher, Boston Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer, and Pug.

If you’re not sure what kind of pet you have, it may be worth considering a doggy DNA test. This information is incredibly valuable for identifying any specific illnesses or diseases that Fido may be prone to.

There is not as much variation in cat physiology based on breed as there is in dogs. Further research is required on feline cancers. That said, Siamese cats do appear to be more prone to them.

What Kinds Of Treatments Are There For A Pet With Cancer?

Similar to humans, pets have three main options for cancer treatment: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Those are the major ones, anyway. Nowadays, there is a diverse range of alternative and/or supplemental options to choose from, including immunotherapy, cryotherapy, hyperthermia, and radioactive Iodine I-131. Another alternative is palliative care, which focuses on ensuring the pet’s comfort rather than aggressively fighting the cancer. Additional treatments that can be beneficial include laser therapy, nutritional therapy, and acupuncture.

It should be noted that these are not universally applicable. The best course of action for your pet is going to depend on their diagnosis. Your veterinarian will give you more detailed information about the options that are available after your pet has been evaluated.

We understand that a cancer diagnosis can be very scary and upsetting. There are several important factors to consider in this situation, including the stage and type of cancer, the cost and duration of treatment, and the impact on your pet’s quality of life. A dog with an early-stage tumor in its leg may have a more positive prognosis compared to a cat with advanced lung cancer. Remember that a diagnosis doesn’t have to be the final chapter for our cherished furry companions. While each pet’s prognosis varies, many of our beloved animal companions can live for several years with proper treatment.

Book An Appointment At Our Ardmore, OK Veterinary Hospital 

Have you observed any of these symptoms in your beloved companion? Are you concerned about the potential for your cherished pet to develop cancer? Get in touch with us today at our Ardmore, OK animal clinic!

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