As unfair as it may seem, cancer isn’t just a human disease. Your furry friends may also be affected by the potentially deadly illness. Learning about common signs of cancer during Pet Cancer Awareness Month in November can help you protect your pet’s health.

More than 15 million dogs in North America suffer some form of degenerative joint disease, better known as arthritis. Unfortunately, many dog owners are unaware of the pain their pet is experiencing, chalking up the slow movement to the effects of “old age.”

Service dogs help thousands of disabled Americans become more independent. The first service dogs guided visually impaired people, but today, the dogs assist people who have a variety of disabilities, ranging from hearing loss to seizures to cerebral palsy. Before a dog can become a service animal, it must complete an extensive training program that includes several components.

The effects of secondhand smoke on people are well-documented. Exposure to tobacco smoke causes a variety of serious health problems, including stroke, heart disease, and lung cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Not surprisingly, secondhand smoke also increases the risk of health problems for your pet.

Hip dysplasia is a congenital disease that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause lameness and painful arthritis of the joints. It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It can be found in many animals and, rarely, humans, but is common in many dog breeds, particularly the larger breeds.

Luxating patella is a condition where the kneecap (patella) moves out of its normal position. Luxating patella is one of the most common knee joint abnormalities of dogs, but it is only occasionally seen in cats. It may affect one or both of the knees.

The rupture of the cruciate ligament is the most common knee injury in the dog.

This injury has two common presentations. One is the young athletic dog playing roughly who acutely ruptures the ligament and is non-weight bearing on the affected hind leg. 

The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis which can be due to wear and tear on joints from over use, aging, injury, or from an unstable joint such as which occurs with a ruptured ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in the knee. The chronic form of this disease is called degenerative joint disease (DJD). It is estimated that 20% of dogs older than one year of age have some form of DJD.

Heartworm has been diagnosed in dogs in all parts of the world and is actually very common. This may be due to the fact that heartworm has a virtual 100% prevalence rate in unprotected dogs living in highly endemic areas. Heartworm, also known as Dirofilaria immitis, is transmitted by mosquitoes.

There are many types of mites that infect dogs, cats, and other animals. Mites are microscopic arthropod parasites that, for the most part, infect the skin or mucous membranes. Mites can even be present on birds and reptiles.