Jul 22

Clinical Signs That Might Indicate Cancer in Dogs

It’s easy to think any strange lump or issue with your pet is cancer.

Thankfully, many times it is not cancer, and the odd symptoms or issues are caused by a different sickness all together. Contact your vet if you see any unusual symptoms, but don’t worry yourself sick until you have a diagnosis.

Even still, here are a handful of signs that you should watch out for that MAY mean “cancer.”

  • Lumps (especially new ones; those that grow quickly; those that appear, decrease in size or disappear, and then reappear or enlarge; and those that change color or easily bleed)
  • Skin sores or irritated areas
  • Red spots on the skin, gums, or mucous membranes
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Rapid weight loss or gain
  • Lack of, or decreased appetite
  • Abdominal enlargement (potbellied appearance)
  • Weakness or exercise intolerance
  • Excessive panting or heavy breathing
  • Collapse
  • Pale gums or mucous membranes
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding or chronic discharge from wounds or orifices
  • Change in bowel habits (chronic diarrhea, vomiting, or both)
  • Change in urinary habits (blood in the urine or urinary incontinence)

Remember, these symptoms do not automatically equal cancer, but any time a pet does have an illness that doesn’t respond to treatment within a month or two, cancer must be considered.

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Jun 24

How Cancer Kills

This can be a difficult post to read, especially if your pet has already been diagnosed with cancer, and we are sorry for that. But the more you know about your dog or cat’s disease, the more empowered you will feel about what is happening and how you can help your pet.

Cancer (or euthanasia due to cancer’s effects) kills in one of four ways:

  1. Locally aggressive cancers can cause large, infected wounds and sores. Depending on the tumor’s location, the quality of life may get to a point where owners feel it is best to put a stop to their beloved pet’s suffering.
  2. Cancer can cause secondary syndromes that result in illnesses or internal changes not compatible with life, which brings the death of a pet.
  3. Cancer can kill by a tumor spreading to other parts of the body (to the brain, causing seizures or death; to the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing, and so on).
  4. Lastly, cancer can kill by taking all a pet’s nutrition for itself, starving the dog or cat’s body.

So as you already know, an early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is crucial in helping to minimize the spread and effects of cancer or wipe it out completely. And always feed your pet the best food you can, and boost his or her immune system with supplements (especially medicinal mushroom supplements).

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Jun 19

The Susceptibility of Certain Cells in Becoming Cancerous

Certain cells are more susceptible to turning into cancer cells. Once normal, healthy cells genetically mutate into cancer cells (usually because of inflammation or excessive oxidation), they begin rapidly dividing and push into the surrounding areas of healthy tissue. The battle against cancer is often won or lost at this microscopic stage.

If your dog has a healthy immune system, his body will attack and get rid of the mutated cells all on its own.When the immune system is functioning in a subpar manner, however, the mutated cells keep dividing and growing and may start developing into tumors. Cancer may also take the form of ulcers or non-healing sores on your pet.

Skin Cancer

Skin cells may be more susceptible to cancer when they lack a lot of pigment. Areas of pale skin or minimal fur don’t protect your pet as well from the sun’s damaging rays, letting inflammation occur.

Cancer of the Lymph Nodes and Reproductive Organs

These areas are at greater risk of developing cancer because the cells in them are continually growing and reproducing. By spaying or neutering pets, the hormones that contribute to the possiblity of genetic mutations are reduced.

Lung Cancer

There haven’t been a lot of studies, but there is a possible link between secondhand smoke and cancer in cats, but not in dogs.

Also, limit your pets’ exposure to environmental toxins. Dogs around weed killer have shown to have a higher risk level of developing lymphoma, bladder cancer, and more.

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Jun 12

Why Every Tumor Should be Tested

We just have a simple reminder for our post today: Test tumors.

No one, and we mean no one, can accurately diagnose a tumor (also called lesions) under the skin just by looking at it and feeling it. Many vets will start out by feeling a mass, and adopting a “wait and see” attitude if they feel it seems to be a noncancerous fatty tumor or cyst.

Most lumps and bumps are benign, but don’t take the risk of waiting. Too many times, what was originally declared harmless is later determined as cancer.

Vets should always do full diagnostic testing, usually by examining the sample drawn from the tumor with a tiny needle or biopsying it in some way. An X-ray or a blood test of a pet with unexplained symptoms can also be done to reveal the pet’s issue.

Once the cause is determined from testing, then the proper care treatment can be set up. When it comes to your pet’s life, it is better to be safe than sorry.

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Jun 05

The First Steps to Preventing Cancer

Today, pets who get cancer have so many treatment options, and, indeed, there is no best treatment plan: All factors and methods should be taken into consideration. But what is even better than treating cancer is preventing it. We’re going to take a look at the recommendations in “Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs” by Shawn Messonnier, DVM.

Healthy cells normally live a specific amount of time then die. Cancer cells turn off the gene that causes cell death, allowing these mutated cells to spread and taken over. Thankfully, in a healthy immune system, cancer cells are killed before they start growing and spreading.

What causes cancer exactly is not known, but it is known that the genetic mutations are generally caused by inflammation or excessive oxidation (which we will go over below today).

In essence, cancer is a chronic inflammatory disease: As many as 70 percent of cancer patients have suffered from an inflammatory disease for a decade or more before the cancer developed.

Dogs are the same way. Many canines with cancer first suffered various inflammatory diseases including:

  • arthritis
  • chronic viral diseases
  • parasitic diseases, and more

It’s so very important to understand chronic inflammation and chronic over-activation of the immune system work together to produce the condition necessary for cancer development.

  • Inflammation produces free radicals. Free radicals damage DNA. Damaged DNA can turn on cancer genes.
  • Reducing inflammation reduces the likelihood of cancer genes turning on and spreading.

Do note: Usually, what you do can’t prevent cancer in your pet with guarantee. However, holistic preventative care greatly minimizes the chance your pet develops cancer or other diseases.

To take a holistic approach, a healthy diet free of by-products and chemicals is so important. Then, add in quality nutritional supplements to support your pet’s body. A holistic method of a great diet plus supplements inhibits cellular oxidation. Oxidation in too great an amount causes inflammation and cell injury. If left to be, inflammation and cell injury can damage a cell’s DNA and cause it to transform into a cancer cell.

Remember, “holistic” doesn’t necessarily mean “alternative.” A holistic approach simply works to heal the entire pet, not just address symptoms. And with the proper first steps, you may find you never have to deal with cancer at all.

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Apr 30

Be Aware of These Cancer Warning Signs in Dogs

While it is very hard to catch cancer early in pets, there are a few things that you can always be looking out for.

Abnormal swellings that persist of continue to grow

This is the most obvious sign: a mass or lump that keeps growing under the skin. Don’t just watch the bump, have it removed and biopsied.

Sores that don’t heal

If there’s a skin wound that isn’t healing, even with an antibiotic or ointment, it may be a signal of cancer.

Weight loss

Unexplained weight loss – not coming from a change in diet or more exercise – may come from a tumor along the intestines.

Loss of appetite

Along the same lines as the previous symptom, an internal mass may be making your pet feel sick and not want to eat.

Difficulty eating or swallowing

One possible reason for this sign is a lump in the neck putting pressure on the esophagus.

Bleeding or discharge from any body opening

While nose bleeds don’t mean cancer outright, they are a common sign of nose cancer.

Bad odors

Cancerous masses may release pus, which smells due to bacteria.

Reluctance to exercise or loss of stamina

Tumors can cause bleeding and pressure on various organs including the heart or lungs.

Even if your dog has one of these symptoms, it may not be cancer, but it could signal another health issue your pet is facing.

When in doubt, get to the vet, even if you’ve recently taken your pet in for a regular six month checkup. Early detection is key in treating your dog.

And, even if unfortunately your pet is diagnosed with a form of cancer, it doesn’t always mean the end. Various conventional treatments combined with TCM have given many dogs years past their original expectancy and a great quality of life.

Check out K9 Critical Care’s reviews on their Critical Care product duo. You can read numerous positive outcomes pet owners have had with using medicinal mushrooms to boost the immune system. Canine cancer can be beat!

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Apr 23

Choosing a Veterinary Oncologist

If you think your dog has cancer or has already been diagnosed with cancer, you are certainly worried for your pet and concerned with finding the best veterinarians with the best treatment options.

Who should you go to? Some general vets are knowledgeable about canine oncology, but some are not. Some may have the latest treament options; others may stick to what they learned years ago only. And some may use only holistic or only conventional methods.

We believe the best veterinarians you can turn to for canine cancer use a mix of both holistic and conventional treatment methods, and, if you are close to an animal medical center that has the best in equipment, highly trained staff, and even clinical trials on experimental technology, you most likely will want to start there.

If you aren’t close to a veterinary medical center, get the opinion of at least one veterinary oncologist in addition to your regular vet. Some oncologists at the large medical centers will provide you with a consultation over the phone, though you may feel more comfortable speaking face to face with a vet, and that’s okay, too.

Make sure you have a veterinary oncologist you feel listens to you and is respectful of your concerns and wishes. You also want someone very compassionate and caring toward your pet, as this is a difficult and emotional time.

Below are a sampling of possible centers and hospitals:

United States Veterinary Medical Schools and
Colleges with Animal Medical Centers/Clinics

Auburn University (Alabama)
Colorado State University
Cornell University  (New York)
Iowa State University
Kansas State University
Louisiana State University
Michigan State University
Mississippi State University
North Carolina State University
Ohio State University
Oklahoma State University
Oregon State University
Purdue University (Indiana)
Texas A & M University
Tufts University (Massachusetts)
Tuskegee University (Alabama)
University of California-Davis
University of Florida
University of Georgia
University of Illinois-Urbana
University of Minnesota
University of Missouri
University of Pennsylvania
University of Tennessee
University of Wisconsin-Madison
VA-MD Regional College of Veterinary Medicine
Washington State University
Western University of Health Sciences  (California)

Veterinary Medical Centers with Online Links to
Clinical Trials
Animal Clinical Investigation (in MD)
Animal Medical Center of New York
Colorado State
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
North Carolina State
Purdue University:
University of Georgia
University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital
University of Missouri
University of Pennsylvania
University of Tennessee
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Other Animal Hospitals with Oncology Services
Angell Memorial Hospital (Massachusetts)
New England Veterinary Oncology Group
South Paws Veterinary Specialists and Emergency
Center (Virginia)
Portland Veterinary Oncology Center(Oregon)

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