It’s a sad fact but animals as well as humans can suffer from cancer. The type and severity of tumours across all the different species is huge, but as the old veterinary disease-mantra goes ‘common things are common.’
And this certainly also applies to cancer.
For example many of you dog owners will be all too familiar with the emergence of fatty lumps (lipomata) that appear over the ribs and chest of your older pooch?
Entirely made of safe fat, these smooth lumps are non-painful, rarely spread (benign) or indeed get bigger, and as a result are usually purely cosmetic and left on the dog as a bit of ‘extra insulation’.
On the flipside however are the white cats that have not had the benefit of sunblock applied to their ear-tips or noses during any sunny weather and as a result develop an incredibly nasty aggressive form of cancer called a squamous cell carcinoma.
Incredibly hard to treat, this will always spread (malignant) and is capable of overwhelming the cats’ body and causing death in only a few weeks.
But it’s not all doom and gloom as cancer in our pets, as in people, can be treated – and often cured. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are always by far the most important factors towards a successful outcome.
Please never just ‘wait-and-see’ as most tumours won’t disappear but will continue to grow.
Work closely with your vet to choose the best cause of action for your beloved pet. Many growths, including a number that are malignant, can be cured if caught early.
Some tumours, whilst not curable, may be kept under control for a good period of time allowing your pet to enjoy a normal, happy quality of life.
Major advances in the treatment of cancer in humans means that often these techniques can be used on our pets too, and include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
In fact, unless an animal is clearly suffering, there is often no reason why they shouldn’t be treated. If it were not for their tumour, many pets are otherwise healthy individuals.
Photo: 13 years old Ellie helping to keep Stanmer Park tidy! (Photo www.bbc.co.uk)
So why not help raise money to support the Animal Cancer Trust and the fight against cancer in our pets by bringing your friends and dogs along to this weekend’s ‘Take the Lead’ sponsored dog walk? I went last year and it was fantastic. See you on Saturday!
Finally, if you are concerned about the health of your pet or have any questions about animal cancer then contact your vet immediately.
‘Take the Lead’ Sponsored Dog Walk, Saturday 4th October 2008 10am-1pm Stanmer Park, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 9SE. For more information, call Cathy on 07815 050998 or visit www.animalcancertrust.org.uk.