People ask me every day, "Why are so many dogs being diagnosed with cancer?"
Is the incidence of cancer in dogs on the rise?
What is causing so many dogs to have cancer?
An alarming number of pets are diagnosed with cancer. Everyone I speak to has a dog with cancer or has a friend who has a dog with cancer. But it's difficult or impossible to accurately compare today's statistics with those of a decade ago. Until recently no one was keeping track! To determine how many more cancer diagnoses are made now than 10 years ago would require information that simply does not exist.
But we can talk about the known causes of cancer in dogs. Extensive studies and statistical analyses help us to identify factors that cause cancer in dogs... and in cats and people.
Chemicals and Toxins in the environment, food and water are at the top of the list. Be careful about the products you use on your lawn and the household cleansers you choose. Remember that your dog's nose is closer to floor or the ground than yours is. Remember that your dog rolls around on it, walks on it and then licks his paws, may even eat it when it's on a leaf outside, or a morsel of food that dropped to the kitchen floor. Look into www.turffix.com and www.naturalfertilizer.us and www.cedaroilindustries.com. Great natural house cleaning ideas can be found at www.naturalhouse.com.
Chemicals find their way into dog foods as well. Choose a high quality food. Read the ingredients list carefully, looking for meat and vegetables, whole foods, to be at the beginning of the list rather than by-products and meals. Look into Evo and Natural Balance dog foods.
Vaccines. Vaccinations play a role in causing cancer. Cancer is often diagnosed within a month after a pet's annual vaccinations. In cats, vaccine associated sarcomas (VAS) are well documented. Vaccination-site tumors may occur when a pet receives repeated needle-sticks in the same place year after year. Components of the vaccination formula aside from the actual vaccine (adjuvants) may cause cancer to develop.
Vaccines have been found to remain protective for much longer than a year, yet many pets receive the vaccinations each and every year. Ask your vet to titer test for each disease or illness before vaccinating your pet against that disease. There's no need to vaccinate if there is still enough protection provided from the previous vaccination.
A pet with cancer should not receive any vaccinations. You can print a vaccination waiver form HERE. Even if you are dead sure that your dog wouldn't bite anyone, you must know the possible consequences. Side stepping vaccinations such as the Rabies Vaccine is problematic and dangerous if the dog is aggressive. If you have an un-vaccinated dog and that dig bites a person, your dog may be quarantined or even killed to check brain tissue for the virus.
Genetic Factors are involved for some types of cancer. On the broadest level, we can say that the Giant breed dogs tend to develop osteosarcoma (bone cancer) far more than non-Giant breed dogs and there is a logical explanation. New born puppies are pretty much all the same size, but one will grow to be 20 pounds at full size during the first 2 year. Another will become 150 pounds in the same 2 years. The accelerated bone growth is thought to cause a relatively higher rate of osteosarcoma in Giant and Large breed dogs.
Genetic pre dispositions can be perpetuated through an entire breed or on a smaller scale through a breeding line.
Spay / Neuter: It's hard to say that failure to spay/neuter is a "cause" of cancer, but we can certainly say that by spaying a female pet or neutering a male pet, we can greatly reduce the possibility of certain types of cancer. The responsible pet owner will spay / neuter early to avoid these cancers and to help reduce the over-population, shortage of homes and the resulting execution of millions of beautiful animals.
Not Today and Not Without a Fight!
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