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Preventing Cancer in Your Pets

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February 13, 2012 by Linda Ford

Just like there are things you can do to help prevent yourself from getting cancer, such as not smoking and not getting sun- burned, there are things you can do to help prevent your pet from getting cancer.

Some people stick to the old wives tale that a female dog, known as a bitch, should go through her first heat cycle before being spayed. Besides the obvious disadvantage of this way of thinking, the possible chance of an unwanted pregnancy resulting in more of the unwanted overpopulation of dogs in the US, the disadvantages far outweigh the positive aspects of spaying puppies. Not only does early spaying pre- vent unwanted pregnancies, but it greatly reduces the chance of her getting cancer. According to an article by Bernard Pukay in the Ottawa Citizen dated Feb. 5, 2012, a young bitch that is spayed has 0.05 percent chance of developing breast cancer in her entire lifetime. If she has been allowed to go through her first heat cycle, her chances are now 26.0 percent. That’s a huge jump folks. Uterine and ovarian cancers are eliminated due to the fact that those organs

are no longer present in a spayed bitch. Dogs that are not spayed also have a high risk of developing a disease called pyometra or endometritis. Pyometra liter- ally means pus filled uterus. If that uterus ruptures it will kill the dog. According to Pukay, the incidence of uterine infection is reported to be as high as 70 percent of unsprayed female dogs after four years of

age.
Your male dogs need to be “fixed” also.

If a male dog is neutered, he can’t get testicular cancer. This surgery helps to prevent the development of prostate cancer as well.

There are similar arguments to have your female cats, known as “queens,” and the male tom cats fixed. Feline leukemia and feline AIDS are transmitted through mating. These diseases can turn into cancers. Tubal ligations and vasectomies will not prevent these cancers from occurring.

Some dogs come in to heat by the time they are six months old and some cats “come in” before they’re five months old. Puppies and kittens can be “fixed” as early as six to eight weeks of age with no significant long term adverse effects. Most vets like to perform the surgeries between four and five months of age. So, if you received a puppy for Christmas it’s about time to make an appointment. Right now is the beginning of feline breeding season so it’s imperative that you schedule that surgery tomorrow! (Just kidding), but very soon. Spay and neuter your pets early in life and prevent unnecessary headaches down the road.

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