It can be heartbreaking to hear your beloved best friend has cancer. November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month, and we’re passing along some of the best tips we have for finding it early, preventative care, and how pet insurance can help.
How can you help prevent it?
We’ve covered how to prevent cancer in dogs in the past, and while many of these basic tenants extend to cats, here’s a special post for those little kitties in your life. For all pets, spaying or neutering helps immensely, as studies have shown it reduces certain cancers. Keeping your pet cancer-free can be as simple as not skipping vet checkups, pledging to keep your pet on a healthy diet with plenty of exercise, avoid carcinogens and limit sun exposure (find out how to prevent skin cancer in dogs).
What are the signs to look for?
The American Veterinary Medical Association says that early detection can help tremendously in cancer treatment. Look for abnormal swellings or lumps, sores that do not heal, weight loss/loss of appetite and difficulty eating, a strange or offensive odor, bleeding or discharge from any part of the body, lameness, stiffness, loss of stamina, as well as difficulty breathing or using the bathroom.
Here are the top five most common pet cancers:
- Lymphosarcoma / Lymphoma – A cancer occurring in the white blood cells that affects the immune system. Symptoms can include tumors, lethargy, weight loss, and loss of appetite. Chemotherapy is the most common dog lymphoma
- Skin Cancer – Cancer of the skin, usually from sun exposure, but can be from a variety of sources. A universal symptom of skin cancer is a raised mass or lesion on the skin. Treatment varies, but usually surgery is required to remove the lesion, as well as chemotherapy.
- Osteosarcoma – Also known as Bone Cancer, this cancer is harder to spot. More common in large dog breeds, symptoms include swelling, lameness, joint pain, and loss of appetite. Chemotherapy is the best treatment and in some cases, amputation is necessary.
- Mammary Gland Tumors – This is most common type of both benign and malignant tumors in dogs. The tumors can range in size, and surgery is usually required to remove all masses.
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas – The term “soft tissue” means it can be in any of the following: fat, lymph nodes, blood vessels, nervous tissue, muscle, and joints. Symptoms truly depend on the tumor’s location. Treatment includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
How pet insurance can help:
Cancer is one of the many unexpected illnesses that can unfortunately happen during your pet’s lifetime. The Healthy Paws Pet Insurance plan covers those massive bills and removed any caps or limits in the plan. Bottom line: you won’t have to choose between your best furry friend and your savings.
One of our survivor stories includes Baxter, who was diagnosed with cancer and underwent a cyberknife treatment which saved his life.