Putting Attention to Cancer in Pets This November
Cancer is the number one disease-related cause of death for domesticated dogs and cats in the United States. And, it not only takes a heavy emotional and financial toll on pet owners, but all too often, the prognosis isn’t good.
To help pet owners gain a better understanding of the different types of cancers their pets are most prone to, the month of November is named National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Let’s take a deeper look at what that means to you, the concerned pet owner.
When Did National Pet Cancer Awareness Month Start?
National Pet Cancer Awareness Month was started in 2005 by Nationwide® and the Animal Cancer Foundation™ to increase awareness and to raise funds to help combat the leading killer in pets. Like cancer in humans, the prevalence of pet cancers increase year over year. But, advances are being made in the realms of early detection and treatment, giving pet lovers more hope and a variety of different options to fight the disease.
The Most Common Types of Cancer in Pets
Of all of the different types of cancer a dog or cat can develop, skin cancer, or Malignant Skin Neoplasia, is the most common. Other common types of cancers in pets include (listed by prevalence):
- Splenic (Spleen) Cancer
- Bone or Joint Cancer
- Hepatic (Liver) Cancer
- Thoracic (Chest) Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Anal Sac Cancer
- Oral Cancer
- Brain or Spinal Cord Cancer
Tips for Identifying Cancer in a Pet
Cancer is a disease that tends to have a better prognosis the earlier it is diagnosed. So, it is important for pet owners to know what signs to watch for. The most common sign to watch for is growing lumps or sores that fail to heal. Other warning signs for cancer include:
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Weight loss
- Bleeding or other discharge from any body opening
- Severe lethargy
- Unusually strong odors coming from a pet
If you notice one or more of the above signs in your pet, then you should take her to the veterinarian as soon as possible. The earlier your pet can be diagnosed and treatment initiated, the better your pet’s chances at surviving cancer will be.
How to Get Involved
During the month of November, Nationwide plans to donate $5 to the Animal Cancer Foundation, up to $30,000, for every photo, story, or statistic shared by pet owners on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram featuring #CurePetCancer. For more information on National Pet Cancer Awareness Month, visit www.curepetcancer.com.