No matter how good of care you offer your dog, sometimes they get sick. And, unfortunately, cancer in dogs if fairly common. What can you do If your dog gets cancer?
By some estimates, cancer in dogs occurs in almost half of all dogs over the age of ten. As in humans, cancer in dogs can take many forms. Some of the most common general types are skin cancer, cancer of the lymph nodes (lymphoma), breast cancer and bone cancer.
The symptoms of cancer in dogs are very similar to the symptoms in humans. These can include strange lumps, abnormal bleeding, or wounds or infections that won’t heal. Limping, stool abnormalities and unusual discharges are other symptoms. Occasionally, though, there are almost no symptoms.
Part of the reason that cancer in dogs is more common than in people is because of the breeding of dogs. Dog breeding can cause the amplification of certain undesirable traits, as well as the desirable one. And for some breeds, one of these undesirable traits is cancer in dogs. Golden retrievers and other retriever breeds, as well as boxers, have some of the highest incidences of cancer in dogs.
Unfortunately, there is nothing that will absolutely prevent cancer in dogs. But there are some general guidelines that may help in the long term. First of all, help your pet maintain good overall health. This includes exercise and proper weight management. Also feed your dog well, and pay close attention to the ingredients in your dog’s food. Also keep your animal clean. Poor oral health in dogs has been shown to lead to a host of other health problems. If your dog spends lots of time outside, try not to use chemicals in your yard, such as pesticides and herbicides. Getting your dog spayed before its first heat can also help immensely; the changes in hormonal levels can greatly decrease cancer risk. Lastly, a happy dog is a healthy dog; try to limit the stress in your pet’s life.
Some types of cancer in dogs can be treated surgically, such as some types of skin cancer and breast cancer. Other types of cancer in dogs can be treated by chemotherapy, which is becoming much more widespread. There are also about forty animal treatment centers in the country that offer radiation therapy for cancer in dogs. Across the spectrum of cancer in dogs, the cure rate is currently about sixty percent.
Such treatments for cancer in dogs can get expensive. You may want to consider investing in health coverage for your dog, especially as he or she gets older.
Interestingly, rates of cancer in dogs are rising, but this might partly be because people are taking such good care of their pets. In the past, animals would often get sick or injured and die before they could develop cancer. As dogs are living longer, they are developing cancer in their later years, driving up the overall rates of cancer in dogs.
Cancer in dogs is never the fault of the owner; these diseases are not predictable. However, with early diagnosis, treatment and care, you can offer your pet his or her best chance to someday fetch another ball.