February is National Cancer Prevention Month, and while the focus is on preventing cancer in humans, we thought you might be interested in learning harm reduction strategies to protect your furry friends.
This article is not meant to give specific medical advice and should be used as a general guideline. Please contact a veterinarian if you have any medical concerns.
Avoid Smoking Near Your Pet
Smoking increases health risks in humans. Did you know it is also bad for your furry friends?
Your pet can be harmed by both secondhand and thirdhand smoking. Secondhand smoking occurs when the pet breathes in smoke from the environment. Thirdhand smoke is caused by residual nicotine and other chemicals that are left on surfaces by tobacco smoke.
Both avenues of smoking exposure can cause various cancers in your pet. Recent studies have shown that cats routinely exposed to tobacco smoke are at elevated risk for gastrointestinal lymphoma.
Examine Your Pet Once a Month
Make it a habit to examine your pet once a month. You can look in their mouth and ears and run your hands across their body to check for lumps. This also has the added benefit of getting your pet used to the types of examinations they may encounter at the vet’s office which can reduce stress.
If you do notice anything new or suspicious, please contact your vet to get it checked by a professional!
Research Your Pet’s Breed
When possible, do some research into your pet’s breed. Some dogs or cats may have a genetic predisposition that puts them at risk for developing certain diseases—cancer included.
If your adopted pet has limited background information, do not fret. A genetic predisposition towards a specific illness does not mean that a future diagnosis is set in stone. View it more as a guideline of what to look for.
Schedule Regular Vet Checks
One excellent way to prevent and quickly identify cancer is by scheduling regular vet checks. If your pet is healthy, that is fantastic! Taking your healthy pet to the vet is also important because this will help your veterinarian establish a baseline of health. This will give them a reference point for future diagnostics.
Vets are also trained to recognize signs and symptoms that you might miss. A complete physical examination could help identify health problems in time to address.
We hope these tips can help you help your pet live its best life! If you have any immediate concerns about your pet or are looking for a vet, we offer a full-service animal clinic providing general veterinary care and preventive services to privately owned pets.