Cancer in Dogs and Cats is More Common Than You Might Think
Cancer is, unfortunately, a natural part of life, and many people don’t realize
that dogs and cats can get cancer, too. According to the American Veterinary
Medical Association (AVMA), dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans.
The AVMA also reports than nearly 50 percent of dogs over the age of 10 will develop
some form of cancer. When it comes to cats, according to the Animal Cancer
Foundation (ACF), 1 in every 5 cats develop cancer in their lifetime. Some common
types of cancer in cats are lymphoma, feline leukemia virus, and breast cancer.
Because of the veterinary medical advances in diagnosing and treating cancer in
dogs and cats, regular wellness exams are more important than ever in order to help
with early intervention, and treatment. Happily, with early detection, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment, some forms of cancer in pets can be cured. Other cancers can only be managed to slow the spread of the disease and keep your pet’s life as normal as possible. The biggest factors determining the treatment for pet cancers are:
● The type of cancer, location and the rate of spread to other parts of the body.
● The stage of the disease and how far it may have spread in the pet’s body.
Sadly, some forms of cancer in dogs and cats may not respond to treatment. If
your dog or cat is diagnosed with cancer, your veterinarian will discuss the best
treatment option(s) available for your pet, as well as the risks and side effects
associated with each option, so you can make the choice that’s best for your family,
your pet and their quality of life.
Early Cancer Warning Signs in Dogs & Cats
Consult your veterinarian if you observe any of the following signs in your dog or cat:
● Abdominal swelling
● Bleeding from the mouth, nose or other body openings
● Difficulty breathing or coughing
● Difficulty eating
● Difficulty urinating
● Lumps, bumps or skin discolorations
● Non-healing wounds or sores
● Persistent diarrhea or vomiting
● Sudden changes in weight, especially weight loss
● Unexplained swelling, heat, pain or lameness
● Visible mass or tumor on the pet’s body
What’s Next After a Pet Cancer Diagnosis
If your dog or cat has been diagnosed with cancer, your veterinary team will be at
your side to help you make the best decision for your pet, your family and to ensure
the animal’s quality of life. Recommended treatments may be a single type of
therapy or a combination of therapies. These may include surgery, chemotherapy,
radiation, cryosurgery (freezing), or immunotherapy. In certain cases, your
veterinarian may refer you to a board-certified veterinary oncologist (cancer
specialist) for the best care possible.
Since your pet’s overall health is important, your veterinarian may also recommend
dietary changes and/or complementary therapies such as acupuncture that may
help your pet better respond to treatment. Pain management is also an important
aspect of any cancer treatment and will be determined on a case by case basis.
As veterinary professionals and animal lovers, we understand you want the best care
for your pet at every stage of their life. To help ease the possible financial concerns, our interest-free payment plans may be of assistance during the care and treatment of your pet. We’re here to help, so your pet can remain comfortable, happy, and as pain-free as possible.
[disclaimer] Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.
How to Choose the Best Type of Dog or Cat For Your Family Pet
At AZPetVet, we think pets are so awesome, we’ve made them our life’s work! Often, we’re asked what’s the best type of dog for a family pet or what are the best types of cats? These are great questions to be asking BEFORE you get a new dog or cat, and they spawn a lot of other questions that you might not have thought to ask. The type of dog or cat is not simply limited to a choice of the breed — there are many other things to consider.
If you’re an experienced pet owner, you already know the challenges and rewards of owning a cat or dog; it’s a lifetime commitment! Sometimes, people can underestimate the particular needs of a type of dog or cat or get a pet without fully thinking things through, which can lead to frustration or even the animal being surrendered to a shelter or being rehomed.
Taking the time to explore different breeds of cats and dogs and the specific care needs of each type can help you make the decision that’s best suited for you, your family, your lifestyle and your future pet dog or cat. This is especially important if you’re a first-time pet owner or have small children or other restrictions. Read on to learn what things you should consider when choosing the best dog or cat for your family.
Experience Levels & Time Commitments for Training Pets
Bringing a pet into your life has lots of benefits, but there’s also a big adjustment period for everyone, including the animal. Have you ever owned a dog or cat or are you venturing into dog or cat ownership for the first time? Do you currently own a dog or cat (or both) and are planning a new addition to your family? Do you want a puppy or kitten or an older animal?
If you’re considering a puppy or kitten, ask yourself how much time you are willing to devote to training? A little (1-5 hours per week)? Mid-range (6-10 hours per week)? A lot (10+ hours)?
Are you gone from home for long periods of time for work or other commitments? Will the dog or cat be crated during the day/night, or free to run around?
If you’re looking for an older pet that’s already trained or housebroken, adoption from a shelter or rescue may be your best bet — and due to the number of unwanted or homeless animals, adoption is always encouraged!
If you currently own a dog or cat or a mix of pets, bringing a new dog or cat, puppy or kitten into the pack will be a gradual process to minimize any territory or jealousy issues or possible personality clashes. Your vet can recommend the right steps and sometimes even products that may help ease the transition period.
Your Home, Family & Lifestyle Matters
Do you live in an apartment or condominium with breed or size restrictions? A home with a big yard? A patio style home with a small yard or limited space? Do you have children under age 10? Choosing the right type of dog or cat for your family and living situation is a must.
For instance, larger breeds of dogs such as Great Danes, Mastiffs or Saint Bernards may not be as happy in an apartment or home with little yard space and can often act out by chewing everything they can find, including furniture and walls! Really active breeds like Australian Shepherds, Retrievers or Jack Russell Terriers tend to be extremely smart and will need regular exercise, interactive toys,
and playtime to stay happy and healthy.
Barking, Meowing & Shedding, Oh My!
Can you tolerate barking and meowing, or do you prefer a quieter pet? Dogs will bark, and some tend to do it more than others. Many breeds of dogs, such as Siberian Huskies, Spaniels, Beagles, and Basset Hounds tend to be much more vocal by nature due to their natural hunting instincts. Cats may not bark, but some of them are definitely talkers! Siamese Persian, Japanese Bobtail, and the Sphynx are just some of the breeds of cats known to be very vocal compared to other types of
cats, so it’s important to choose your next pet according to your tolerance level for
barks and meows.
Longer haired pets need regular brushing to help keep their coats in good shape and to prevent matting. While all pet dogs and cats will need some grooming from time to time, shedding is another big consideration, especially if you have allergies or someone with allergies is living in your home.
Some breeds of dogs and cats are natural-born fur factories, while others are low-to-no shedding or even hypoallergenic. The types of dogs that shed the most include Saint Bernards (long or short-coats, they both shed a LOT), Siberian Huskies, Labrador/Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, among others. Types of dogs that shed the least include the Dachshund, Cockapoo, Havanese, and Bichon Frise, among others.
Cats that shed the most fur include the Ragamuffin, Ragdoll, and the Russian Blue. If you’re looking for a low-shedding type of cat, consider a Siamese, Turkish Angora, the Siberian, or the Tonkinese breeds. One note: if you’re allergic to cats, choosing a low shedding breed might not help. Eighty percent of cat allergies are actually due to a protein that’s found in the skin and saliva, rather than the actual fur itself.
Consider your activity levels and lifestyle: are you more one to relax and hang out on the couch, go out to take a walk around the neighborhood or park, or are you an active runner, biker or hiker?
Some of the best dogs for more sedentary lifestyles include the English Bulldog, Chow Chow, Basset Hound, Boston Terrier, and the Shih Tzu. People with active lifestyles who want to bring their dog along for the adventure and exercise. If you’re one of those people, consider an Irish Setter, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Golden Retriever, Weimaraner, or Dalmation for your next companion.
Whew, that’s a lot, we know! Hopefully the questions here will help you make a wise choice when selecting the right new member of your family. Whether you end up choosing a purebred cat or dog or adopting a pet from an animal shelter or rescue, the lucky cat or dog will likely make a wonderful addition to your life and family for years to come. A final note: don’t forget to spay or neuter your new pet, and schedule regular wellness visits with your veterinarian. Happy adopting!
Here is a fun interactive tool to use to help select the right breed of dog for you:
Combatting Dog Flu in Arizona: What to Know About Flu Shots for Dogs
Cases of dog flu in Arizona have been in the news recently, with some limited
outbreaks recorded in Northern Arizona. Naturally, we’ve had a lot of calls from
concerned pet parents. We totally get it. Our pets are beloved family members. With
these outbreaks, some of us are left asking: do dogs need a flu shot? Or worse, does
my dog have the flu?
Since we happen to have more than 100 knowledgeable veterinarians within our
AZPetVet family, we decided to ask Dr. Chris Hummel from Westbrook Animal
Hospital to answer the most frequently asked questions about the dog flu in Arizona.
Q: Is dog flu the same as people flu?
No. From a viral standpoint, dog flu is NOT the same as people flu. The two strains of
Canine Influenza viruses found in the United States are H3N8 which researchers
believe originated in horses, and N3N2 which is likely of avian origin imported
directly from Asia. In very rare cases the dog flu virus has been known to infect cats,
but the flu poses little risk to cats beyond a runny nose, coughing and/or sneezing.
People don’t get dog flu, and dogs don’t get people flu. However, in people and in
dogs, there’s a gap between being exposed to the flu virus and developing
symptoms. That’s why we’ll so often see outbreaks happen in clusters. Somebody is
contagious and doesn’t know it until it’s too late; then suddenly everyone is sick.
From the American Veterinary Medical Association:
“H3N8 has an incubation period of 1 to 5 days, with clinical signs in most cases
appearing 2 to 3 days after exposure. Dogs infected with H3N2 may start showing
respiratory signs between 2 and 8 days after infection. Dogs are most contagious
during the incubation period and shed the virus even though they are not showing
clinical signs of illness. Some dogs may show no signs of illness, but have a
subclinical infection and shed the virus.”
Q: How would a dog catch the flu?
Almost the same way a person would. The virus is transmitted through the air by
sneezing and coughing (or barking, drooling and licking), or by contact with infected
surfaces including areas like communal water dishes. Most likely, they would come into contact with another dog that’s contagious. So exposure to the dog flu in
Arizona usually happens at places where you find lots of dogs; the dog park, doggie
daycare, a boarding kennel, grooming salon or dog show.
Q: Does my dog have the flu? – Dog Flu Symptoms
Well, here’s another area where dog flu is similar to people flu. Dogs with the flu will
show symptoms like fever, lethargy, cough, stuffy or runny nose, and watery eyes,
difficulty breathing, wheezing or rapid breathing. Checking on your dog’s wellness is
key to answering the question “does my dog have the flu”. If these symptoms don’t
sound like your dog’s or are more severe, see this article about dog poisoning to help
determine if you’re dealing with something more serious.
You’ll be able to tell your dog is not feeling well. Keep them quiet and away from
other pets to avoid exposing them to the virus. You don’t want to spread the dog flu
in Arizona. After isolating your dog, then it’s time to get busy.
The Canine Influenza virus can remain viable on surfaces for up to 48 hours, on
clothing for 24 hours, and on hands for 12 hours. Wash your hands frequently. Wash
your clothing, and clean and disinfect other items your pet may have touched. These
include kennels and crates, food and water bowls, collars, leashes, bedding, and toys.
Q: Is dog flu dangerous?
Do dogs need a flu shot? Is it serious enough to warrant giving my dog a flu shot?
The severity of the flu varies depending on the viral strain, the pet’s age, and overall
health. Most otherwise healthy dogs will recover from the flu without a problem or any special treatment required. However, it’s important to note that the cough may
last for up to 3-4 weeks.
Older dogs with weakened immune systems or puppies with underdeveloped
immunity are more at risk as their bodies will have a harder time fighting the virus,
so there’s a higher risk for developing pneumonia.
Dogs with short muzzles, like pugs and bulldogs, already have a compromised
respiratory system. Sore throats and stuffy noses would naturally make them feel
quite sick, so they’d need close monitoring and a trip to the vet’s office.
Q: How is Canine Influenza treated?
There is no specific treatment for Canine Influenza; however, if the answer to the
question “does my dog have the flu” is yes, then there are ways to support your dog
and keep them comfortable. The majority of treatments used in severe cases are
supportive. They may include IV fluids, oxygen, antibiotics, breathing treatments,
and mucolytics (a class of medications which help break down mucus to make it
easier to expel it from the lungs).
Q: So do dogs need a flu shot?
While vaccines are available for canine influenza, vaccination would only be
recommended for dogs at high risk for infection. It is important to note, vaccination
can only reduce the risk of a dog contracting canine influenza, it may not prevent
infection. However, the flu shot can potentially reduce the severity and duration of
the flu. It’s best to talk over your concerns with your vet.
Q: Anything else we need to know?
One last, but very important reminder – people can’t get dog flu, but they can
inadvertently spread it if they’ve touched a contaminated surface (or petted one).
That’s why animal hospitals follow strict guidelines for cleaning and disinfection. We
take extra precautions when seeing pets that are exhibiting respiratory symptoms.
If you suspect your pet has the flu or has been exposed to it, or they’re having
respiratory symptoms, call us first. You may receive special instructions for bringing
your dog into the office. These restrictions are in place to reduce the risk of exposing
other animals in the waiting room to something that could be contagious.
Virtually no one likes going to the dentist…but we all know it’s important! Dental care for humans and animals alike is something that should never be ignored. Proper dental hygiene is a critical part of keeping your pet healthy and happy, helping to avoid potentially life-threatening issues that come with dental disease. Want to know just a bit more? Dr. Tressa MacLennan from our Scottsdale location did a quick segment with a brief overview! Check it out: