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How to keep an eye out for cancer in your pet

May is National Pet Cancer Prevention Month so KIRO Radio’s It’s Raining Cats and Dogs had on a couple of veterinarians to talk about how to look out for cancer in your animal.

One way to help your pet is by looking for lumps and bumps. A very common cancer in dogs is skin cancer, specifically in Mast Cell Tumors.

“It shows up as a lump on the skin. So that would be definitely something to watch for. It can be a little more difficult to find if you have a dog with quite a bit of hair,” says Dr. Brad Crauer, Chief Medical Officer at the Seattle Humane Society. “If you identify any usual lumps or bumps, have that examined as soon as possible by a veterinarian.”

Any lump, bump, or sore that doesn’t heal is something that should be brought to a vet’s attention. The veterinarian will take a biopsy that will be sent to a pathologist to determine whether it is cancer, and what the best type of treatment will be.

Outside of bumps, other significant behavior or weight changes should also be brought to a veterinarian’s attention.

If it’s determined that your pet is suffering from some form of cancer, there are several types of treatments available, including surgery, oral, or injectable chemotherapy, and radiation, says veterinarian Dr. Jessica Stern.

“Some of the treatments really aren’t that expensive as far as the oral medications. Again, it depends on the type of cancer, but if you’re looking at radiation and injectable chemotherapy, that definitely is a cost and time investment on your part.”

Stern says there are a number of potential ways to treat your pet. The most important thing is keeping an eye out for signs and getting them into a veterinarian.

For more information from the experts, listen to the podcast: Part I: Cancer in cats and Part II: Cancer in dogs. Listen to It’s Raining Cats and Dogs on KIRO Radio every Sunday at 1 p.m. or listen anytime ON DEMAND at KIRORadio.com.

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