As with humans, animals are also affected by cancer, accounting for almost half of the deaths of adult pets.
According to the American Veterinary Association – AVMA, pets usually develop cancer of the chest, head, neck, blood, skin, testicles, bones and abdomen, with dogs being the most likely to suffer from this type of pathology compared to cats.
There are some cancers more common than others; In the following article, we will know what they are and what types of treatment exist for them.
Types of cancer in cats
Cancer is the most common cause of death in felines, although some races are much more susceptible than others to suffer from this pathology. The symptomatology is varied and depends on the type of cancer and the stage it is in. Therefore, it is often difficult to detect the problem and requires thorough studies by the veterinarian.
Among the most common cancers in cats, we find:
- Skin cancer
- Breast cancer
- Mast cell tumors
- Oral tumors
- Soft tissue cancer or fibrosarcoma
- Bone cancer or osteosarcoma
- Respiratory carcinoma
- Respiratory adenocarcinoma
- Pancreatic adenocarcinoma
- Liver adenocarcinoma
In general, the tumors are visible or easily detectable by touch, however, the veterinarian needs to perform some complementary tests to make an accurate diagnosis. Part of the studies include blood, urine, imaging and biopsy tests.
Cancer treatment in cats
Once the examinations have been carried out and the type of cancer the animal suffers, the available treatment alternatives range from surgery to chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy or a combination of them.
In most cases, if the cancer was detected in time the treatment is successful, therefore, early detection and proper diagnosis by the specialist is essential.
It is necessary to make regular visits to the veterinarian, in order to prevent and identify cancer in time in the pet. Specialists recommend at least two general exams a year, especially for adult cats.
Types of cancer in dogs
Several studies show that the incidence of cancer in dogs is even higher than in humans. Some of the most common cancers that occur in dogs are skin, bone, breast and leukemia cancer.
In addition to those mentioned, among other types of cancers, the most common in dogs are:
- Mouth cancer
- Testicular lymphoma or abdominal tumors
- Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumor
- Canine Osteosarcoma
- Canine Hemangiosarcoma
- Canine Mast Cell Tumor
Of all of them, Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumor is a very unusual form of cancer that affects dogs of different breeds. It is transmitted by mating, by licking or any other direct contact between dogs.
The Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumor affects the genitals of the animal and generates certain types of bumps similar to that of a cauliflower. In certain cases, the urethra is blocked making it difficult to urinate for the affected animal.
On the other hand, 80% of cases of bone cancer in dogs are due to osteosarcoma, a type of metastatic and invasive cancer, although its incidence is low in pets.
Cancer treatment in dogs
It is necessary for the veterinarian to evaluate the pet in detail, in order to establish the type of cancer that the animal suffers, the stage in which it is and the appropriate treatment for each case.
Certain tumors respond differently to the established treatment, which is why it is necessary to do a thorough follow-up in each case, being often recommended to perform a combination of different therapies.
Among the treatments available for cancer in dogs, we can find:
A surgical intervention to remove the tumor is usually the most recommended alternative in most cases, although this will depend on the type of cancer.
Surgery may encompass the tumor itself or include part of the healthy tissue in order to decrease the likelihood of leaving tumor cells in the area. This intervention is usually complemented with chemotherapy sessions.
Chemotherapy, meanwhile, is a procedure by which it is administered, either orally or intravenously, certain types of drugs that act on damaged cells, decreasing their proliferation.
This procedure usually brings with it some considerable side effects, such as damage to the liver, stomach or any other vital organ.
Another type of effective therapy to treat cancer in dogs is radiation therapy, a much more localized procedure.
Regardless of the case, it is essential that the animal undergo regular and periodic checks in order to determine whether the response to treatment is effective or requires dose adjustments. The controls also serve to monitor the side effects that may be generated and the complications that may occur.
Cancer prevention in domestic animals
Although cancer is usually very difficult to prevent, in some cases it is possible to prevent its onset and development, especially in cases of hormone-dependent tumors. Therefore, it is necessary to offer the pet a balanced and quality diet, preventing it from becoming overweight.
With regard to breast cancer, early sterilization is able to reduce the risk of tumors up to 25%. This intervention is very safe and fast recovery and can be performed in any authorized veterinary clinic; however, it should not be performed before three months to reduce the likelihood of developing urinary incontinence in the animal.
Owners should be aware of any alteration in the appearance of their pet, such as weight loss for no apparent reason, the persistence of wounds that do not heal, symptoms of anemia or the appearance of nodules, among others. If necessary, it will be necessary to take the animal to the veterinary clinic to perform the corresponding examinations.