To stress just how important the first annual Canine Cancer Walk will be this weekend in Highland Park’s Sunset Woods Park. Included in this article will be warning signs and data about cancer that could affect your beloved four-legged best friend.
There are Ten Early Warning Signs of Cancer to look for in dogs, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. They are as follows:
- Abnormal swelling that persists or continues to grow.
- Sores that refuse to heal.
- Measurable weight loss.
- A loss of appetite.
- Any type of bleeding or discharge from any opening on your dog’s body.
- An offensive odor coming from your pet.
- Signs that your dog is having a difficult time eating or swallowing.
- A loss of stamina or the hesitation to exercise.
- A persistent lameness or stiffness (not due to old age).
- A difficulty with breathing, urination or defecation.
According to Dr. Larry Thornburg of the University of Missouri, “cancer genes” are mutated genes
in a dog’s body that changes the structure of cell division that is normal in dogs and humans alike.
The mutation is a change in the DNA’s chemical structure. The change in the gene structure is
forever and cannot be regained. There are two groups of genes that control the cell division and
these are termed the “cancer genes.” All of the cancers are the result of the mutations in one or more
than one of the approximate 100 genes that control the division of cells in the dog’s body.
Each dog’s DNA is unique to itself, just like in a human being. All the cells in each dog’s body contains the
DNA of that dog. Each cell contains a nucleus that consists of 60,000 to 100,000 genes. The 100 genes that
are the controlling factors for cell division are those that can help to mutate the “cancer genes.”
The main question that scientists all over the world are trying to answer is when does a cell decide to stop
dividing? When the division of cells is out of control, that is when the cancer multiplies because the
“cancer cells” are overtaking the normal, healthy cells in your dog’s body – thus the resulting factors listed
above. The cells can even travel through the blood stream and metastasize in other organs thus the cancer
spreads and spreads.
Over fifty years of research has gone into the research of cancer prevention and how to stop
these “cancer genes” from multiplying. Billions of dollars have been invested. But we have to do
more in order to save our beloved pets (not to mention ourselves). So, let’s begin with this walk and see
just how far we can stretch this research. As I learn more, I will report back in. Have a great weekend –
and don’t forget this most important walk!