It is estimated that approximately 1 in 4 dogs and 1 in 5 cats will develop cancer in their lifetimes. We want you to know that a diagnosis of cancer is not a death sentence. Amazing research is going on all over the country aimed at giving pets effective treatment options, while emphasizing a great quality of life. Consult with a board certified oncologist to find out the best treatment options for your pet. You can find the oncologist nearest you at Veterinary Cancer Society.
No one likes to feel helpless. Let’s use Pet Cancer Awareness month to empower you with information.
You may have heard this same advice from your own doctor. The evidence linking inflammation to cancer and other health problems is mounting. To keep systemic inflammation at a minimum, keep your pet at a healthy weight, engage them in daily exercise, and feed them a high quality diet using as much whole food as possible. Minimize their exposure to pesticides, second hand smoke, and other known carcinogens. Pets with very short fur or that are light colored should also be protected from too much sun exposure. If you are considering getting a puppy, do research on ailments common to the breed and discuss any areas of concern with your breeder, an oncologist, or your veterinarian.
While avoiding toxic substances that can weaken pet’s immune systems is very important, there are also many immune boosting and inflammation reducing herbs and supplements now available to help your pet. We love discussing prevention! If you are interested in scheduling a consultation to discuss action steps you can take, including what herbs and supplements are good choices for your pet, please call our office at 505-982-4492.
Be proactive! Mark a date on your calendar each month and perform a quick at-home exam on your pet. Check out this short video for instructions (this approach works great for cats too!)
Feel for lumps throughout the body. If you feel the same lump on both sides, it may be that you are feeling natural anatomy. Lumps are very rarely symmetrical. An exception to this is swollen lymph nodes. They may be felt on both sides of the body; pay extra attention to the areas behind the jaw and knee. Also pay attention to areas of your pet that seem sensitive or painful.
In addition to the exam, watch your pet for abdominal distention, rapid weight loss, chronic vomiting or diarrhea, and lameness. If you notice any of these conditions, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Through the years we have been asked over and over by pet caregivers who have been through cancer if there is a way that they can help others. Of course! Sharing your story, educating your friends on early detection and prevention, and participating in clinical trials are some of the ways. We have also established a grant to help low and middle-income families in New Mexico pay for cancer treatment. If you would like to donate in honor of a friend or a pet, please visit the Santa Fe Community Foundation Give Now page, type Athena Fund into Fund Search box, fill out the amount and donor acknowledgement (if desired), and the memorial tribute information (if desired). Finally, enter your payment information. Thank you for helping New Mexico’s pets!