– At the Daily Dog we have been surprised to learn how common cancer in dogs actually is. In fact one in three dogs in Australia will be affected by cancer at some stage in their lives – one in three!
We’re sure most of our readers are as unaware of this fact as we were. At pups4sale we were brought up to speed on this issue when our attention was drawn to an excellent website devoted to the topic of cancer in dogs. This site provides education and support for dog owners whose best friends have been diagnosed with cancer, or suspect they may be suffering from cancer. Caninecancer.org.au is the site in question, and contains much useful information for families facing a battle with cancer involving their four legged friend. The information on the site has been checked by Veterinary Oncologists (cancer specialists), which is of course important.
Caninecancer.org.au provides the following checklist to run through in case you suspect your dog may have cancer:
1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
2. Sores that do not heal
3. Weight loss
4. Loss of appetite
5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening
6. Offensive odor
7. Difficulty eating or swallowing
8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina
9. Persistent lameness or stiffness
10. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating
The list above comes with a caveat however; These signs could relate to a number of different illnesses including cancer. If your pet shows any of these signs, they should see a veterinarian without delay.
The above list is itself sourced from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) which has a number of helpful articles on the subject of canine cancer on their own website. Additionally we have found several support groups for canine cancer on Facebook, which is another source of advice and encouragement if you and your dog are facing this particular battle. The links are:
It goes without saying that if in doubt regarding the possibility your pooch may be suffering from cancer, have him or her checked out right away. Our own Bull Arab rescue bitch, “Kim” (pictured with our daughter, Bethany) is eight now and is suffering from a slow growing form of skin cancer our vet advises is all too common here in sunny Queensland. We first noticed a lump on her belly, which our vet excised and had sent away for pathology tests. Every six months or so he takes further growths off Kim, and assures us there’s nothing much else to do unless we want to spend many thousands of dollars on a course of Chemotherapy, which may or may not work. We have taken the “quality of life” option with Kim instead, which involves regular removal of the lumps, ensuring a happy life around the home and a merciful end should she show the slightest hint of beginning to suffer.
Of course the decision in each case is up to the individual family dealing with the diagnosis of cancer in their dog. However we hope the information we have provided here proves helpful should you be facing this battle with your best friend.