May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month.  Fifty percent of all disease-related pet deaths are due to cancer and fifty percent of dogs that are 10 years or older will die from cancer.  And if that doesn’t catch your attention, maybe this will…One in four dogs die of cancer.  Cancer is the No. 1 disease-related killer of dogs and cats and millions of pets die from cancer each year.

Some of the early warning cancer signs for pets as identified by the Veterinary Cancer Society are:

  • Persistent, abnormal swelling
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
  • Offensive odor
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing
  • Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating or defecating

If your pet has any of the above warning signs, you should visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Having a pet with cancer is never easy.  It is an emotional struggle as to whether you are doing the right thing by treating them with chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation and keeping them alive for as long as possible.  Is your pet comfortable or is your pet in pain?  The following are suggestions to help improve your pet’s quality of life during their bout with cancer:

  • Make sure your pet is getting the proper nutrition.  Your pet’s diet should appeal to your pet but should also be nutritionally appropriate.  Consult your veterinarian as to the best diet for your pet.
  • If your pet doesn’t want to eat, try warming their food to just below body temperature just before giving it to them.  Warming the food increases the aroma and may make it more appealing to your pet.
  • Appetite stimulants can be given to your pet if they aren’t eating and are losing weight but you should consult your vet before giving your pet any kind of stimulants.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids may enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.  Ask your vet about adding these to your pet’s diet.
  • Prescribed pain relievers should be given to your pet as directed.  Your pet may be in some pain, but there isn’t any reason for them to be in severe pain.
  • Side effects such as diarrhea and nausea can be managed with proper medication.  Consult your vet about medications you can give your pet to help make them more comfortable.
  • Make sure your pet’s bed is away from drafts, is well-cushioned and easy to get to.

If your pet has cancer, it is important that you give them a lot of love and that you take good care of them.  They are depending on you to help them feel better…after all, they can’t take care of themselves and they have no idea what is happening to them or why they feel so bad.

Filed under: Cancer in Dogs

Like this post? Subscribe to my RSS feed and get loads more!