Canine Cancer Resource Guide: Symptoms, Types & Treatments
Symptoms Of Dog Cancer
Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells on or within the body. The cell mass may be malignant or benign, and it may be localized or may invade adjacent tissue and spread throughout the body. According to the National Canine Cancer Foundation, the first steps in cancer prevention include awareness and early detection. In addition, many holistic veterinarians agree that a healthy immune system is a major factor in remaining cancer-free.
Cancer is reported to be the leading cause of death for dogs ten years or older. Canine bone cancer, liver cancer and skin cancer are among the most common types of cancer in dogs. Warning signs of dog cancer are similar to those found in humans - unusual lumps or bumps, swelling or abnormal bleeding. Whenever your pet displays these symptoms, bring your dog to your vet for a professional evaluation.
Access to clean water, healthy food and avoidance of environmental toxins and stress are just some of the ways in which dog owners can support the development of their pet’s immune system. The following suggestions are just some of the ways in which people can create and maintain healthy lifestyles for their companion animals.
Diet & Nutrition: Warding Off Disease
Clean drinking water is essential for dogs and humans alike. Not only does water help nourish the body, it cleanses all of the body’s complex systems and keeps the mind alert. Making sure your dog has a ready supply of clean drinking water is a must.
Additionally, many pet care professionals argue that providing your dog with the best possible diet is one way to ward off disease. More and more people are turning to home-cooked and raw (frozen and dehydrated) diets in place of traditional store-bought kibble. BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) enthusiasts maintain that raw feeding is the best way to achieve optimal health for your pet. Many new options are now available for pet owners including dehydrated raw food which requires significantly less preparation time on the part of the owner, while providing a wholesome and well-balanced meal.
Nutritional supplements, in addition to feeding minimally processed, high-quality food, create a foundation for a healthy immune system. Supplements including fish oil, pro-biotics and medicinal herbs lend support to the immune system and can help reinvigorate the body by facilitating the elimination of toxins and tissue repair. Choosing Healthy Dog Treats over low quality treats is also a wise choice for your pet's long term health.
Dog Cancer & Environmental Factors
No one can deny the role that environment plays in our lives. With so many people and dogs living in crowded city-centers, it’s no wonder we long for an idyllic country retreat.
Pollution and toxins are significant factors that affect our quality of life. As we have learned, contaminants such as second-hand smoke, exhaust fumes, proximity to high-current power lines, pesticides and even common household cleaners are all known to cause cancer in animals. Even topical flea and tick treatments (which are essentially poison) put your pet at risk. By limiting exposure to these damaging influences, we can help lower the risk of cancer.
Routine vaccinations may also weaken the immune system. Holistic veterinarians agree that avoiding annual vaccinations is the best course of action. Even veterinary schools are no longer recommending yearly vaccinations for dogs and cats. If you are concerned that your pet will be at risk for a specific illness, your vet can check the effectiveness of prior vaccinations through blood titer tests.
Furthermore, the over-prescribing of antibiotics and steroids in both human and canine populations serves to mask symptoms of illness while failing to address underlying causes. Over the long term, this leads to a weakened immune system that is more susceptible to disease.
Exercise: Maintaining A Strong Immune System
An important component of a healthy lifestyle, exercise is crucial to achieving and maintaining a strong immune system. Regular exercise strengthens muscles, increases flexibility, stimulates the mind and improves circulation allowing the body rid itself of harmful toxins. That's right - having fun is good for you and your dog, so grab your pet's Dog Collar, Dog Leash and some Dog Toys and go have some fun with your pet. You'll both be glad you did!
Providing regular exercise not only helps build the bond between you and your dog, it facilitates weight management (obesity is a contributing factor in some cancers) and stimulates the lymph system. This system is responsible for “cleaning” the blood by delivering toxins to the lymph nodes and filtering bacteria and other poisons out.
Stress Levels & Cancer
Illness can be exacerbated by high levels of stress. By providing a safe, loving home for your dog, you can do much to reduce the stress of daily life. Positive Reinforcement Dog Training methods along with clear, consistent communication and a balanced routine all help create a stable emotional environment for you and your dog.
Conclusion: Reducing The Risk Of Cancer
Reducing the risk of cancer in dogs involves a holistic approach that takes diet, exercise and environment into consideration. Dogs need a healthy immune system to help fight illness and avoid cancer. A multi-faceted approach to cancer prevention may be the most effective means in keeping your dog healthy, happy and most of all cancer-free.
Your veterinarian can advise you on the best canine cancer treatment options that are available. Make sure to gather as much information as you can before making all important decisions regarding your pet. When in doubt, getting a second opinion regarding the canine cancer type and treatment diagnosed and prescribed can be a wise idea.
For more information on canine cancer prevention and treatment we’ve compiled the following list of resources. While by no means comprehensive, we hope you will find this guide helpful.
Canine Cancer Websites and Organizations
The AKC Canine Health Foundation is the largest non-profit organization of exclusively canine research in the world. The American Kennel Club website provides a resource for the latest in canine wellness, research in canine cancers and the latest news and updates on what is being done to treat this disease.
The Canine Comparative Oncology Genomic Consortium (CCOGC) was established to utilize the opportunities that emerge from the release of the Canine Genome Project. It is designed to better define cancers in companion animals at the genomic level, to provide a forum for discussion, sharing of resources and to guide the development of technologies that can be used to complement the study of canine cancers.
Lowchen Australia contains links to many sources regarding holistic nutrition, diet choices and the importance of vitamins and minerals in your dog’s diet. The impact of carbohydrates, both soluble and insoluble (i.e., fiber), is discussed, as well as high protein and raw diets.
Center for Veterinary Medicine, the CVM regulates the manufacture and distribution of food additives and drugs that will be given to animals. Among other things, it offers the latest information on what’s new and newsworthy.
The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association is an organization whose purpose is to function as a forum for the exploration of alternative and complementary areas of health care in veterinary medicine. It has established guidelines for veterinary acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathic, and holistic medicine.
OncoLink is a canine cancer resource guide featuring tips, treatment options, screening, support and much more.
The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) is the only organization that accredits animal hospitals throughout the U.S. & Canada. AAHA-accredited hospitals adhere to the highest-quality standards available, which help ensure the best care for your pet.
Canine Cancer Book Guide
Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Dr. Richard H. Pitcairn, explores topics such as: what’s really in commercial foods? It contains special diets, benefits of exercise, natural care for common ailments, alternative treatments with homeopathy, herbs and wholesome foods and first aid tips and much more.
If you are completely new to homeopathy, or if even if you know something about homeopathy, but haven’t read it, a great place to start is with The Science of Homeopathy, by George Vithoulkas. This is an excellent, very readable introduction to the principles of homeopathy by a contemporary master.
The holistic pet care movement was begun over 70 years ago by veterinarian, breeder and author, Juliette de Bairacli Levy. Now in her 90s and living in Switzerland, Levy holds a place of honor in the history of natural pet care. Her seminal work Natural Rearing for Cats and Dogs continues to influence practitioners of holistic health care.
Holistic Guide for a Healthy Dog by Wendy Volhard and Kerry Brown DVM, features remedies and health food for dogs, along with insight into canine health as a whole along with diet, exercise, and training information. A must-have for every dog owner.
If your pet is a bit older, check out our Health Care Tips For Your Senior Dog. Preventative measures can keep many senior dog health ailments at bay.