By Karin Krisher
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. That means pink versions of all our favorite foods—and lots of charity events playing host to crisp fall air and motivated, caring throngs of people. It also means we’re paying attention to those other survivors and fighters in our lives—dogs.
Breast cancer in dogs is a common occurrence; among unspayed female dogs the risk is three times what it is in women, at 26 percent. (Canine Cancer Awareness)
The most common tumor in canines is a mammary tumor, and the chances of a dog developing a second tumor are three times greater if she has had a first.
Further, webmd highlights the need for early prevention: “Spaying a female before the first heat cycle reduces her risk of breast cancer to less than 1 percent. If she is spayed after one heat period, her risk is still only 8 percent. After two heat cycles, however, there is no reduction in risk.”
These statistics should make you cautious. Dog breast cancer isn’t a heavily media-backed cause—yet—so it’s sometimes easy to forget how common it really is, and why it’s so important to check your dog for cancer.
Chase Away K9 Cancer has come up with a great way to stay on top of early detection: check your dog every 14th of the month. That’s coming up this Sunday. Give your dogs complete checks, from noses to toes to tails and back. Check the insides of the ears and around the throat. Check their undersides thoroughly. If you spot anything mildly abnormal, call your vet to set up an appointment.
And reach out! Chatting with others about dog breast cancer is a great way to learn more and become an advocate for a cure. Do you have a story about your dog and breast cancer, or about how awareness has helped his or her quality of life? Tell us about it in a comment!