November Is Pet Cancer Awareness Month
Pet Cancer Awareness Month
By Dr. Ian Kupkee
November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Cancer is one of the most common conditions diagnosed by veterinarians, affecting nearly one in four dogs at some point in their lives. While cancer is less common in cats, our feline companions are more likely to suffer from aggressive, and less treatable forms of the disease.
One of the more commonly seen forms of cancer in pets is breast cancer. Fortunately, it is also one of the easiest forms of cancer to prevent. A female dog who is spayed before her first heat cycle has a .6% chance of developing breast cancer later in life. A dog spayed after her first heat cycle has an 8% chance of developing breast cancer. And the breast cancer risk for dogs who are spayed after their third heat cycle is a whopping 65%.
Recent research suggests delaying spay/neuter procedures on large-breed dogs until they are fully grown can reduce their chances of developing orthopedic problems later in life. Since both threats are very real concerns, the pros and cons of each decision should be discussed with your veterinarian. That said, the best prevention against canine and feline breast cancer is to have your pet spayed in accordance with your veterinarian's recommendation.