Hearing a cancer diagnosis for your pet is a terrifying experience. By definition, cancer is the result of uncontrolled cell growth. According to the National Cancer Foundation, (NCCF), one out of three dogs will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime; sadly, other statistics show that one in five cats get cancer. The common cancers found in cats are lymphoma, squamous cell carcinoma, mast cell tumor, and/or bone cancer and according to the American Animal Hospital Association,, the six most common canine cancers are: lymphoma, hemanglosarcoma, mast cell tumors, melanoma, osteosarcoma, and mammary tumors.

That was the bad news; the good news is, about half of all canine cancers are treatable if they are caught early and several promising research studies are currently being conducted to help find a cure. Research at several medical and veterinary schools is being conducted to develop new and better treatments for cancer. The Morris Animal Foundation, started the Canine Lifetime Health Project, is an on-going Lifetime Study which follows 3,000 Golden Retrievers from birth to death looking at cancer and other conditions.

Early Warning

The studies are informative and help drive the creation of effective cancer treatments, yet early cancer detection and treatment are key to your pet’s survival chances. See Cancer Early Warning Signs for more information. Early cancer diagnosis can be achieved if your pet routinely receives a thorough annual exam to identify one of the early warning signs for cancer. The exam may include labwork, x-rays, and or ultrasound tests.

What Causes Cancer?

The cause of most cancer is not known, making prevention difficult however, statistical evidence shows that second hand smoke increases the risk of some cancers in dogs and cats. As well, half of all breast tumors in dogs and greater than 85% of tumors in cats are malignant. Spaying female pets before 12 months of age reduces cancer risk and neutering reduces the risk of testicular cancer in male dogs.

Cancer Early Warning Signs

  • Sores that do not heal
  • Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bleeding or discharge from any opening on the body
  • Unpleasant or unusual odor
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing
  • Loss of energy
  • Persistent lameness or stiffness
  • Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating
  • Persistent coughing or hacking

If your pet is diagnosed with cancer, the biggest factors determining the success of treatment are:

  • Stage – how large it is and how far it has spread in the body
  • Type – the chance for response to therapy and the rate of spread to other parts of the body

Discussions regarding treatment options should be made with your veterinarian or with a veterinary oncologist.

Marek’s Disease in Chickens

Marek’s Disease is one of the most common illnesses in chickens and one of the most preventable using vaccination. It is caused by a chicken herpes virus and once a chicken is infected, it will remain so for life. It will not make people sick. In an August 2018 article, the Pennsylvania State University extension service, stated that the percentage of sick birds depends on the strain of the virus and breed of the bird. This disease is easily transmitted and it is spread by infected dander (dead skin cells) from other birds. It can also be transmitted in dirty carriers and on clothing and boots. It can survive for up to 65 weeks in coops and years in soil.

Signs and Symptoms

Generally, there are four different presentations of Marek’s disease; Neurological, Ocular, Cutaneous, and Visceral.

Protecting your flock is not easy. There is no treatment for infected birds so to reduce your risk, be sure to buy “vaccinated” chicks from approved sources, practice good housekeeping in the coop area, and provide good ventilation.

Neurological may show signs of paralysis, may twist the head to the side or backwards, it may have labored breathing, a darkened comb, and/or diarrhea.
Ocular (Eye) Graying of the eye color, blindness, non-reactive pupil
Visceral ( Internal) Cancerous tumors grow on the organs inside the bird; weight loss and the bird may stop laying eggs
Cutaneous (Skin) The bird may have scabs or ulcers around the skin follicles or lesions around the feather follicles.

Memorial Day – (Last Monday in May)

This day is in honor and remembrance of all men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Please pause and give thanks to those men and women who gave their lives in service to our country as you celebrate this holiday weekend. NOTE: We shall be closed Monday May 27 so our staff can celebrate as well. Please plan accordingly for your pet’s needs. We will re-open as usual on Tuesday May 28. Have a great weekend!

Happy Mother’s Day – (Second Sunday in May)

Celebrate the mother figure in your life. Mother’s Day has been celebrated since Julia Ward Howe first appealed for a “Mother’s Day for Peace” after seeing the devastation of the Civil War. On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday to be celebrated on the second Sunday of May. Take time on Mother’s Day to thank your mom, or your mother figure, and enjoy the day.