The vet’s office: Cancer in pets
What to look for and being proactive in your pet’s care
By Dr. Roger Krogstad, DVM
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC
You are not alone if you have lost a beloved pet to cancer. My last three dogs, two labs and a golden, all succumbed to this dreaded disease. We often see television reports of cancer in the human population, and it is a regular topic in our conversations. So many people have dealt with cancer in friends, relatives, and even in their pets.
There is a parallel of human disease and the diseases seen in pets. Obesity, diabetes, and allergies are common to both. Additionally, various forms of cancer are on the rise in pets.
You may ask, “Why?”
It is because we are doing a better job with specialized nutrition, dental health, and identifying and managing other diseases early. As a result, pets are living longer. Then as the body ages and cancer cells appear, they overpower the aging defenses built into the body to identify these abnormal cells.
Sadly, some cancers do not respect age. Recently, a two-year old dog was euthanized due to an aggressive form of lymphoma. Some pets may also be at risk just due to their breed or reproductive status. Examples of these are splenic tumors in golden retrievers and mammary tumors in older, unspayed females.
Not every lump or bump is cancer, but your veterinarian is the best one to identify and determine if early treatment would be beneficial. Always be on the lookout for abnormal structures when playing with or brushing your pet, and get to your veterinarian early.
Unfortunately, some cancers stay hidden until the pet quits eating or shows other signs of illness. My own golden retriever was 12 years old when cancer cells metastasized to her lungs and she stopped eating. Two days later she was crossing the “Rainbow Bridge.” Jade was my buddy, and I still miss her, as do many of our clients who have lost pets to cancer.
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC is located at 210 Airpark Road in Marshfield and online at wildwoodanimalhospital.net.