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5 Things to Know About Cancer in Dogs and Cats

The Top 4 Facts About Pet Cancer

By Madeleine Burry. November 16, 2012 | See Comments

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5 Things to Know About Cancer in Dogs and Cats

Cancer is a terrible diagnosis for a cat or dog. Here are the top 5 facts about cancer in pets, from prevention to treatment.

It’s a terrible diagnosis for your cat or dog: Cancer. Unfortunately, cancer is an increasingly common problem for pets. From prevention options to information about treatment, get the information you need to know about cancer and your cat or dog. 

1. Spay and Neuter

There are all sorts of reasons to spay or neuter your pet: it can help them behave better and, in the case of female pets, it can prevent them from going into heat, which can be unpleasant and messy. But on top of all these everyday reasons for spaying or neutering your cats and dogs, it’s also helpful for preventing cancer. Spaying female pets before they first go into heat reduces their risk of mammary cancer by huge percentages. Even if the spaying occurs after the pet has gone into heat, it can still be effective at reducing the risk of cancer. Similarly, neutering male pets will eliminate any risk of testicular cancer completely.

2. A Common Diagnosis

Pets get cancer at nearly the same rate as humans, with the prevalence of the diagnosis increasing as cats and dogs get older. Cats are diagnosed with cancer at a lower rate than dogs.

3. Sunscreen for Pets?

It’s true: Just like humans, cats and dogs can get sunburnt, and can get skin cancer from being in the sun. Aim to keep pets away from the strong midday sun, and when you can’t do that, put sunscreen on your pets. Use sunscreens that are made especially for pets -- keep in mind that since your pet is likely to lick her fur, it’s particularly important to use a sunscreen without any ingredients that would be toxic to a pet.

4. Can Occur Anywhere in a Pet’s Body

Cancer in pets can occur nearly anywhere in their bodies, from skin to spleen to tissue or lymph nodes. Some of the forms of cancer can be visible to sight and touch, but for catching other forms of cancer, it’s important for you to note changes in your pet’s habits and disposition, and to take your pet to the vet regularly.

5. Obesity Strikes Again

As is true with so many other diseases, such as diabetes, there is some evidence that obesity can increase the risk of your cat or dog developing certain cancers.

More on Types of Cancer

Mast Cell Cancer in Pets
Bone Cancer in Pets
Lymphoma in Cats and Dogs
Histiocytosis in Pets

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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