As our pets are living longer and healthier lives, we are seeing more
and more develop heart disease and cancer - just like people. Dogs, cats
and exotic animals all get many different types of cancer. Some kinds of
cancer are curable, some are treatable, and for some we can only provide
In order to be able to give you and your pet the best option, a definitive diagnosis and a staging workup must be performed. These procedures involve getting a biopsy or aspirate of the tumor, and examining for spread (metastatic sites) for that particular form of cancer. We can use palpation, ultrasound, radiographic studies and needle aspirates to look at the lymph nodes, lungs, spleen, liver and other metastatic sites. We will also need to know how the rest of your pet's body is working - are there problems with the kidneys or liver, is there diabetes or heart disease? These other diseases may be more serious than the cancer, or may change what forms of therapy are appropriate.
Once we have a complete understanding of your pet's health and type of
cancer, we can design a treatment plan that fits your needs best. Cancer
therapy in pets includes surgery, medications (chemotherapy), radiation
therapy and other forms of therapy.
In general, most pets receiving chemotherapy experience minimal side effects. Some even seem to have more energy and an improved appetite. Some drugs can cause nausea, vomiting or diarrhea in sensitive pets, but these side effects can typically be prevented. Low white blood cells counts are a more common problem, so before chemotherapy is given, complete blood counts are monitored. Hair loss is exceptionally uncommon in most pets, although some drugs can cause hair loss in dogs like Poodles. Pets receiving chemotherapy should be able to perform and enjoy all of their normal activities.