Author: Haley Gibbs
Each November marks Pet Cancer Awareness Month, making it the best time to learn the signs and symptoms of what cancer can look like in your furry companion and to give some extra love to other pets who are battling cancer.
What to Know
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately one in four dogs at some stage in their life will develop neoplasia, which is the formation or presence of a new, abnormal growth of tissue. Cancer is the leading disease-related cause of death as dogs get cancer at around the same rate that humans do. Almost half of dogs over the age of ten will develop cancer. There is less information about the rate of cancer in cats, but cancers such as lymphoma are actually more common in cats than in dogs.
What to Look For
Just like in humans, cancer symptoms can vary from pet to pet, and can also look like a less-severe health issue. Whenever you notice something different about your dog’s behavior or physical appearance, take them to the vet right away. A vet will review your dog’s medical history and conduct a physical exam and then determine if more tests are needed such as x-rays, blood tests, ultrasound exams, computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or positron emission tomography (PET), to determine a diagnosis and next steps.
Oncology is becoming a fast-growing vet specialty. Oncologists are vets who have received additional training above veterinarian school and will work together with your primary vet to give your four-legged family member the best care.
The American Veterinary Medical Association outlines the below symptoms as potential signs an owner might see in their pet with cancer, including:
- Abdominal swelling
- Bleeding from the mouth, nose or other body openings
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty eating
- Lumps, bumps or discolored skin
- Non-healing wounds
- Persistent diarrhea or vomiting
- Sudden changes in weight
- Unexplained swelling, heat, pain or lameness
- Visible mass and/or tumor
When a diagnosis is received, your pet’s care team will discuss the potential treatment options. Just like cancer in humans, an individualized approach to treatment is the best course of action. Different treatment options can include one or a combination of different therapies such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, cryosurgery, hyperthermia, and immunotherapy.
Ways to Help with Financial Assistance
Unfortunately, many owners don’t have pet insurance, and when faced with this devastating diagnosis, cancer treatment can be very costly. However, there are options for owners as there are many grants, animal hospital charitable funds, and nonprofits that are able to help, including breed-specific dog healthcare funds and condition-specific dog healthcare funds. Owners can ask their vet if they know of any regional-specific charitable funds and grants to look into.
Ways to Give Back
There are a variety of organizations that are dedicated to dog cancer research along with the funds pet owners can qualify for to help offset cancer treatment costs. Most of these funds rely on donations and oftentimes, don’t receive enough. If you’re feeling extra giving this holiday season, consider contacting your local vet hospital or nonprofit to see how you can donate.
While cancer isn’t always preventable in pets, one measure that may help assist in prolonging your pet’s health and wellbeing is by choosing healthy, all-natural foods for them. Natural Farm is an all-natural dog treat company making a variety of chews and treats your dog will love, visit our store page to see our entire collection.
About Natural Farm
In 2018, after years of searching for high-quality, natural dog treat products, we decided to bring them to the market ourselves. That’s how Natural Farm was born—we wanted to present the industry with what it lacked the most: natural dog chews, treats, and bones, sustainably sourced from local suppliers and produced in our own human-grade, FDA- and USDA-approved facilities, where every product is lab tested for quality and contamination.
Natural Farm is committed to pets, people, and the planet. We give back to communities and pets in need, support reforestation efforts and nonprofits, and our products are packaged using only recycled materials.
Click below to view Natural Farm's full range today: