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Pet Cancer Awareness Month – November 2024

Pet Cancer Awareness Month is marked throughout November by pet lovers from all over the country. It’s a time of showing extra affection to pets living with cancer. In addition, this holiday spreads awareness about how to prevent or treat cancer in our furry friends. Statistics from MedVet show that one in five cats and one in four dogs are diagnosed with cancer. This makes National Pet Cancer Awareness Month all the more important — to help pet owners learn about how to give their loved ones a better life.

History of Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer in pets is not a new condition. Bruce Rothschild of the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine used a portable X-ray machine and scanned over 10,000 dinosaur vertebrae from more than 700 museum specimens and found evidence of cancer in duck-billed dinosaurs that roamed the earth over seven million years ago. There have even been documents from ancient civilizations which dates back thousands of years about cancer both in people and animals. This includes written recognition of cancer in animals in Egypt in 1600 B.C. The major breakthrough in cancer study came with the development of microscopes in 1590. After this, pathologists were able to describe specific cancers and document their relative frequencies.

The earliest treatment of cancer, which dates back to ancient periods, was surgery. Later it shifted to radiation. Richard Eberlein was the first to use radiation to treat animals and reported his results in 1906. During the Second World War, the U.S. Army discovered that nitrogen mustard was effective in treating cancer of the lymph nodes, and it became a drug used commonly for cancer therapy. Over the last 20 years, immunotherapy has become a major strategy to boost the body’s natural mechanisms to fight cancer. 

In 1976, the Veterinary Cancer Society was established, which provided space for like-minded clinicians and scientists to share ideas about the discipline of oncology, And soon, standardizing training was established by the board certifications in medical oncology, radiation oncology, and surgical oncology for better treatment of our pets. 

Over the last 20 years, health professionals have made progress in immunotherapy as a cancer treatment. This method boosts the body’s natural mechanisms to fight cancer. The first National Pet Cancer Awareness Month was marked in 2005. The Animal Cancer Foundation and Nationwide created this holiday intending to raise money and increase awareness to combat the leading cause of death in pets.

Pet Cancer Awareness Month timeline

Seven Million Years Ago
Dinosaurs Have Cancer

A portable X-ray machine is used to scan over 10,000 dinosaurs and find evidence of cancer in duck-billed dinosaurs.

1600 B.C.
Animal Cancer in Ancient Egypt

Documents from ancient civilizations recognize cancer in animals.

400 B.C.
Term For Malignant Tumors Invented

Hippocrates coins the term 'karkinos' (crab) to describe cancer tumors.

Radiation Cancer Treatment For Animals Begins

Richard Eberlein, a German physician and veterinarian, is likely the first person to use radiation to treat cancer in animals.

Introduction of Radiation Therapy For Pets

Alois Pommer from Vienna Veterinary High School carries out an extensive study of radiation therapy in animals.

New Treatment For Lymphoma is Found

The U.S. Army discovers that nitrogen mustard is an effective treatment for lymphoma (cancer of the lymph nodes).

Pet Cancer Awareness Month FAQs

What are the common types of cancer in pets?

Some of the commonly diagnosed dancers in pets include lymphoma, melanoma (skin cancer), mast cell tumors, osteosarcoma (bone cancer), and oral cancer.

How can I reduce the risk of cancer in my pets?

Vets recommend early spaying of female dogs and cats to significantly lower the risk of breast cancer. Also, early neutering of male pets reduces their risk of developing prostate or testicular cancer.

Are all types of pet cancer fatal?

Not all pet cancers are deadly. Some are curable with early detection and intervention, while others are prevented with simple elective surgery.

How to Observe Pet Cancer Awareness Month

  1. Take your pet to the vet

    The best bet against pet cancer is prevention, and early detection and treatment. Taking your furry pal to the vet for cancer screening will help you keep tabs on their health.

  2. Donate to a pet cancer care institution

    Pets living with cancer need all the love they can get. Sending a financial contribution to an institution that assists such pets is a significant way to ensure they receive proper care.

  3. Tell your friends and family about the holiday

    Many people don't know about National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Spreading the word among your loved ones is a vital step towards getting help for more pets that have cancer. If you're on social media, use the hashtag #PetCancerAwareness on your posts about pets.

5 Interesting Facts About Animal Cancer

  1. Certain breeds are more at risk

    Breeds such as golden retrievers, Bernese mountain dogs, and Scottish terriers are more at risk.

  2. Animal cancer is widespread

    There are about 100 types of pet cancer.

  3. Skin is the most prone to cancer

    Melanoma is the most prevalent form of cancer in pets.

  4. Senior dogs have a higher risk

    50% of dogs older than 10 years develop cancer.

  5. Smoke is a risk to pets

    Exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk of dogs and cats getting cancer.

Why Pet Cancer Awareness Month is Important

  1. It boosts awareness about pet cancer

    Cancer is very hard on pets. The more people know about how to make their ailing pets' lives easier, the better.

  2. We learn about advancements in treatment

    Over the years, veterinary scientists have made remarkable progress in the early detection and treatment of pet cancers. And more discoveries are still being made in this regard, which keeps improving cancer treatment success rates for pets. National Pet Cancer Awareness Month is a befitting time to learn about these updates.

  3. We get to honor vets

    Vets work hard to keep pets healthy, yet pet owners tend to forget this sometimes. National Pet Cancer Awareness Month is a reminder to celebrate these heroes.

Pet Cancer Awareness Month dates

2024November 1Friday
2025November 1Saturday
2026November 1Sunday
2027November 1Monday
2028November 1Wednesday
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