National Pet Cancer Awareness Month is marked throughout November by pet lovers from all over the country. It’s a time of showing extra affection to pets living with cancer. In addition, this holiday spreads awareness of how to prevent or treat cancer in our furry friends.Statistics from MedVet show that one in five cats and one in four dogs are diagnosed with cancer. This makes National Pet Cancer Awareness Month all the more important — to help pet owners learn about how to give their loved ones a better life.
History of National Pet Cancer Awareness Month
Animal cancer has been around for thousands of years since ancient civilizations. People identified and documented cancer in both animals and humans. One example is written records of cancer in animals in Egypt in 1600 B.C.From the earliest times, discoveries in veterinary oncology have generally been similar to human findings. The invention of the microscope in 1590 brought about a major breakthrough in the study of cancer. Pathologists used this tool to describe specific cancers and began to document relative frequencies. However, progress in treating cancer remained slow.Surgery is the earliest and most common pet cancer treatment that dates back to ancient times. For hundreds of years, health practitioners understood that cancer would typically return after surgery. As such, before they performed this procedure, they needed to be sure that the benefits would outweigh the risks, such as bleeding and infection. The discovery of anesthesia in 1846, however, made surgery far much easier.From the mid-20th Century, more people started accepting pets as part of the family. This new human-animal bond spurred veterinarians to dig deeper into clinical diagnosis and treatment for pets. In the 1960s a few vets pioneered the creation of the field of clinical veterinary oncology.Over the last 20 years, health professionals have made progress in immunotherapy as a cancer treatment. This method boosts the body’s natural mechanisms to fight cancer.The first National Pet Cancer Awareness Month was marked in 2005. The Animal Cancer Foundation and Nationwide created this holiday intending to raise money and increase awareness to combat the leading cause of death in pets.
National Pet Cancer Awareness Month timeline
Hippocrates coins the term 'karkinos' (crab) to describe cancer tumors.
Richard Eberlein, a German physician and veterinarian, is likely the first person to use radiation to treat cancer in animals.
Alois Pommer from Vienna Veterinary High School carries out an extensive study of radiation therapy in animals.
The U.S. Army discovers that nitrogen mustard is an effective treatment for lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes).
National Pet Cancer Awareness Month FAQs
What are the common types of cancer in pets?
Some of the commonly diagnosed dancers in pets include lymphoma, melanoma (skin cancer), mast cell tumors, osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and oral cancer.
How can I reduce the risk of cancer in my pets?
Vets recommend early spaying of female dogs and cats to significantly lower the risk of breast cancer. Also, early neutering of male pets reduces their risk of developing prostate or testicular cancer.
Are all types of pet cancer fatal?
Not all pet cancers are deadly. Some are curable with early detection and intervention, while others are prevented with simple elective surgery.
How to Observe National Pet Cancer Awareness Month
Take your pet to the vet
The best bet against pet cancer is prevention, and early detection and treatment. Taking your furry pal to the vet for cancer screening will help you keep tabs on their health.
Donate to a pet cancer care institution
Pets living with cancer need all the love they can get. Sending a financial contribution to an institution that assists such pets is a significant way to ensure they receive proper care.
Tell your friends and family about the holiday
Many people don't know about National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Spreading the word among your loved ones is a vital step towards getting help for more pets that have cancer. If you're on social media, use the hashtag #PetCancerAwareness on your posts about pets.
5 Interesting Facts About Animal Cancer
It affects dogs more
The Veterinary Cancer Society lists cancer as the leading cause of death in dogs at 47%, compared to 32% in cats.
Animal cancer is widespread
There are about 100 types of pet cancer.
Skin is the most prone to cancer
Melanoma is the most prevalent form of cancer in pets.
Senior dogs have a higher risk
50% of dogs older than 10 years develop cancer.
Smoke is a risk to pets
Exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk of dogs and cats getting cancer.
Why National Pet Cancer Awareness Month is Important
It boosts awareness about pet cancer
Cancer is very hard on pets. The more people know about how to make their ailing pets' lives easier, the better.
We learn about advancements in treatment
Over the years, veterinary scientists have made remarkable progress in the early detection and treatment of pet cancers. And more discoveries are still being made in this regard, which keeps improving cancer treatment success rates for pets. National Pet Cancer Awareness Month is a befitting time to learn about these updates.
We get to honor vets
Vets work hard to keep pets healthy, yet pet owners tend to forget this sometimes. National Pet Cancer Awareness Month is a reminder to celebrate these heroes.
National Pet Cancer Awareness Month dates