November Is Pet Cancer Awareness Month
In addition to being Cancer Awareness Month, November is Pet Awareness Month and a local organization has answers for animal lovers.
Fetch a Cure was organized about four years ago.
Silverman: To educate and bring awareness, first of all, that pets can get cancer, and where to go for a resource and what to do once your pet does have cancer.
Joanne Silverman is Executive Director of Fetch A Cure.
Silverman: Some of the most common cancers are lymphoma; we hear about that a lot, and mass cell tumors. And along with feline leukemia in cats, we hear of quite a bit.
Cancer is, she said, more common in dogs than cats.
Silverman: Eighty percent of the cancers in dogs are identical to human cancer. More than any other animal, dogs and humans are related, so the more we treat dogs, the more we learn about cancer in humans. Given that dogs age about seven times faster than we do, we can watch what these treatments and these drugs are helping, what's helping, what's not helping, and scientists are able to make the leap to the human side.
There are resources in Richmond for the owners of animals diagnosed with cancer. Fetch A Cure can provide general information and help affording treatment.
Silverman: Also your veterinarian can direct you and give you treatment options as what to do and where to go, both for holistic treatment and some more traditional treatments. We have one medical oncologist in Richmond now, Dr. Amanda Fullmer, who's at the Veterinary Emergency Center in Carytown.
Depending, Silverman said, on the stage reached by the cancer when it's discovered, outcomes are often quite good.
Silverman: Frequently. Typically, if it's a tumor, they can be surgically removed. We were lucky enough; our first companion in crisis that we helped financially, it's been almost two years and he's still with us. He's a nine year-old Boxer and they were able to remove the mass with clean margins and he's doing just great.
Fetch A Cure has developed a national clientele through its website, FetchACure.com, offering information and advice. The advantage to having them here in Richmond:
Silverman: Anyone local in the Virginia area, we're able to financially grant funds for those who can't complete cancer treatments and their pets are qualifying applicants.
There are things that pet owners can do to be aware of possible cancer warning signs in their pet.
Silverman: Keep your hands on your animals and just when you're holding on to them, to kinda feel around for lumps and bumps and anything unusual; make sure you check it out with your veterinarian and just better to be safe than sorry.
John Ogle, WCVE News