We understand that having a pet diagnosed with cancer can be emotionally draining and difficult to process. Our veterinary oncologist is able to help our pet cancer patients and their owners better understand their diagnosis and choose a treatment plan that best works for them. Whether you opt for chemotherapy or radiation therapy, we will discuss all benefits and potential side effects associated with each treatment. Our goal is to provide you with valuable information, provide answers to all of your treatment questions, and help guide you through the decision making process.
The following signs are possible indications of cancer:
- Change in shape, size, or texture of existing lumps in pet skin
- Constant drooling
- Difficulty urinating or defecating
- Drainage and foul smell coming out of ears
- Foul breath
- Frequent runny nose with or without blood in it
- Lethargy beyond normal levels
- New lumps in skin
- Noticeable change in stride – limping or sudden change in posture
- Noticeable increase in water consumption
- Shifting of teeth
If you notice one or several of these in your pet, we advise you to schedule an appointment immediately to assess the cause.
Common types of pet cancer
Abdominal Cancer– Abdominal cancer in pets affects one or more of the major internal organs (e.g. stomach, kidneys, liver, etc). During annual pet exams, we perform routine tests to check for signs of abdominal cancer.
Bone Cancer – Bone cancer most commonly occurs in larger canine breeds, but can affect smaller canines and felines as well. Osteosarcoma, the most common form of bone cancer in pets, accounts for nearly all cases. Because it is a particularly aggressive disease, quick diagnosis and treatment planning are critical.
Canine Lymphoma – Canine Lymphoma is most notably a concern when your pet develops round, hard bumps on its skin, usually around the armpits, back, or abdomen. If suspected, a number of tests can determine whether the lumps are cancerous. In some cases, a biopsy of the lump is necessary.
Feline Leukemia – Feline Leukemia attacks the immune system (immunosuppression) and can lead to cancer. Typically transmitted from close contact with another cat that has the disease, Feline Leukemia requires close veterinary care to help prolong the life of your pet.
Skin Cancer – There are several types of pet skin cancer, including mast cell carcinoma and melanoma. Having the appearance of an abnormal growth, a veterinarian can determine if your pet has skin cancer. When treated quickly, the cancer can be surgically removed; if it has spread over a larger area, radiation therapy might be necessary.
What pet cancer therapies are available?
Unlike humans, animals with cancer do not experience a lot of pain. While many human cancers are very similar to pet cancers, the way they attack the body are very distinctive; for this reason, treatment procedures are handled differently. Without an absolute cure for pet cancer, therapies are developed to make your pet as comfortable as possible, with the hope of prolonging life. Most cancers can be controlled with close veterinary care, and the side effects are usually minimal. Pet cancer treatment options include chemotherapy and supplements, radiation, and/or surgery. Treatment plans vary depending on what type of cancer a pet is diagnosed with, as well as the invasiveness of the cancer. Sometimes one therapy is used alone. Other times, multiple treatments are combined to attack the cancer in a multidimensional approach. The veterinarian will formulate a specific treatment plan for your pet based on their particular cancer and its development.
If you have any questions about pet medical oncology or therapy, please contact our office.