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National Pet Cancer Awareness Month


Covering Everything You Need To Know About Pet Cancer, Why It Happens, How To Prevent It, And The Holiday That Raises Awareness About It

Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in both dogs and cats according to the professionals at 1800PetMeds. Cancer is unforgiving, doesn’t discriminate, incurable, and treatment is often painful. The month of November is celebrated as National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. The goal of this month-long holiday is to raise awareness about pet cancer and educate pet owners about it. While cancer isn’t 100% avoidable, there are certain lifestyle choices you can make to lower the odds of your pets getting cancer. This article will go over what cancer is, how pets can get it, how to lower their chances of getting it, and the holiday that raises awareness about it. 

Full Disclosure & Sources

Full disclosure, ParaMount Pet Care is not a medical or veterinary related institution. The information presented in this article comes from professional sources including the American Veterinary Medical Association and VCA Animal Hospitals. The purpose of this article is to educate pet owners about pet cancers and the dangers they impose. 

Cancer definition

Cancer definition

Cancer Defined

The National Cancer Institute defines cancer as a genetic disease in which some of the body’s cells grow uncontrollably and spread to other parts of the body. Normally, cells go through a process called cell division where they grow & multiply in order to form new cells where the body needs them. However, this orderly process can sometimes break down and damaged or abnormal cells can multiply when they shouldn’t. These damaged or abnormal cells form tumors (lumps of tissue). 

These tumors can be cancerous or not cancerous. Cancerous tumors will spread to nearby tissues and can travel to distant parts of the body, thus creating new tumors. Both human and pets’ bodies naturally eliminate damaged or abnormal cells before they become cancerous. However, the body’s ability to do so diminishes with age. As a result, the odds of getting cancer go up as pets and people age. 

Illustration of cancer

Illustration of cancer

How Pets Develop Cancer

Even today there is still a great deal about cancer that we don’t fully understand. This includes why some people and pets get cancer in the first place. There are many different factors that contribute to why a pet might develop cancer. One of which is genetics. Some studies show that having a family history of cancer can make you more susceptible to developing the same cancer. This is because the damaged or abnormal gene was most likely passed on to the offspring. 

Additionally, another factor that contributes to pets developing cancer is exposure. This includes exposure to harmful environmental substances like ultraviolet rays from the sun or high radiation levels. Also, environmental chemicals can lead to cancer as well. These include things like asbestos, benzene, arsenic, radon, vinyl chloride, and trichloroethylene. For more information about chemical and environmental hazards that can cause cancer, click here

Early Signs Of Cancer In Pets

You can potentially save your pets life from cancer if you discover the disease during the early stages. But, you need to know what to look for.  Although some cancers can be discovered through blood work, more obvious signs are changes in your pets activities or behavior. A few examples of what to look for include, unexplained weight loss, lack of appetite, sores that don’t heal, pale gums, lack of stamina or desire to exercise, abnormal swelling such as lumps or bumps, and difficulty breathing, swallowing, urinating, or defecating. Although these symptoms don’t always mean your pet has cancer, they are definitely warning signs that something is wrong with your pet and you should have them examined by your veterinarian.  

Dog & cat at the veterinarian

Dog & cat at the veterinarian

How To Prevent Cancer In Pets

As previously mentioned, the body naturally eliminates damaged or abnormal cells. However, if left unchecked, these damaged or abnormal cells can turn cancerous and then begin to spread to other parts of the body. This results in the body beginning to break down and not function properly. Once cancer hits vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and brain, the ultimate end result is death.

Although there is no cure for cancer, it can usually be treated if you can catch it early enough. There are typically ways of treating and removing cancerous tumors before they spread out of control. That’s why routine veterinary checkups are so important! Having your pet examined by your veterinarian at least once a year or every six months is essential to stopping cancer before it gets out of hand. To learn more about cancer causes, prevention, and treatment, go to the National Cancer Institute website. 

Looking For A Pet Sitter?

Do you or someone you know need a pet sitter? Then look no further than ParaMount Pet Care! We are the leading pet care professionals in the Luzerne County area. All of our sitters are insured, bonded, trained in pet CPR & first aid, and dedicated to caring for your pets. We offer a wide variety of pet sitting services such as in-home pet sitting, routine dog walking, overnight stays, and more! Click here to see all of our services! Click here to become a client today or give us a call at 570-814-1037. We look forward to hearing from you soon!