Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Cancer is an illness never far from my thoughts since Annie's Christmas and New Year surgeries. Do I consider my baby a cancer survivor? Now that we are approaching the post-surgery six-month mark, yes, most definitely I do consider her a survivor. Every day I wonder how much longer Artie and I will be fortunate to have her in our lives. She is our joy, our comfort and our unconditional love.

Yesterday I came across a few articles mentioning May as Pet Cancer Awareness Month. Current research figures indicate that approximately 30% of older pets succumb to cancer and it does not matter if they are pure bred or mixed breeds. That percentage is very shocking to me. I remember a day when the words 'cancer' and 'pet' were never spoken in the same sentence.

What causes cancer in pets? My guess would be the same things that cause them in humans. Do they come from the environment, cleaning products, additives in foods, exposure to the sun, a glitch in the reproduction of aging cells? The fact is we do not know.

Personally I feel cancer can come from all of these things and probably more. My concern is to try and prevent it from occurring in the human and animal members of my family. That is why I began a home cooking program for Annie and Buddy; to improve their health and give them longevity. 

I would consider Buddy a success with 2 years 9 months of renal failure made smooth sailing with home cooking and the proper medical protocols my little man had the best quality of life until the end. Buddy was also a cancer survivor, living almost 4 years after amputation of his tail. (The location of the growth did not leave enough area to obtain good margins.) Annie's urinary tract infections have been less frequent with home cooking. The cancer diagnosis was upsetting but if cancer is caused by what we eat, Annie has only had the benefit of home cooking for a few of her 10 years.

My cousin recently lost her 13 year old dog to cancer. We lost our dog Buster to Lymphoma just a few months shy of his sixth birthday. Devastating does not begin to describe Buster's loss to us. What we thought was a case of swollen glands swiftly became a cancer diagnosis that ended with his death 3 months later. The diagnosis was particularly hard on my father since Buster and my Dad were inseparable buddies. Buster's death was the only time I ever saw my Dad cry. That was more than 20 years ago. If Buster received the same diagnosis now, he would have a fighting chance with new medical advances.

Our furry family members need what our human family members need to prevent cancer - for all of us to be aware and to work towards a common goal of eradicating cancer in our lifetimes.  Start educating yourself about cancer in pets by following this link to The American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation website:

Also, The Magic Bullet Fund website, an organization dedicated to educating people about pet cancers and providing assistance is a good source of information as well:

The ASPCA has information on cancer in cats and a corresponding page on cancer in dogs:

No comments:

Post a Comment