Veterinary oncology is a specialty field that deals with cancer in your pet. The highly trained Veterinarians at our practice focus on both the emotional and medical aspects of cancer. We are there to hold your hand and skillfully guide you through the process of diagnosis, choosing the right treatment option for your pet and the treatment process.
The first key to treating cancer in your pet is diagnosis. Our practice begins with a full physical exam. Some forms of cancer are obvious such as a hard tumor you can feel from the outside of the body. Others are more hidden. We commonly look at blood work and when necessary employ the use of diagnostic imaging such as MRI, CT scans, digital radiography or ultrasound. We may perform endoscopy or fluoroscopy or take a biopsy.
No matter what the diagnosis or possible prognosis, our practice seeks to create a communicative relationship with you. We discuss all possible treatment options and outcomes. Our number one concern is the best interest of your pet. We also evaluate the costs involved, your expectations, possible lifestyle changes and any unpleasant side effects of treatment as well as overall quality of life. We look at both how it will change the lives of you and your pet during treatment and after treatment. We also consider pain management and psychological needs.
The side effects and lifestyle changes involved in some cancer treatments may be very mild. Other times they may seem drastic but allow for a greatly improved quality of life in the long term. Sometimes minimal treatment can make a big difference and sometimes aggressive treatment can make little difference. Instead of treating the cancer, another option may be to simply make your pet as comfortable as possible for as long as possible and discuss end of life options.
Should you elect to treat your pet’s cancer, depending on the type, location and severity of the cancer, the treatments may vary greatly. Traditional cancer treatments may involve oral or intravenous chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgical removal or reduction of the tumor or any combination. Complementary treatments may include acupuncture, immunotherapy or nutritional therapy.
Luckily, today we know so much more about treating cancer than we did just 20 years ago. Many types of cancer that would have seemed grim not that long ago are very treatable now. The treatments are also kinder, and gentler with fewer side effects.