Cancer and Your Pet

Cancer is a very scary word when you hear it being referred to your pet. The important thing to understand is most of us will hear it at some point in our pets’ lives. Thanks to good preventative medicine and quality commercial diets, along with responsible pet ownership, most of our pets will live to an old enough age that cancerous conditions become common. This was not the case many years ago or currently in some other countries where the average lifespan of domestic animals is just 4-5 years.

Early detection is the best protection and this is accomplished with close observation at home and routine veterinary exam screenings. It is important to check new or changing lumps and bumps as your pet ages. Simple tests can determine if there is need for concern.

There are many different treatment options if your pet develops a cancerous condition. Many problems can be successfully addressed by your local veterinarian but some are best handled by a board certified veterinarian in the area of internal medicine with a special interest in oncology. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can each be used to address different kinds of cancer. One common misconception is that the treatment is going to be very hard on one’s beloved pet. The goal of treatment is most often to have very limited or no side effects while maintaining a high quality of life, so that you can have a significant period of time to spend with an aging pet without any signs of the cancer affecting their daily lives.

As a veterinary community, our goal is to educate and keep you informed, allowing you to make the best decisions possible for your treasured fury family members. Please do not hesitate to ask your regular veterinary team if you have any questions.