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Cancer in pets is on the rise. For dogs over six years of age, 60 percent will be diagnosed with some form of cancer, and nearly half the deaths of pets more than 10 years old are from cancer. The most common type of cancer in cats is leukemia, and the most common cancers for dogs are lymphoma and mammary gland cancer.

Pet Cancer Facts

  • Cancer accounts for nearly 50% of all disease-related pet deaths each year.
  • Cancer is the #1 natural cause of death in older pets.
  • Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans.
  • Over 60% of the dogs over age 10 will die of cancer.
  • Just like in humans, cancer can occur in virtually any part of your dog’s body.
  • Approximately 1 in 4 dogs develops a tumor of some kind during his lifetime.
  • Common risks of obesity in pets include many forms of cancer.

Common Pet Cancer Warning Signs

This list of early warning signs comes from The American Veterinary Medical Association

  • Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Loss of weight
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  • Offensive odor
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing
  • Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating

Many of these signs are also seen with non-cancerous conditions but still warrant prompt attention by your veterinarian to determine the cause. Cancer is frequently treatable, and early diagnosis will aid your veterinarian in delivering the best care possible.

Dogs and Cancer

What Causes Cancer in Pets?

Cancer in our pets is caused by the same factors as in human cancer. Just as cancer runs in some families, certain breeds of dogs are genetically prone to canine cancer.

Over-Vaccination has been clinically proven to weaken your pet’s immune system, setting the stage for pet cancer. Cats suffer from a specific type of feline cancer named “Vaccine Induced Fibro Sarcoma.” It develops at the vaccine site on your pet’s skin as a direct side effect of over-vaccination.

Initial puppy and kitten vaccinations are necessary, but try to avoid automatically vaccinating every year. Speak with your veterinarian about spreading out the vaccinations and inoculate only those for diseases that are prevalent in your geographical area.

A variety of reports from the EPA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission confirm the hazards of household toxins including lawn fertilizers, detergents, and cleaners. Many veterinarians see a link between environmental toxins and pet cancer. Exposure to chemicals in the environment and even small daily doses of chemical additives and preservatives in their food can build up and cause cancer.

Tumors and Cancer in Dogs

Treatment Options

With treatment advances, pets with cancer have a much better chance of survival than they did just a few years ago. Cancer treatments in pets can be safe, with few or no side effects, and can provide long-lasting or complete remission. The key to successful cancer treatment is an early diagnosis and effective treatment. Too often, a qualified cancer specialist is not available locally, causing you and your local veterinarian to bypass treatment.

The Pet Cancer Foundation, in cooperation with online oncology specialist Oncura Partners, is providing any dog or cat owner in the United States with the opportunity to receive a free initial consultation with a pet oncologist (cancer specialist) for your dog or cat who has cancer.

Orchestrated through your veterinarian, the free consultation will provide you and your vet with current options and best practices for different cancer treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery or any combination of these.