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jlk2525's avatar

What factors could cause two pets to have cancer at the same time?

Asked by jlk2525 (176 points ) March 31st, 2014

I have a white cat who is 13 years of age. She had a malignant tumour on her eyelid. Had another cancer above her eye of a different kind. Had eyelid one has been removed twice, no sign of return yet however the one above the eye is coming back slowly. She also has a heart murmur but I put that down to old age.

Today I found out my dog has breast cancer. She is 12 years old and otherwise healthy until this point. Her breathing has always been heavy after exercise but has gotten worse which is why we took her to the vet. She has a rotten tooth right at the back (Went unnoticed, front teeth all ok) and the vet said this could cause the breathing issue so hopefully the cancer has not spread.

Is there any factors in my household that may be causing this? I know my cat being white would be one, and my dog wasn’t desexed before she first when on heat which increases the risk.

Im curious as to whether anyone has had this happen and how they dealt with it. Any insight and advice is welcome.

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18 Answers

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’d say this is just a very unfortunate coincidence. Especially since it’s two different types of cancers and because they both had risk factors (not being fixed before first heat, being white) for the type of cancer they have.

Sorry about your babies. :(

I’m a hypochondriac and I find that I’m now focusing more on my pets’ health than my own imaginary problems. We have their annual exams/vaccinations this Saturday, and there are a couple of things I’ve noticed that are worrying me. Hopefully it’s nothing and they’re healthy. They’re pretty young (our cat is 3 and our dog is not quite a year-and-a-half), so I suppose there’s a good chance they are.

jlk2525's avatar

Thank you @livelaughlove21, I have my fingers crossed for you that your babies get the all clear at their check up! Please keep me posted as to how they go.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@jlk2525 Thanks. :) I’m sure I’m just being worried for no reason, as usual.

I also wanted to say that, since both animals are over 10 years old, I doubt there’s anything in your house causing these cancers. The older an animal gets, the more likely they are to develop various cancers. I’m sure you know this, but I forgot to say that in my first response.

I actually didn’t know dogs got breast cancer until now. Silly me.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Cats also can get cancer from viruses. But I’m guessing with two different areas involved it’s not viral.

Wealthadvisor's avatar

You are correct regarding cancer in older pets. We have had similar experiences with both cats and dogs. One dog was 16 when he developed a tumor on his spleen, another at 13 with nasal cancer. Our cat was 16 when she developed a tumor in one of her lungs.

We have done a lot of investigating over the years and have found that household insecticides, carpet protection sprays, lawn fertilizer, some flea and tick medicine tend to be carcinogenic. That does not necessarily mean that they will cause cancer in a pet, but they can be a trigger.

Scent dogs do a lot of sniffing. They sniff at everything. So just taking your dog for a walk through the neighborhood can lead to inhaling lawn fertilizer and other sprays used by the county or a neighbor. They sniff floor cleaner, carpet cleaner, lubricating sprays, anything that can cause irritation or build up of chemicals in the body that the dog or cat does not get rid of.

We just try to keep our pet exposure to chemicals at a minimum. We take are cats and dogs for annual checkups to check for lumps. Catching them early can lead to a cure almost every time. But, that being said, we have the same exposures. Some people and pets never get cancer and some do. Medical science still does not fully understand why, but they do know that excessive smoking, drinking and eating certain foods can cause cancer.

JLeslie's avatar

It might be a coincidence, but might not. It would be interesting to know if other pets on yoru street or in your building are also getting cancer. Have you lived there long?

SpatzieLover's avatar

Important Pet Cancer Facts

1. Cancer accounts for nearly 50% of all disease-related pet deaths each year.

2. Cancer is the #1 natural cause of
death in older pets.

3. Dogs get cancer at roughly the same
rate as humans.

4. One in four dogs die of cancer.

5. Over 50% of the dogs over age 10 will
die of cancer.

6. Just like in humans, cancer can occur in virtually any part of your dog’s body.

7. Approximately 1 in 4 dogs develops a tumor of some kind during his lifetime.

8. The cause of cancer in pets, just like people, is largely unknown.

9. Common risks of obesity in pets include many forms of cancer.

10. While cancer is not as common in cats as it is in dogs, it’s often more aggressive.

SOURCE: Pet Cancer Awareness

KNOWITALL's avatar

My cousin (an ER nurse) says that all of us have cancer in us, some just develop the cells and some don’t.
My old boy died from cancer and he didn’t smoke or drink or anything, and he exercised every day. RIP Fleetwood Mac, best boy ever.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, coincidence, risk factors aside.
I had a white cat that had skin cancer on her ear tips. Also an appaloosa horse with pink skin that got cancer on the sheath of his penis and a dog that had mammary gland cancer, tumor, as well.
White animals of all kinds are at great risk of skin cancers and elderly animals are at risk of all cancers.

If your pets are similar in age, 10 or over, they are considered seniors and the risk of heath problems goes up just as it does for humans.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Coloma I was thinking the same…white animals. Also, certain breeds of both cats and dogs have greater cancer risk factors.

@jlk2525 What are the breeds of your cat and your dog?

jlk2525's avatar

My cat is just a regular domestic and my dog is a Jack Russell Terrier. I’m not sure if any neighbours animals have had cancer unfortunately @JLeslie. I’m sorry to hear @KNOWITALL about Fleetwood Mac. I love animals so much but I can’t handle this part of their life. They are like my best friends I can’t imagine life without both of them.

It makes me wonder whether a wireless internet presence contributes. Regardless, I can’t change the fact they have cancer I just now have to proceed and try to give them as happy lives as they have left possible. Thank you to everyone who responded. I didn’t know cancer in these animals was so prevalent. Such a sad fact.

Coloma's avatar

@jlk2525 Sometimes there are no answers, things just happen and as sad as it is to lose our pets, we must remember that helping them die peacefully and making those tough decisions is part of our responsibility to them as they have no voice of their own.
We will always cherish our memories of them but, even tough their loss hurts, it also opens up space to take in a new animal and give it a wonderful life.
My best advice is to not over think things, just be with them and make their end days as happy and comfortable as possible and make sure you have them euthanized when the time comes.

Better a day too early than a day too late.
Peace to you.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@jlk2525 Thanks, and I also have a hard time with the older phase of their lives. Petting him until he passed was almost as hard as being with my grandfather when he passed.

The good thing about it, is that our dogs and cats don’t have to suffer like humans do, since euthanasia for them is blessedly available and legal. Once Flee’s quality of life decreased and he no longer wagged with me, I knew it was time to let him go. :(

Coloma's avatar

@KNOWITALL Yes, it is the most heart breaking pain to go through, but, what’s even worse are the many pet owners that, because of their own neurotic fears of death, allow their pets to suffer because they can’t face making the decision to euthanize.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Coloma Very true, there’s a fine line there, and I really struggled with it myself. I figured four pain pills a day was enough for him, he just laid there hurting and I couldn’t stand that. I gotta stop, gonna bawl.

Coloma's avatar

@KNOWITALL I hear ya…I have held all of my animals in my arms in those final, euthanasia moments. Cats, dogs, bunnies, geese, and slept out in the pasture with my old horse the night before he was put down. THAT was one of the worst, he had to be limped out to the field next to his gravesite to avoid him going down in his barn, which would have resulted in having to chain him up and drag him out with a tractor. Gah!

So we had an all night, graveside vigil so he could be rolled into his grave after his euthanasia.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Coloma Aw, I’m sorry, you’re such a good mama though. We should open a rescue together, I’d love to do that ft for the rest of my life really. Either that or hunt down the jerks that hurt animals, I could do that too…lol

Coloma's avatar

@KNOWITALL Me too!
Good thing whoever ran over one of my little park ducks last week, I believe, on purpose, given the forensics of things, well…I told my daughter that she would have had to bail me out of jail for assault, and she laughed and said she would bake me a cake with a file in it. haha

Okay…off topic rambles…sorry mods, couldn’t be helped.

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