All pet owners want one thing – for their loved pets to be healthy, happy, playful, and active. When animals become spiritless or inactive, pet owners should consider veterinary care. If symptoms progressively worsen, animals should be taken to a veterinary hospital. Many common diseases and illnesses found in animals are easily cured; however, cancer is best treated at an animal hospital staffed by board-certified oncology professionals.
While cancer in animals can be quite common, there is no clear indication what causes cancer. One type of cancer common in dogs is mast cell tumors. Mast cell tumors can occur at any age and most commonly occur in the superficial layers of the skin, but can also occur in the spleen, liver, and bone marrow. Certain breeds of dogs are more inclined to be affected by this disease – thought to be a genetic trait. Breeds that can become victims to mast cell tumors are Boxers, Bulldogs, Beagles, English Setters, and Golden and Labrador Retrievers. Boxers top this list and require regular check-ups by a primary care veterinarian.
An alert pet owner can notice such cancer at a very early stage; however, many times it can go unnoticed. Veterinary doctors may stage the tumor by performing a needle aspirate biopsy/cytology, complete blood count, serum chemistry profile, lymph node aspirate, and an abdominal ultrasound to check the liver and spleen. Further testing may include urine analysis, bone marrow aspirate, ultrasound, and X-rays. If mast cell tumors are detected, the best treatment is complete surgical removal. There are many specialty and emergency animal care hospitals that offer 24-hour emergency care and a full array of board-certified specialists for serious or critical conditions. These facilities are generally high-end surgery centers as well.
It is considered safe to remove the mast cell tumor, as well as the tissue that surrounds it within a range of 2-3 cm. In some areas, where this 2-3 cm rule cannot be applied, a repeated biopsy and radiation treatment are done to ensure no further growth. Low-grade tumors can easily be cured through local surgery, whereas high grade tumors may require systematic procedures or chemotherapy. For this reason, it becomes crucial to continuously check your dog’s health to prevent cancer and seek treatment in early stages. While the cause remains unknown, seeking immediate treatment is an effective, preventative measure to ensure pet health. If large bumps are detected in your pet, it is important to remember to visit the nearest veterinary hospital that offers specialty and emergency animal care.