Pet Cancer Awareness

My sweet sixteen year old had slowed down, was a bit pickier about her food and didn’t like to get up early, but she never seemed in pain as far as I had noticed. I held my dog tighter and prayed our veterinarian was mistaken.

Our long time veterinarian wasn’t wrong on her diagnosis. My dog was suffering from lymphoma.

Navigating a cancer diagnosis can be a frightening time for a pet owner. It is important to have access to information if you should ever face the issue with your pet. That is why May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over the age of ten years. Cancer in cats is less common than cancer in dogs but it tends to be a more aggressive form. If caught early, about half of all cancers are curable.

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Cancer in dogs is often treatable.

“Cancer in pets is painfully common, frequently treatable, and among the most manageable chronic diseases of old age” explains Jeffrey N. Bryan, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM. The Director of the Scott Endowed Program in Veterinary Oncology and Comparative Oncology and Epigenetics Laboratory at the University Of Missouri College Of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Bryan has front line experience in amazing advances in pet cancer treatment.

Many cats and dogs diagnosed with cancer can be treated by their veterinarian. Some cancers can be removed surgically and the pet is cured. For others, there are many of the same options available to human cancer patients; radiation, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

“Cancer treatment involves a lot of communication between what we refer to as the ‘triad of care’ – the pet parent, the primary care veterinarian, and the specialist,” says Gerald Post, DVM, MEM, DACVIM (Oncology), practice owner of The Veterinary Cancer Center located in Connecticut which is one of the organizations sponsoring Pet Cancer Awareness Month. “For example, the pet parent needs to be aware of any unusual lumps or bumps a pet may have, the primary care veterinarian will aspirate those bumps to find out if they are cancerous or benign, and the specialist will develop a tailored treatment plan for that individual pet patient.”

The warning signs of cancer in pets can be similar to those in people. If an animal is not feeling quite right, a swelling or lameness can be a sign to check with your veterinarian explains Dr. Bryan, “Clients should report new lumps or changes in health to their veterinarians immediately. The vets should investigate promptly.”

Unfortunately, sometimes there are few or no warning signs of cancer, at least early on. The point of Pet Cancer Awareness Month is to empower pet parents with knowledge, so that they realize that cancer is not automatically a death sentence for pets.

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Many cats and dogs diagnosed with cancer can be treated

Pet parents can find specialists across the country through location searches on the VetSpecialists.com directory. VetSpecialists.com was developed in 2015 as a partnership between the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and the American College of Veterinary Surgeons to provide education about diseases and conditions affecting animals and to increase awareness of veterinary specialty medicine.

If you are interested in learning more about pet cancer check out the University of Missouri’s Veterinary Oncology website. There are a number of resources on cancer and animals on their website.

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On this September 11th Think About How You Can Shape Our Future

Entrepreneurs are innovators who generate one new idea after another.  And I believe small business owners for the most part, are people who work to make the most of every moment, every opportunity, and get the most out of every resource.  This may seem to be a strange way to start a blog focused on September 11th. But as I look around, so many challenges and opportunities face this nation; it is my belief more citizens need to act like the small business owner—working to make the most out of everything we can to help our nation. I believe what we do as individuals is as important as what our elected officials do.  It is my hope we can shape history and our future; and not the other way around.

Whether you are the business owner or a member of a small business staff, we all seem to constantly be on the move. However, it takes something big to move us emotionally.  I hope today on September 11th, you have a moment to take a break from your busy day and reflect on the Americans silenced forever on 9-11 and the others who have fought and won battles on fields of war and here at home.

The United States is known as the land of opportunity.  As you think about the direction you want to take to claim your part of the opportunity ahead, also think about the direction you think this nation should take.  So much is changing in our lives and in our world, help ensure the important things about this nation do not.