November is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month! We want to reveal the truth behind common myths about cancer in pets. It’s important to learn what really happens when a pet develops cancer and undergoes treatment as we debunk some pet cancer misconceptions.
Myth: Only older pets develop cancer
Truth: While older pets are more likely to develop cancer for a multitude of reasons, young pets are not immune. A weakened immune system and environmental and hereditary factors can all play a role in cancer development, which means young pets can be at risk.
Myth: A cancer diagnosis means a poor prognosis for my pet
Truth: Not all cancers are highly aggressive, nor do they always spread to other locations. Many types of cancers grow slowly, are non-aggressive, do not metastasize, or go into remission with treatment.
Myth: The only form of cancer treatment for pets is chemotherapy
Truth: Although most cancer treatment plans include some form of chemotherapy, other options are available, such as:
- Surgical excision
- Radiation therapy
A veterinary oncologist will provide you with the best treatment plan to manage or cure your pet’s cancer.
Myth: Chemotherapy will cause debilitating side effects in my pet
Truth: When people think of chemotherapy, they often think of the negative side effects associated with the treatment. However, chemotherapy doses are lower for pets than for people and typically do not cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and hair loss seen in humans.
Myth: Cancer in pets is impossible to prevent
Truth: While many cancers cannot be prevented, you can be proactive in helping your pet avoid some of them. For example, you can spay or neuter your pet to prevent or reduce the risk of mammary, uterine, prostate, and testicular cancers. You also can protect your light-colored pet from the sun to reduce their risk of squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer.
Keep in mind that your pet’s quality of life can still be maintained if they develop cancer, but early diagnosis is key to the best outcome. If you have questions or concerns about your next visit, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our team is here to help!