Cancer is the leading cause of death in 47% of dogs (especially those over ten years old) and 32% of cats, according to the Veterinary Cancer Society. Cancer is a devastating diagnosis for you and your animal companion. But early detection of the symptoms can make a difference between life and death for your pet. As a pet owner, what can you do to spot the warning signs?
Read on to learn more.
What should you do to prevent cancer in pets?
Below are some tips to help keep your pet healthy and cancer-free:
1. Schedule Regular Wellness Exams
Regular pet wellness exams are essential to detecting cancer early. At these visits, your veterinarian will examine your pet for any lumps or bumps that may be of concern. They may also use blood work to check for organ function and other indicators of health problems. Plus, they can advise how to keep your pet healthy and safe from diseases like cancer.
2. Stay Up-To-Date With Vaccinations
Vaccines help protect your pets from dangerous viruses and bacteria that can increase their cancer risk. Keep your pet’s vaccinations up-to-date to decrease their potential exposure to carcinogens. An anti-cancer vaccine for dogs was introduced recently, so ask your veterinarian about this option.
3. Feed Your Pet High-Quality Food
High-quality pet food can provide the necessary nutrients for your pet’s overall health and reduce its risk of developing cancer or other diseases. Talk to your vet about what type of food is best for your pet.
Here’s a list of foods you can incorporate into your pet’s diet to boost their immune system and help prevent cancer:
- Sweet potatoes
- Coconut oil
- Fish and fish oil
- Pitted fruits, such as peaches and plums
- Dark berries, such as blackberries and blueberries
4. Stay Active
Exercise helps keep your pet’s body functioning properly and prevents obesity, a known risk factor for animal cancer. Create an exercise plan that works for you and your pet. Go for walks, play fetch games in the backyard, or take up agility training. Keep them fun for both of you no matter what activities you choose.
5. Take Precautions at Home
You can create an environment in your home which contributes to cancer prevention, including:
- Minimizing exposure to chemicals found in cleaners and other household products
- Limiting sun exposure by keeping pets out of direct sunlight or applying sunscreen to areas not covered with fur
- Avoiding smoking around pets
- Keeping pets away from second-hand smoke as much as possible
- Washing hands after playing outdoors with your pet or handling their food or waste
- Regularly cleaning carpets and furniture where your pet often rests
6. Be Aware of Changes In Behavior
Pets with cancer often display changes in behavior that indicate something is wrong. If your pet seems listless, uninterested in play, or has stopped eating and drinking, call your vet as soon as possible. These manifestations can also be signs of other serious illnesses, so it’s always best to take them to a professional, like Enterprise animal hospital.
Early Signs and Symptoms of Pet Cancer
If your pet suddenly starts to display any of the following symptoms, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite or changes in eating habits
- Tumors or lumps on the body that grow quickly
- Abnormal bleeding or discharge
- Difficulty breathing and/or coughing
- Lameness, limping, or difficulty walking
- Sweating when not hot in the environment
What should you do if cancer is detected in your pet?
If cancer is detected in your pet, your veterinarian will create a treatment plan tailored to their specific needs. This may include medications, dietary changes, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery. Depending on the nature and stage of the disease, some pets can recover completely, while others require ongoing care.
The journey is not easy, but your pet can get through this challenging time with the proper support and care. Regardless of the outcome, working closely with your vet is essential so you can give the best possible cancer care for pets. Remember that they will be your partner in the battle, so follow their advice and ask questions about the treatment process.
Ultimately, choose a vet clinic or hospital with experienced specialists to ensure your pet gets the best possible care. Trusted professionals can give you all the help you need to fight cancer.
Cancer can be a difficult diagnosis to face, but it doesn’t have to mean turning away from hope. You can give your pet the best chance at fighting this disease with proper care, support, and understanding.
By staying up to date with their vaccinations, feeding them high-quality food, exercising regularly, and being aware of changes in behavior, you can reduce their risk of developing cancer. If your pet is diagnosed with cancer, contact an experienced veterinarian immediately for a treatment plan that will work best for your pet.