dog lying on bed with cannula in vein taking infusionNo pet owner ever wants to hear that their beloved companion animal has cancer. Unfortunately, with pets living longer than ever before, cancer is becoming a more common diagnosis than it ever before. While there is still no way to totally protect pets (or people) from developing cancer, there are steps that you can take when it comes to pet cancer prevention.

Schedule Frequent Wellness Exams

One of the most effective ways to keep your pet healthy is to detect problems early in their course. Paying close attention to changes in your pet’s habits and body can provide you with clues that something may be wrong. If you own a specific breed, familiarize yourself with any genetic predispositions to certain types of cancer so that you can be aware of subtle changes.

Pets should also visit us at least yearly (more frequently pets over 5 years of age or those with health problems) so that we can conduct a thorough physical exam and obtain recommended test results.

While frequent wellness exams cannot stop your pet from developing cancer, they can help us to catch the disease early in its course, providing us with the best chance of treatment success.

Preventing Exposure to Pet Carcinogens

A carcinogen is a substance known to increase the risk of cancer. Many carcinogens known to affect people also affect pets. The following are known to increase cancer risk for animals:

  • Cigarette smoke (including second hand)
  • Prolonged sun exposure, especially for light-colored animals
  • Asbestos
  • Herbicides

It is also best to take a less is more approach when caring for your pets. Natural supplements may provide a good alternative for medications in some situations. We can help you to decide which medications, vaccinations, and other treatments are absolutely necessary for your pet.

Provide Your Pet Good Nutrition

Good nutrition is an essential part of keeping your pet healthy. Look for foods without plant or animal by-products or chemical preservatives. High quality fresh ingredients are best.

Keeping pets at an ideal weight is also key to preventing pet cancer. The exact link between obesity and cancer has not been identified as of yet, but pets who are overweight are at increased risk for many problems including cancer

Spay or Neuter Your Pet to Reduce Cancer Risk

Pets who have been spayed or neutered have a much lower incidence of cancer of the reproductive organs. In fact, females who have been spayed before their first heat cycle have virtually no risk of developing breast cancer whereas those who are not spayed have a 1 in 4 chance of developing it.

Use Pet Cancer Preventative Supplements

Several supplements are thought to decrease the risk of cancer in pets. Cancer is caused by free radicals in the body. Most of the supplements thought to combat cancer help to minimize the formation of free radicals in the body. These include:

  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty acids
  • Lignans such as in olive oil
  • Turmeric

Cancer affects us all, and our pets are no exception. It is the number one natural cause of death in older pets and can affect any part of the body.  We are becoming better at diagnosing and preventing cancer in our pets every day.  If caught early, many types of cancer are treatable.  At OVRS we are happy to assist you in preventive cancer care as well as the treatment of pet cancer, should you ever need it.