In the US, there are an estimated 80 million dogs. Of those, 20 million will get cancer at some point in their life. It is the number 1 cause of death in dogs! That’s one in four or 25% according to ACF (Animal Cancer Foundation).
The average life span of dogs is fifteen years.
Some say certain breeds are more predisposed to certain types of cancers just like races of humans are predisposed to contract certain types of cancer. For example:
- Chow: Stomach Cancer
- Boxer: Brain Cancer & Lymphoma
- Border Collie: Nasal cancer
- Rottweiler: Osteosarcoma
- Scottish Terrier: Bladder Cancer, Melanoma
- Labs & Golden Retrievers: Lymphoma
Mammory Tumors are the most common cancer among all breeds according to the Veterinary Cancer Society. Others include mast cell tumors (which is what we see most at VIP Animal Care), lymphoma, leukemia, and osteosarcomas.
Your single best defense is a regular physical exam! If you dog is age 6 or older, you should consider exams every 6 months since as with the same in humans, our chance of cancer increases as we age. And since Dr. Flanders gives a free exam with vaccines, that means you’ll only be paying for 1 exam a year for your older pets.
If we do find a mass on your pet, Dr. Flanders will discuss options. But along with removing the tumor is to have the tumor tested. Many pet owners don’t want to spend the extra money for testing, but is a crucial part of long term health of your pet. By finding out exactly what type of tumor we are dealing allows Dr. Flanders to provide guidance on therapies. Many times there are injections that can keep further growth slowed for a ver small cost. But if we don’t test these tumors, then we don’t know the best course of action. The best news of course is that a tumor is benign and no further treatment is needed. These tests also tell Dr. Flanders whether he took the proper amount around the tumor (known as margins) to ensure tall cancer was removed.