Cancer in your pet is a complex and frightening diagnosis. However, cancer is, in general, a very treatable disease. Research tells us it is the most curable of all the chronic diseases pets can get. The professionals at Village Veterinary Medical Center are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in pets.
Cancer Treatment Is Available
Cancer is a significant reality in the lives of aging, senior pets. Our pets are receiving better nutrition, reside indoors, and are living longer. Therefore, we see more cancer in pets because they are living longer, healthier lives. We provide proactive medicine aimed at catching the diagnosis early, before the disease process gets ahead of us.
When cancer is caught early, there may be more treatment options such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, itherm, surgery, and nutritional support. With new therapies and clinical trials available, many animals respond well and the prognosis for recovery can be quite good.
While there are no specific cancer screening programs for our pet patients, we rely on our regular wellness exams to identify early concerns. Routine blood work, X-rays, and ultrasound help us screen for early cancers before patients begin to show symptoms. These tests are also used to monitor for heart, kidney, and liver disease. Routine dental exams and cleanings facilitate prompt diagnosis of patients with oral cancer.
Any new or changing lump found during an exam is promptly evaluated. Although the vast majority of lumps are totally benign sebaceous cysts, papillomas, or lipomas, there is little way to distinguish these from more sinister malignant tumors without an aspiration or biopsy. We are able to aspirate lumps and evaluate the sample under the microscope while you wait, to identify if cancer is a possibility at that site. If cancer is suspected, we may send the sample for evaluation by a specialist or recommend surgical removal of the mass for biopsy.
Of course, pain management is a priority for all of our patients. Pet owners are supported with information and guidance from our veterinary team.
Consult with Board-Certified Oncologists
When cancer is diagnosed, we provide treatments including surgery and chemotherapy. We consult with a board-certified veterinary oncologist for our cancer patients.
Whenever possible, we manage treatments in our hospital for the comfort of our patients and the convenience of our pet owners. We will refer to another facility should radiation treatments become necessary.
The diagnosis of cancer in your beloved pet can be a scary and sometimes lonely event. Know that we are here for you, even just to talk.
Our goal in cancer management is to maximize your pet’s quality of life, not just quantity. For this reason, we have more flexibility with dosing chemotherapy medications to minimize side effects, yet maximize quality of life. As your pet’s advocate, it is our responsibility to communicate to you the treatment options available, yet to also weigh the pros and cons of therapy options.
Additional Support & Resources
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offers these 10 common signs of cancer in small animal pets:
- Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow.
- Sores that do not heal.
- Weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Bleeding or discharge from any body opening.
- Offensive odor.
- Difficulty eating or swallowing.
- Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina.
- Persistent lameness or stiffness.
- Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defecating.
If your pet has been recently diagnosed with cancer, please check out the album in our lobby: I Have Cancer, But It Doesn’t Have Me. This album features stories from Village Vet patients who have fought the battle against cancer.
Learn more about Pet Cancer from AAHA.