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Dogs and Cancer

Cancer is a well-known issue among humans, but our dogs may fall victim to cancer, too. In fact, statistics indicate that cancer is actually the leading cause of death in dogs that are over the age of 10. Austin veterinarians, as well as veterinarians from all over, are accustomed to treating dogs with cancer on a regular basis. Losing a pet is painful; you’re losing a family member. So take heart in the fact that a cancer diagnosis isn’t always a death sentence; often, it is very treatable, especially with early intervention.

Some forms of cancer in humans are very treatable, and other forms don’t have such a good prognosis, but treating dogs that have cancer is, generally, a much easier scenario than it is with humans. The reason for this is that in canines, cancer is often curable. In fact, many Austin veterinarians will tell you that most forms of cancer that can occur in dog breeds can be cured if dealt with early on. The challenge is knowing how to recognize the presence of cancer before it has the chance to metastasize, or spread, and affect the vital organs.

Detecting cancer early on isn’t always a simple matter of noticing the onset of symptoms, though cancer in dogs often has very visible signs: Commonly, a dog afflicted with the disease will display symptoms similar to humans, such as enlarged lymph nodes, lumps beneath the skin, wounds that don’t heal properly, lameness, and abnormal swelling of the joints. However, many of these signs occur when the cancer has already been given time to progress to its later stages. The goal is to stop the disease in its tracks early on, but cancer in dogs often doesn’t display many visible signs at all until it’s too late. Because of this, it’s important that pet owners are vigilant in paying attention to changes in the dog. Changes in appetite, drinking, temperament, potty habits, energy level, and appearance should always be investigated by your Austin veterinarian as soon as possible.

It’s unclear exactly why cancer is so common among dog breeds. Researchers say that up to 50% of all dogs will develop some form of cancer upon reaching a certain age. Austin veterinarians think this may be partially due to the fact that both people and animals have higher life expectancies nowadays, which provides greater opportunity for cancer and other diseases to develop and flourish.

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