Okay I'm not a vet and nor do I profess to be a know it all. But I have sat through seminars on cancers and read an awful lot about various cancers in dogs. I would like to say im a logical kind of person who can reason something through to a good understanding of it.
What we have to remember about cancer is this. "If their was a cure for dog cancer, their would of been a cure for human cancer many years ago"!
A dear friend of mine was talking to me about cancer in dogs which has prompted this blog update.
We know cancers are caused in animals by passive smoking. So if your a smoker in the house, or you do it on the doorstep and your dogs out there with you, your dog can inhale smoke. This was told to me by a top specialist in the UK on dog cancer.
Farmland chemicals play a part in dog cancer, and vehicles emitting toxic fumes. Dogs walk lower to the ground and they are inhaling fumes from vehicles as vehicle fumes do not rise far into the sky.
Now a scientist told me this as he was studying global warming. They did an extensive study and they discovered that airplanes pump fumes direct into the atmosphere. But car fumes sank back down to earth and only went so high. Who do you believe as we are all let to believe its vehicles. Anyway thats what I have been told, take it or leave it.
Now what is not told to many of us is that everything we do with our dogs for the betterment or we think it is, can have a detrimental effect in other ways. Ie vaccines, flea wormers as they are after all either injected into the skin, or ingested or spot ons to the skin.
I suppose its like when we take tablets ourselves you can relate to the long list of side effects included in the package. Their are side effects to every medication a dog takes too. Just because its a dog doesn't mean it wont have side effects to some meds.
The biggest study every done on Vizsla was the Hoffman study. It concluded that the following cancers were triggered by Neutering a Vizsla too early, or at all.
Mast Cell Tumors
transitional cell carcinoma,
The only cancers which benefitted from early spaying were in fact mammary cancer which is a small percentage.
As far as we are all aware their are no UK studies done on cancers in dogs. Yes in other breeds, its now started as I was asked to submit a health survey for Pugs about a month ago for Nottingham university. I have not yet had MCT in a pug, but they are seeing huge increases in Pugs. Maybe if they spoke to America they could conclude study's quicker but it doesn't work like that. I did email the university and said I had never had it, and probably because I wouldn't spay or neuter my Pugs. They replied I was lucky that I had not had it in Pugs. But they didnt recognise the spay or neutering could be the issue. Maybe they will after their study.
The UK Weimaraner is pretty much well known that they all seem to have MCT during their lifetime. Their doesn't seem to be a magical breed line that is cancer free. The chances are if you do not neuter your dog or spay your bitch then you may not see MCT in its lifetime. Or if you do it could be late in life.
Cancers also effect dogs from the age of 6 more commonly as the are getting past the middle part of their lifetime. Just like us humans that cancers are more common the older we get.
I wish I could say all dogs pedigree or cross breed are healthy but they are not. Because they are living in the same century as we are, and humans a few years ago it was 1 in 4 humans would have cancer, now its something like 1 in 2. So that means you or I will have cancer in our lifetime. When I was at college we had all manner of cross breeds come in. The first thing we would do is an assessment of the coat, and skin. We had to mark on a diagram if we felt any lump, bump or mass. So we didn't cut into it with blades. Many Cross breeds were full of lumps under the coat, whats strange also is many owners didn't even know, as the hair covered them. I remember a West highland terrier come to me, and he was so lethargic. I could see a large lump in his front lymph area, and then I felt under the back of jaw line and it was swollen. I rang the owner and said "Your dog is very ill and needs a vet"! NO its not said the owner, and I said Im sorry but the dog is standing here with his head down and very depressed. I can not say what I think this is as I can not diagnose anything but your dog needs a vet today. Owner was not happy, picked up his dog and took to vet. He had lymphoma and it was obvious to me. It can come on so quickly that people miss it. Six weeks previously when the dog came he was fine. He rang me later in the day very apologetic as he didn't believe me, the dog had tests done, and with in two weeks the diagnosis of lymphoma was given from samples taken. The dog sadly died with in 4 weeks of me seeing him.
We shouldn't lay blame at anyones feet as their is a huge huge lot of reasons why cancers occur. I wont blame my mother if I get Cancer, and she wouldn't blame her mother if she got cancer.
Their are NO DNA MARKERS for cancer. Maybe one day in the very long long future their will be. But until that time we have to do what we can for the betterment of our own dogs.
If like humans is 1 in 2 that will get cancer then indeed their is not a lot people can do, as its not just UK this is a world wide issues in all dog breeds.
Their is chemo for dogs which is given, but it generally doesn't give a cure, it may delay the inevitable and the choice is yours. Some people will do it regardless, and others just let their animals live out their life with out giving drugs. What ever you choose is your personal choice.
As for cancers, they are here to stay sadly. If a dog has cancer it should not be bred from just like no ill dog should be bred from. We should continue to breed through the healthiest specimens and good natured dogs. We should not breed sick dog to sick dog. That would be cruelty. If you have a dog and you want to breed it their are relevant health tests for every breed. But their will not be a cancer test for many years to come.
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Mrs Rachel Savage