Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer. We whisper the word, fear the consequences, and our hearts break when cancer touches loved ones, including furry family members.  But according to veterinary specialists, cancer is the most treatable—and curable!—of any chronic pet disease.

This info first posted back in May of 2013, when we celebrated Pet Cancer Awareness Month. That’s since been changed to November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month. But I’ve updated this post in May 2020 because of my personal experience with the disease in Bravo-Dawg–you can read the first post here. The amazing folks at Morris Animal Foundation address many kinds of cancer and have funded numerous studies and even trained researchers to continue the search for the cure.

According to Dr. David Haworth, president and CEO of Morris, “One in 2 dogs will develop cancer, and 1 in 4 dogs will die of the disease.  The Foundation leverages the best minds in veterinary medicine and science to work on understanding the cause (funding over 40 studies on cancer in dogs at any given time…).”

cancer

Sadly, Golden Retrievers have a high incidence of canine cancer.

WHAT PETS ARE AFFECTED BY CANCER?

Cancer strikes cats and dogs at any age, but is the #1 cause of disease and death in old pets. Dogs suffer from more kinds of cancer than any other domestic animal. One of my dear friends recently had her 13-year-old Border Collie/Lab dog diagnosed with brain cancer when Beauty developed neurological signs and trouble making her rear legs work properly. My childhood Sheltie, Lady–the dog that helped me learn about dog training–died of bladder cancer.

Cats have their own share of cancers. When I still worked as a vet tech, we treated a number of feline patients suffering from breast tumors.  The chance for breast cancer in cats can be drastically reduced or even eliminated by spaying prior to sexual maturity. Protecting cats from contracting FeLV (feline leukemia virus) also can prevent certain kinds of cancers.

COMMON CANINE CANCER AND CAT CANCER

Skin cancer is the most common canine tumor, followed by breast cancer, lymphoma, mouth tumors and bone cancers.The most common feline cancers include lymph gland cancer, skin cancer, and fibrosarcoma. While an estimated 50 percent of all pets die from this disease, the causes are rarely known.

It’s very common for older dogs to develop harmless cysts and warts (yes, I’m watching Magic since he’ll soon turn 7), but 80 percent of lumps and bumps found in cats are malignant. That’s a great reason to pet-pet-pet your cat (and dog) from head to tail on a daily basis to find anything new that needs attention. Seren loves getting this kitty massage and at age 16 and with her Siamese heritage, she’s at increased risk. The key to cure and successful treatment is early, accurate diagnosis. Have a veterinarian check any new wart, lump or slow-to-heal sore you find.

DIAGNOSIS & TREATING PET CANCER

An ultrasound, X-ray or other imaging technique can find tumors on the inside of the body. Different treatments work best on specific kinds of cancer. Surgery can disrupt protective barriers that keep the cancer from spreading, says Dr. Nichole Ehrhart, a cancer specialist at University of Illinois. “What could have been a perfectly curable cancer can be compromised,” she says. Rather than removing and sending the whole lump off for diagnosis, she recommends a needle biopsy be done first. That removes cells from the growth for screening to see what type of cancer it may be.

Your regular veterinarian can easily treat some cancers with surgery. However, a veterinary oncologist offers advanced options and provides the best chance of successful treatment. Surgery, radiation, and the same kinds of chemotherapy drugs used in people are also effective in pets. There’s a major difference—cats and dogs don’t lose their hair, and rarely feel sick during treatment.

Every single pet is different, so the treatments are designed to suit specific individuals and the type of cancer involved. For instance, radiation therapy cures up to 80 percent of some types of tumors. When diagnosed early, chemotherapy shrinks and eliminates some tumors. Because most pets are much smaller than people, cancer drug doses tend to be much smaller and can be inexpensive. Cancer drugs are typically developed and approved for use in humans. Pets also tolerate surgeries more readily than humans. For example, bone cancers are so very painful that just removing the diseased area can make your dog feel happy and playful again.

INNOVATIVE CANCER TREATMENTS

Besides the standard three treatments, some cancers respond better to therapies like cryosurgery (freezing the tumor). That’s effective for skin cancers on the face, which can be caused by sun exposure in white-faced pets. Other innovative treatments include heat therapy (hyperthermia) that “cooks” the cancer to kill it, using sound waves. Gene therapy is promising. For example, genetically engineered tumor vaccines are designed to target mouth cancers in dogs.

There are therapeutic “cancer” diets for dogs that prove helpful. A number of complementary therapies including herbs and other supplements can help cats and dogs better deal with the stress of cancer. To help with research to find more effective treatments and cures, please consider making a donation to the Morris Animal Foundation cancer initiative, perhaps in the name of a beloved pet or to honor a special animal lover in your life. Find out more about donation options here.

QUALITY OF LIFE, NOT “QUANTITY” OF LIFE

Sometimes cure isn’t possible. But a remission that gives you more time to spend with your pet is a gift beyond measure. After all, pet lovers agree that quality of life is more important than a prolonged life that’s painful. You may need to decide whether to treat his illness—and/or when to help him leave this world for the next.

It was hard learning the news about my friend’s dog Beauty. I remember when they got Beauty as a puppy for their 7-year-old (now-20) daughter….and she’s taking it the hardest of all, of course. I gave her a copy of my aging dog book to answer some questions about options and what to expect, including contact info about some of the movers and shakers in cancer research. And I shared this biggest, most important point:

Pets don’t know they have cancer. They don’t anticipate and so have no fear of what’s to come. All Beauty knows is how she feels this moment. As long as she feels good, and is with you, she’s happy. Any decision you make, with love in your heart, cannot be wrong.

Have you ever lost a beloved dog or cat to cancer? What type was it and how old were they? How did you know–my folks took Lady to the vet when she urinated blood on the fresh snow. What treatment did you choose (or decline) and why? What is your best advice and tips for pet parents facing the cancer challenge with their pets? Thanks for sharing!

YouTube Button

Subscribe to Amy’s YouTube Channel

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: Odd Couples & Bloomin’ Creativity!

Roses

Robin Hood pink clusters on each side of the overgrown path offer contrast to the Martha Gonzales crimson in front. Even the weeds look good! Image Copr. Amy Shojai, CABC

That picture is from last year’s garden, but this year promises to be even more spectacular. The roses have just now begun to bloom, and the wildflowers–blue bonnets and paintbrush–cover the banks along highways. All of Mom-Nature’s creativity has me inspired to create, too. How about you?

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Check out the amazing videos below, too! For new followers to the blog, welcome! and you can expect more cat and dog specific schtuff later in the week on Wednesday and Friday.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

 London Book Fair Recap

Writer Beware: Kerry Jacobson this so-called “book publicist” has stolen from lots of writers!

Open Letter to My Boobs just a wonderful post by a gifted (and brave) blogger

Misadventures in Research from Robert Liparulo, a fun (and scary!) quick read

Writer Beware: Silver Publishing Gone

PET-ASTIC SCHTUFF

CAT RABIES VACCINE ALERT! Production of Merial’s PureVax Feline Rabies vaccine has been put on hold due to a manufacturing discrepancy. The dry material of the vaccine comes in tiny vials that must be reconstituted (liquified) before injection, and some of these instead turn into a gel-like consistency or include precipitates (floating solid material). These vaccines should NOT be used–your veterinarian will have been advised about the issue. However, since PureVax is the only non-adjuvant “recombinant DNA” vaccine (in other words, one that greatly reduces the chance of injection-site sarcomas in cats) it’s often the vaccine of choice for our kitties. That’s the only one I want my cats to get. The vaccine is on backorder for 6-8 weeks probably until mid-summer. So check with your vet about alternatives to be sure your cats are protected, since rabies vaccination is often a matter of state and/or local law.

Bark & Paws 2014 in Denison Texas bring your pooch for this all day fun event!

Stem Cell Therapy for Feline Stomatitis

Unite To Fight Pet Cancer from the awesome Morris Animal Foundation–honor your cats and dogs and save the life of future pets. Blue Buffalo will match funds for the “virtual walk” up to $50,000–see the video, below.

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? I’m a new Brand Ambassador for The Honest Kitchen and you can get FREE samples here, check it out! (Karma loves this!). Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: Scat-Man, Scams, Pirates & Goldens Rule!

PoohBear

Pooh Bear in his tux at age six weeks…and passed away August 8, 2013 at the age of 13. Image Copr. Stephanie Collins/Flickr

Enroll your Golden in the Morris Animal Foundation program (listed below) and give hope to all the Goldens who have come before like Pooh Bear…and all the wonderful doggies of our future.

I’ve recently received several emails from WhiteHall Publishing urging me to sign up for a $175 (or more) listing in their online catalog that purports to get your book noticed by readers. Uhm…well, I don’t think so.

The company is a publishing service, something they define as a “brokered book” which basically means for a fee they will publish your title. The principles of this group may well offer terrific one-on-one coaching and advice, but posting a digital online catalog of X-numbers of books IMO is not a smart move for individual authors. They’ve advertised such things for actors forever–pay yer $$ to get a headshot/name listed–and that was the days of PRINT doorstop-size tomes no agent or casting director had the time or inclination to read.

Think about it–you’re also a reader. Will you go Internet surfing to find an online “catalog” of books for your next reading purchase? Let’s get real here. This offer basically “publishes” a digital book of author’s books (no rhyme or reason to the choices, just whoever has the funds to pay), and then the AUTHOR gets to “share” it with his audience/readers…and that’s supposed to increase the likelihood someone will buy your book. Oh, and the promo says it gets “shared” with 5000 others…who are those others? Whitehall mostly publishes horse and pet books–is your book a horse or pet book? Does the 5000 refer to other authors now in their database? Are authors your target audience? How many copies of your book will you need to sell to pay for that $175?

Hey, maybe you believe this is a great option–then go for it. But I would urge anyone to think critically about such offers, and make sure what you get for your $$ is the value you need.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Check out the SQUEEE! cute pet-astic videos at the bottom, too. It’s fascinating to think how dolphins communicate–and compare it to they parakeet chatter. I’ve also included another Thrillerfest video from the awesome MEDICAL THRILLER panel. For new followers to the blog, welcome! and you can expect more cat and dog specific schtuff later in the week on Wednesday and Friday.

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

 Know What Your Rights Are Worth

Win A Custom Book Cover! Deadline Sept 6, thanks to Karen Dionne for sharing this (btw, it’s her daughter!)

Writer Beware: Jonquil Press & Red Lizard Press

Author Solutions (Scam?) at Miami Book Fair from David Gaughran…come on David, don’t hold back, tell us what you REALLY think!

I Love Scribd! I’ve posted excerpts from my books there before…but when someone uploaded the ENTIRE “AGING CAT” book without permission, that hissed me off (it had been downloaded several thousand times). Check for your titles. Scribd makes it easy to get ’em removed, though.

Albee Agency Now Sandpiper Publicity BEWARE!!!

 Choosing Distributors Carefully if you’re self pub’ing here’s a note of caution: Smashwords vs Draft2Digital

PET-CENTRIC SCHTUFF

 Calling All Goldens! Retrievers, that is…Morris Animal Foundation needs YOUR dog (under two years old) for a study that can help stamp out canine cancer! Will you help?

Feline Vaccine Advisory Panel Report thanks to my colleagues at GoodNewsforPets

Thanks to my cat-writing colleague Barbara Stein for pointing me to the cat-egorical video, below.

From the 2012 Thrillerfest Panels

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered–post in the comments. Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: Veterinarians, Vaccines, Snakes & Cheese

Amy with Tina Martinez of Morris Animal Foundation

Amy with Tina Martinez of Morris Animal Foundation at the reception celebrating 65 years helping animals!

This past week has been a challenge–exciting, fun, head-pounding angst, and more. This blog migrated from one server to a new one that also hosts my author/speaker website and there were a few hiccups along the way. Not all subscribers automatically transferred over 🙁  and so I hope you’ll please SHARE this blog with all your pet-centric fur-loving and writer-icity friends and colleagues to get the Bling, Bitches & Blood back on track.

If y’all are ever in need of a guru to help with a blog migration, check out Tanya at Blogelina.com. She made it as painless and saved me many-several gray hairs.

Part of those gray hairs had to do with scheduling the move at the same time I was out of town. I attended the 85th Western Veterinary Conference in Las Vegas, and my eyeballs nearly fell out of my head with all the reading, computer-note-taking, and video-picture-collecting needed. Yep, that’s why I’m wearing glasses in the picture.

I heard veterinarian and other expert speakers expound on the latest innovations in cat and dog health and behavior and attended dozens of sessions. The exhibition hall offered even more great information.

My–head–nearly–exploded! Hopefully, the info won’t leak out my ears before I get everything transcribed.

One of the highlights was attending a Morris Animal Foundation reception celebrating their 65th anniversary–wow! Lots of milestone anniversaries. There also were lots of NEW schtuff that I’ll report on as I’m able to catch my breath. An exciting innovation to watch is ZEUTERIN from Arc Sciences that allows the boy doggies to be neutered without surgery (they’re working on a cat version, never fear!). There’s also some new ways of checking to see if your pet NEEDS that vaccination booster or can wait a bit with an antibody screening test called VacciCheck. And lots of news on the pet insurance front, too. That’s just the tip of the furry iceberg, too–I have an 8-inch stack of materials to sift through.

You can get a taste of what you missed in the video, below. Lots of furry fixes, too! (including snake venom info!).

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo writer links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. This week, in honor of the Oscars, you’ll also find some screenwriting (and some teleplay) contests, thanks to my actor colleagues.

From my International Thriller Writer buddies, you can get all the top thriller writers in one anthology, LOVE IS MURDER, out in paperback tomorrow!

WRITER-ICITY SCHTUFF

Amazon Changes Affiliate Rules and this blogger has his take on the situation.

Anthology Submissions Open from Writers Guide to EPublishing

Penguin Watching Partridge (India Imprint) from Writer Beware

Close-Up TV News & Radio Pay-To-Play I have gotten half a dozen pitches from these folks wanting me to pony-up major $$$ to be interviewed/featured. DON’T.

Facebook & Twitter App in Kindle lets you tweet/FB your opinion right from the book!

SCREEN-WRITER-ICITY

Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, i.e. the Oscars.

 PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.

 Austin Film Festival Heart of Film Screenwriting Competition

Scriptapalooza.

Script Pipeline.

Blue Cat Screenwriting Competition.

PET-CENTRY SCHTUFF

The American Canardly Association, Registration for YOUR pet!

Cheetahs & Shelter Dogs, a win-win partnership *check out the VIDEO below, too!*

Apps for Cats to turn your tablet in the BEST EVAH CAT TOY! thanks to my cat behavior consultant colleague Beth Adelman

Cats Get Frank Lloyd Wright Digs, this is great–thanks to the awesome cat-centric Deb Barnes for the head’s up.


 

http://youtu.be/_I8Dwdrgv1Y

http://youtu.be/vUK1B91o6ls
http://youtu.be/xfD6xDxB57s

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my  THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Monday Mentions: Turtles, Snakes & Writer-icty

I hope your Memorial Day is restful, positive, and brings you all that you wish. Those lost and the causes for which they fought for our sake is indeed something to remember.

I also have to share that the Magical-Dawg, roughneck that he is, has managed to injure himself in some way. Oh, he’s clueless. Apparently it doesn’t hurt but the lop-sided swelling on his right jaw turns him into a bizarre hamster-esque creature with a pseudo cheek pouch. Y’all may remember he has  in the past turned into hippopotamus head due to insect stings–but this isn’t itchy, painful, or soft. It’s a goose-egg hard lump under his right jaw/ear. Maybe the Seren-kitty finally nailed him SCORE! I feared it might be a snake bite (we have copperheads and rattlers) which inspired me to share the video, below. It’ll come in handy if any of y’all ever need to dodge cobras!

But since there’s no pain, more likely it’s a simmering abscess or another allergic reaction. I’ll keep you posted. Of course, it happens the first day of a long holiday weekend. Sheesh.

This week I’m channeling my inner turtle–or trying to do so. A hard shell impervious to slings and arrows, a safe retreat in which to hide my head and eyes, soothing water to cleanse myself–ah that is peace! I’ve someone cleared my calendar to work on final edits of LOST & FOUND thriller. Evenings I’ll be at rehearsal — yes, my friends, I’m in another show and we’re closing in on tech week followed by performances every weekend in June. Maybe I’ll have pictures at some point to share.

Monday Mentions is the mash-up-day of all the neato-torpedo links and videos, pet schtuff and bling and writer-icity crappiocca collected over the past week. Some of this “schtuff” can be hard to categorize and may fit more than one topic so I urge you to at least scan them all.

WRITING SCHTUFF

Buzz Your Book, an awesome how-to from Doug Clegg and MJ Rose (they really know their stuff!)

Bob Mayer Chat on PubIt! I had to miss this in person but thankfully it’s still available, some GREAT info! (he’s my publisher for the fiction, woot!)

Interesting Survey Results from self-published authors (thanks to Jillian Dodd for pointing out the link).

Writers Digest Self Pub Book Contest Deadline Extended to June 15

Houghton Mifflin Publisher Bankruptcy

DON’T Pay for Online Ad…Until You Read This great post from Jane Friedman

SoonerCon in Oklahoma City June 15-17 looks like a great session!

Augmenting Your Twitter Audience posted over at Piper Bayard’s awesome blog.

PET SCTHUFF

Great Video Why ‘Alpha/Beta’ Wolf Terms Ain’t Accurate

Cat Being Vacuumed Oh–my–gosh, my Seren-Kitty would sooooo be out of there! Is kitty on drugs? Learned helplessness? Too pudgy to escape?

Pain Therapy for Dogs from the awesome Morris Animal Foundation

Cat Pain Therapy also from Morris Animal Foundation–they rock!

CatLandia Spoof Video for TNR this will make you smile!

Cesar Milan Feedback (don’t watch if you’re a fan…just saying, the scientist may hiss you off)

Soldier Trades Cigarettes To Save Dog

Poison Ivy & Pets Great info from The Creative Cat blog (thanks Bernadette!) ew, hate this stuff! and while pets aren’t as susceptible they can spread it to YOU

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with excerpts from the forthcoming THRILLER, LOST & FOUND, and pet book give-aways!