Category Archives: cancer

Special Achiever Jay Harris Helps Chase Away K9 Cancer

By Linda Cole

Canine cancer is a hard topic for me to write about. It has touched my canine family several times over the years. However, it’s important to shed light on the disease to help dog owners understand how early detection can make a difference in a dog’s survival. Jay Harris, a CANIDAE Special Achiever, is using the sport of dock diving to promote cancer awareness and to raise money for Chase Away K9 Cancer, an organization trying to find a cure for canine cancer. If you’re into dock diving, you’ve heard of Jay Harris and his eight year old yellow Lab, Sir Harley, who is ranked 11th in the world as a Veteran. I had a chance to speak with Jay to find out more about both of his passions.

Chase Away K9 Cancer was founded in 2006 by Cera Reusser after losing her black Lab, Chase, to cancer. Chase was full of life and excelled at dock diving with an Elite Jumper status in Big Air and NW Challenge Championship in 2005 and had a designation of AKC Master. One day, Cera found a lump under Chase’s chin. It was nasal carcinoma. Chase was just shy of her seventh birthday when she died. This grassroots organization raises money for grants to fund cancer research. So far, they’ve raised over $530,000.00 and funded twelve cancer studies with more studies planned for later this year. They also aim to give support, understanding, comfort and guidance to dog owners.

Detecting canine cancer early can make a difference in the prognosis and treatment. Chase Away recommends a nose to tail body check on the 14th of each month. Start at the head and look in their ears, eyes and inside the mouth, checking for tumors. Feel and look over your dog’s entire body, searching for lumps or bumps. Know where to find the dog’s lymph glands and how they feel. If you notice any changes, call your vet. Weight loss should be a red flag.

Jay brings awareness to this disease through his love of dock diving and helps raise money throughout the season for canine cancer. This year, one of Jay’s fundraising events, the 2012 Sir Harley Veterans Tour Chase Away K9 Cancer kicks off the season in honor of his Lab, Sir Harley, who became a Veteran Competitor in DockDogs. Donations will be accepted all year and a check will be presented to Chase Away at the World Championships at Dubuque, Iowa in November. “To date, we are over $3,000 and the jumping season is only getting started.” Money is raised for Chase Away at all regional (club) events. If you attend an event, look for a dog wearing a K9 vest walking around in the crowd and if you are able to help, please donate.

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Spay or Neuter Pets to Prevent Health Problems

By Linda Cole

Getting a puppy or kitten is so much fun. Watching them learn, investigate new things and grow is exciting, but they soon reach the age where they’re mature enough to reproduce. It’s best to have them spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and this safe procedure can help prevent health issues too.

Responsible breeders take great care to make sure the dogs or cats they use in their breeding programs are healthy. They go to extensive lengths to try and eliminate as many genetic defects as they can through responsible breeding. For the rest of us, our duty as responsible pet owners is to spay and neuter our family pets before they are old enough to reproduce.

Some vets recommend spaying and neutering as young as 6-14 weeks, whereas others prefer to wait until the pet is closer to 6-7 months of age. Those in favor of altering as young as possible say it’s the best way to prevent accidental pregnancies. Vets who do early age spaying and neutering believe the pet heals more quickly from the operation and has less discomfort than those who are altered at an older age. However, many pet owners are concerned about putting their 8 week old puppy or kitten through an operation that requires anesthesia. Having your pet altered is a simple and safe operation any qualified vet can perform, whether it’s at an early age or when the pet is older. The important thing is to have them altered to give them a better quality life.

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Does Second-Hand Smoke Affect Pets?


By Ruthie Bently

Second-hand smoke (also known as ETS or environmental tobacco smoke) comes from anything that is smoked: cigarettes, cigars and pipes. Second-hand smoke is a carcinogen that can cause cancer in both dogs and cats. Dogs that live with smokers in a building that is not well ventilated have a higher risk of not only lung cancer but nasal cancer as well. Dogs with short noses like Pugs, French and English Bulldogs and Boxers are susceptible to lung cancer, while dogs with long noses like Afghans, Collies and Labrador Retrievers are susceptible to nasal cancer. The difference is where the carcinogens accumulate in a dog’s body.

Second-hand smoke can also be associated with cardiovascular and respiratory disease, chronic lung infections, asthma, and eye problems. ETS has been extensively researched where humans are concerned, but not as many studies have been done for our companion animals. Studies have shown that tobacco smoke contains up to twenty different carcinogens which can be inhaled by non-smoking bystanders. ETS consists of the smoke released by a burning cigar, cigarette or pipe as well as the smoke exhaled by the smoker themselves. There are over 4,000 chemicals contained in second-hand smoke including arsenic, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, nickel, benzene, chromium and vinyl chloride.

If you are not ready to quit smoking, or are having a hard time accomplishing it, there are several things you can do to help minimize the dangers to your pet. Using air purifiers around the house and air filters on your furnace will help but not alleviate the problem as it takes so long for ETS to clear. Consider smoking outside the house, or make a smoke-free room or two in your house where your pet can go to get away from the smoke.

If it is too cold for you to smoke outside, choose a room to smoke in that can be shut off from the rest of the house. Crack a window in your “smoking room” while you are smoking to help vent the ETS from the house faster. Another important way to help your pet is to brush and groom them regularly; this can remove the smoke residue that collects on their coat. They clean themselves with their tongues and can ingest the toxins as they are grooming their coats. Your veterinarian may suggest an anti-oxidant to minimize the cancer causing effects. If you are concerned and want to learn more about the dangers of second-hand smoke to pets, give your veterinarian a call.

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Spaying or Neutering Can Save Your Dog’s Life


By Ruthie Bently

To spay or not to spay, that is the question. There are two schools of thought when considering spaying or neutering a dog. Do you realize that by spaying or neutering your dog, you may actually be saving their life? You cannot adopt a dog from a shelter without having it spayed or neutered; this is a requirement of most shelters these days. Spaying or neutering your dog also helps keep the pet population down and keeps the animal shelter populations down. This can also keep more pets who need homes from being euthanized.

Spaying a female dog keeps her from having an unwanted pregnancy and from getting mammary cancer, which is the equivalent of breast cancer in a human. Did you know that 25% of unsprayed female dogs get mammary cancer? That is one in four, which is even more frequent than women get breast cancer. Not only that, but an unspayed female dog’s chances of getting mammary cancer rise with each heat cycle she goes through before she is spayed. Spaying your female dog, even after she has had a litter of puppies, will decrease her chance of getting cancer.

Spaying a female dog is called an ova-hysterectomy; the operation is done under a general anesthesia, and the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes are removed. Because the spaying operation is more involved with a female dog, the fees are usually higher. During the recovery period your female dog should be leash exercised for about two weeks and discouraged from leaping or jumping for at least another month or two, to enable her incision to heal.

Neutering a male dog will keep him from looking for a female to spread his genes, and it can help if he is aggressive to other male dogs or likes to start fights. It can also help keep him from getting prostate cancer. Intact male dogs are quite often more independent than a female and will wander. A male dog can smell a female’s pheromones for up to a distance of three miles. Neutering a male dog is called castration; the vet will remove the dog’s testicles and part of the vas deferens, which carries the sperm to the penis. The operation is done under a general anesthesia.

Some people don’t want to neuter their dog because they’re afraid it will gain weight. This doesn’t always happen and can depend on your dog’s normal activity level. If your dog seems to be less active after spaying or neutering, then their daily food allotment might need to be adjusted. You can also try to help them exercise more. Just like people, our pets can gain weight if they eat too much food. Make sure you speak to your breeder or veterinarian before making any changes to your dog’s food.

Some vets will suggest getting your pet spayed or neutered before they reach six months old, as this is when they can become sexually active. Some will suggest waiting and let the dog go through a heat cycle; however unwanted puppies and possible cancers can come from this.

If spaying or neutering my dog will keep them healthier and prolong their life, I am all for it. Aren’t you?

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.