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Pet Cancer Awareness Month

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Discussing The Facts About The Terrible Disease Known As Cancer

Full disclosure, ParaMount Pet Care is not a medical or veterinary related institution and therefore we are not permitted to give out any medical advice regarding your pets. That being said, the purpose of this article is to shed some light on the topic of cancer in pets. Cancer is the leading disease-related cause of death in domesticated cats and dogs in the United States and it should not be taken lightly. This article will discuss the month-long pet holiday known as Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Our discussion will include why pets get cancer in the first place, what breeds are more prone to cancer, and early signs of detection of cancer in pets. Although this isn’t the most pleasant topic regarding pets, we encourage you to keep reading because the more you know about cancer in pets, the more prepared you will be to handle it. 

What Is Cancer?

To fully understand why pets get cancer we must first define what cancer actually is. Cancer is a genetic disease that is caused by certain changes and/or damages to one’s genes, specifically the way they function such as growing and dividing. Genes can be described as the basic physical units of inheritance which every living organism has as a means to store genetic information using the molecules of DNA and RNA. This genetic information is passed down to our offspring giving them similar physical traits and attributes that we had. This is both good and bad as our offspring will receive both our good genes and our bad ones. Although our bodies naturally eliminate cells with damaged DNA before they turn cancerous, our body’s ability to do so goes down with age. This results in a higher risk of cancer during our later years in life. 

Why Do Pets Get Cancer?

Every living organism on earth, including our pets, is made up of cells that contain genetic code. Over time, the genetic code of these cells can be changed and/or damaged for various reasons. Some of these reasons include exposure to harmful environmental substances like ultraviolet rays from the sun or chemicals in cigarette smoke, errors when the cell divides, and even simply inherited from our parents. As previously mentioned, the body naturally eliminates these damaged cells. However, if left unchecked, these changed and/or damaged cells can turn cancerous and then begin to spread to other parts of the body. Every cell in an organism’s body has a specific purpose or role to play, but cancerous cells are the exact opposite and will cause that cell to stop functioning as intended. This results in the body beginning to break down and not function properly. Once cancer hits vital organs such as heart, lungs, brain, etc, the ultimate end result is death. But, it’s not all doom and gloom! If you can catch cancer early enough, there are usually ways of treating and removing it before it spreads out of control. To learn more about cancer causes and prevention, check out the professionals at the National Cancer Institute website. 

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 probably take them to your veterinarian.  

What You Can Do To Help

By fully reading this article, you have already taken the first step to contributing to the fight against cancer in both pets and people. Knowledge is power and the more informed you are about this genetic disease, the more prepared you will be to face it. There currently is no cure for cancer, but it can be removed and treated if discovered in the early stages. Know what to look for and don’t hesitate to act on your gut instincts. Scientists and doctors are working everyday to help discover and create a cure for this terrible genetic disease we call cancer. Take preventive measures against cancer for both you and your pets. Be mindful of the foods and drinks you put into your and your pets bodies. Avoid artificial and processed foods and lean more towards all natural and healthy ingredients. If you’d like to learn more about what foods are best for your dog, check out our previous article entitled How To Choose A Dog Food. Be mindful of how much sunlight you and your pet are exposed to and take the necessary precautions like using sunscreen or umbrellas. Both you and your pet should avoid situations where cigarette smoke is present. And of course, donating spare money or time goes a long way in the fight against cancer and finding a cure. To learn more about cancer research donations, check out the American Cancer Society website.

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