Cancer & Our Pets

I had seen a poster at one our vet’s offices that said 1 in 4 dogs will get cancer. However, I have now read in other places that 50% of our pets will get cancer. You might wonder how this can be. There is no single answer, but there are some likely suspects.

One thing I found out from my research is that lawn-care products, including fertilizers, probably don’t go far enough in saying to keep your animals off the lawn for 24 hours. Many sources recommend that you not use these products at all in places where children and pets walk because it is now suspected that lawn care products are the number one cause of Lymphoma in dogs.

I was also surprised to find that the air in our homes is more polluted than the air outside, and that over 90% of the air pollution in our homes is caused from our cleaning products.

According to a study by the Environmental Working Group, dogs and cats show higher levels of toxins in their bloodstreams than humans do. This could be because they are lower to the ground than we are (so they are closer to the floors we mop with toxic products), and because they lick their paws. They actually ingest residue left by cleaning products. This is one more reason you might consider “going green” – for the health of your family and your pets. (Please visit this link for suggestions on green cleaning: Green Cleaning link (please note that you should limit or avoid essential oils in any cleaning products if you have cats because essential oils are toxic to them).

I already knew that spaying could prevent mammary cancer. What I didn’t know was that mammary cancer is the second most common canine cancer. The risk for intact females is 26%; for those spayed after the first heat cycle, 8%; and those spayed before the first heat cycle, it’s only .05%! So this is a type of cancer we can prevent almost entirely.

One final note: if you find yourself dealing with a cancer diagnosis for your dog, you might consider getting the book Help Your Dog Fight Cancer: An Overview of Home Care Options by Laurie Kaplan. It has everything in it from the different types of treatment for different types of cancer, to home troubleshooting for various symptoms from treatment, to information on diet.