Advances in veterinary medicine see our beloved pets living longer than ever. Unfortunately, that means cancer impacts more pets and pet owners then ever. A cancer diagnosis can be scary but your Oncologist is there to help guide you through the process and to give you the knowledge to understand what to expect for your pet’s future.
Veterinary Oncologists use many of the same types of cancer treatments that are available in human medicine: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Sometimes a treatment plan includes a combination of these methods. Veterinary Oncologists work with primary care veterinarians and pet families to create a personalized comprehensive treatment plan ranging from staging tests and chemotherapy treatment to palliative care. The goal is always to improve quality of life and to minimize side effects. Medical Oncologists have the knowledge and experience to treat many cancers using chemotherapy and novel therapies (such as immunotherapy) that can help most animals. For some pets this may mean a cure, while for others there may be palliative treatments to improve quality of life.
Examples of common cancers treated with chemotherapy alone or in conjunction with other therapies include:
Prior to starting chemotherapy, the Oncologist may recommend staging tests which determines which organs are affected and how advanced the cancer is. The type of testing recommended is determined by the type of cancer your pet has. Common tests include bloodwork, urinalysis, ultrasound of the abdomen, chest x-rays, CT scan, and lymph node sampling. Staging provides the Oncologist with the most complete information possible about your pet’s disease.