Even Pets Get Cancer — And They Often Have Similar Symptoms To Humans

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Do you have a pet? Do you have a fur-friend that runs a very close second to your own children? I do!

To me, our dog Rosie is a perfect second child. I remember looking at her adoringly in 2012 – after I was diagnosed with breast cancer – and talking to my husband about kids. We’ve always wanted to add to our family, but cancer put a stop to that. While looking at Rosie I realized we did extend our family; we just had a four-legged child.

These pets – whether it is a dog, a cat, a horse, even a chicken – have a way of grabbing ahold of our hearts. We often treat them as we would one of our children. They have toys to play with, beds to lie in, and delicious food to eat. We talk to them like they understand us and are able to talk back. We hug them, kiss them, and stroke their coats to comfort them.

When these animals we adore and love get sick, we’re sad and want nothing more than for them to get better. When they are diagnosed with cancer our hearts hurt for them even more.

Old Dog

Did you know cancer is the leading cause of death for dogs over 10 years old? In fact, it’s very common with 50% of older dogs developing cancer at some point in time. Although cancer is not as common in cats as it is in dogs, it’s harder to detect. Lymphoma, bone, skin, soft tissue sarcoma, and breast cancer are common among both dogs and cats.

Our beloved four-legged friends often have many symptoms of illness that humans have. Like most cancers, there are little or no early warning signs. A lump, bump, or a wound that won’t heal needs to be checked out. If there’s a change in behavior and activeness, it’s a good sign your dog or cat isn’t feeling well.

Do not hesitate to take your pet to the veterinarian at any time. After all, these are our children; we’d do anything for our kids.

It’s difficult for us to receive a cancer diagnosis, and at times, it’s even more difficult when it’s your pet. Most cancers are curable through surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy when it is caught early. But it’s often expensive.

If there was a chance to extend the life of your four-legged children, would you take it?

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Angela Banker is a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a sister; she is also a young survivor, a caregiver, a supporter, and a fighter. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33, and found herself empowered to share her story to raise awareness about breast cancer. Angela participates in Relay For Life, started the Sisters Beating Breast Cancer page to inspire others, and continues to "fight like a girl" with the hope that her daughter will never have to hear the dreaded words, "You have cancer."