Dogs and cancer

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Our pets can get sick, just like we do. Unfortunately, cancer is one of the diseases we share in common.

This is Pet Cancer Awareness month, and we want to make sure you know what to watch for and how to protect your best buddy. The Pet Cancer Awareness Initiative, created by Blue Buffalo, is on a mission to spread the word and find a cure.

The first thing you should know, as with people, some pet cancers can have a genetic link, says veterinary oncologist, Dr. Gerald Post.

"Certainly, some breeds, such as flat-coated retrievers, golden retrievers, rotweillers, are predisposed to cancer."

But, just like people, any pet can develop cancer; which is why you should know the warning signs.

Dr. Post says there are three key signs to watch for, "Finding an enlarged lymph node. lymph nodes can most easily be found in the angle of the jaw and behind the knee. You can look for any lumps or bumps on the skin, that are changing in size, shape or color. And if you have a large or giant breed dog, and there is unexplained lameness, that should also prompt you to bring your pet into a veterinarian."

Another thing we have in common with pets, says Dr. Post, catching cancer early is key, "Finding cancer at its earliest stages is your pet's best bet at finding a cure."

There are things you can do to prevent cancer in pets.

"Keep your pet healthy and active. Good and balanced diet is probably your pet's best friend. Keeping your pet away from second-hand smoke, or things like herbicides and pesticides," Post says.

The greatest goal of the Pet Cancer Awareness Initiative is to raise money for research. It's research that could ultimately also benefit we humans.

"Pet cancer and human cancer really are very similar, if not the same," Post says, "And, so, advances in pet cancer research can really help human oncologist, human cancer researchers, find better treatments and identify treatments that may not work- earlier."

For more information about pet cancer, to donate to research efforts, visit the you can donate for research, visit the Pet Cancer Awareness Initiative website.

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