November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month!

Did you know that cancer is the #1 killer of cats and dogs? This is because cancer strikes them at roughly the same rate it strikes humans, but most animal parents are not informed about canine and feline cancer.

Warnings signs of cancer in your pet may include:

  • abnormal swelling that persists
  • 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, and/or defecating

If you see any of these symptoms in your pet, take him/her to the vet ASAP and request a full examination.

What causes pet cancer?

  • Genetics – Due to improper breeding practices, some dog breeds are more prone to canine cancer. These include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, and Boxers.  If buying a cat or dog, always ask the breeder about the instances of cancer within the line.
  • Over-Vaccination – It has been clinically shown that over-vaccination can actually weaken an animal’s immune system. There is even a specific cancer in cats, which develops at the vaccine site, and is a direct result of over-vaccination. Initial puppy and kitten shots are required, but avoid having them vaccinated for everything every single year. Speak with your vet about spreading the vaccines out and only inoculating for diseases prevalent in your geographic area. You also might want to test your pet’s immunity with a blood titer test before vaccination. This often cannot be done in your vet’s office, so some vets are not familiar with labs that do it. If your vet is not familiar, have them contact Antech Diagnostics (800-872-1001) for more info. You might also want to consult with a holistic vet who is familiar with minimizing the side effects of vaccines after they have been given.
  • Environmental & Food Toxins – Exposure to chemicals,  toxins, and preservative additives in the environment and in pet food can build up within your pet and be carcinogenic (cancer causing). Studies have shown a definite link between toxins in household products and pet cancer. Switch to non-toxic or organic cleaning/household products to cut down on your pet’s chemical exposure. If possible, switch to organic pet food that contains no preservatives. It can be more expensive, but stores or online shops usually have sales and your pet’s health should be worth it. Go to BlueBluff.com to compare dog and cat foods and find out what’s really in the stuff your feeding your pet.
  • Your animal not being spayed or neutered! – Spaying and neutering your animal can reduce and even eliminate their chances of developing certain types of cancer! On top of that, it helps reduce the chances of them reproducing and creating unwanted animals that will contribute to the millions that die in shelters.

My beloved cat and friend, Emy, died of ovarian and breast cancer last year. She was 9 when she was diagnosed. We tried to have her spayed when she was a few years old, but the vet told us she was too old. We believed that vet and did as he said! I have since become informed. An animal is rarely too old to be spayed/neutered, unless they are too weak to make it through the procedure. If Emy had been spayed, she would probably still be here with me today, since her risk of developing ovarian cancer would have been 0%. It is okay to get a second or third opinion from other vets, especially when it comes to diseases or medical procedures! If you have a concern about pet cancer and your vet is not listening, please go somewhere else.

How can you help?
Click HEREto make a donation or purchase pet cancer awareness wristbands, proceeds of which go to the Blue Buffalo Foundation for Cancer Research. The Blue Buffalo Foundation is completely committed to raising funds for the research and education of canine and feline cancer.

If all of this wasn’t enough, here are some shocking facts about pet cancer:

  • Cancer accounts for nearly 50% of all 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.
  • 1 in 4 dogs die of cancer.
  • Over 50% of dogs over age 10 will die of cancer.
  • Cancer can occur in virtually any part of your dog’s body.
  • Approximately 1 in 4 dogs will develop a tumor of some kind in his/her lifetime.
  • The cause of cancer in pets, just as in humans, is largely unknown. (Although, there are links between many of the factors mentioned above, as for human cancer as well.)

All info taken from petcancerawareness.org, the homepage of the Pet Cancer Awareness program, a partner of the Blue Buffalo Foundation.

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