Cancer In Pets

Cancer in pets is very common. In fact, it is the leading cause of death in pets that are over tens years old. Cancer cells are tissues masses, or neoplasia, that have grown abnormally. They are resistant to the bodies’ normal mechanisms to fight against abnormalities that occur in the body. Since, people have been providing better care of their animals, cancer in pets is usually seen in older the older ones. It is unknown why cancer occurs but facts show that dogs are twice as likely to get cancer than their human companions while cats are half as likely.

Early detection and treatment is needed to stop the growth of abnormal tissue masses. The diagnosis of cancer in pets is usually given after by a veterinarian based on the animal’s history. The family pet will then be given blood tests, x-rays and an ultrasound and a physical exam. In addition, a biopsy is also given where a tissue sample is taken from the animal and examined under a microscope. Based on the results, a formal diagnosis will be given and treatment can begin. Sometimes the mass of cells will be benign which means that the condition is not life threatening. Other times, the neoplasia will be malignant which means the condition can spread rapidly.

Cancer in pets can be treated in numerous ways. The pet’s veterinarian can discuss treatment options with family members. These usually include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, freezing or heating the cancer or the use of immunotherapy. The pet’s veterinarian can also discuss methods for making the animal more comfortable while it is undergoing treatment and provide diet options that will make the animal respond better to treatment. In some cases, depending on the form of cancer, euthanasia is used. However, the veterinarian can thoroughly discuss all options before making that decision.

There are diffent types of cancers in pets that can develop. Skin cancer, bone cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, breast cancer, testicle cancer and head and neck cancer are commonly diagnosed in older pets. Each type of cancer will require a different form of treatment so it is important to discuss recovery with the pet’s veterinarian. Signs of cancer in animals include abnormal swelling, weight loss, loss of appetite, offensive body odors, bleeding and discharge, loss of energy, difficulty breathing and trouble with holding in bowel movements and urination.

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)