Cancer Treatment and Chemotherapy for Pets
The practice of veterinary medicine has changed substantially over the past twenty-five years. Medical and surgical procedures that were once reserved only for people are increasingly being performed on our companion animals. As a result, our pets are able to live longer, happier lives. Just like us, age predisposes our pets to various forms of cancer. Many cancers can be successfully managed with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these tools.
Sometimes when we diagnose cancer in a patient at Upper Canada Animal Hospital and discuss the option of chemotherapy, our clients look at us in horror. Most of us have known someone who has gone through chemotherapy and become very sick because of its side effects. However, we reassure pet owners by explaining to that although we use many of the same drugs used on people, we are using them in different doses, or in different combinations, or at different times. By doing this, we are able to preserve a good quality of life while treating the disease.
Examples of cancers that can be treated in pets with chemotherapy, alone, or in combination with other therapies include:
- Lymphoma and Leukemia
- Bone tumours
- Tumours of the spleen
- Mast cell tumours
- Bladder tumours
Cancer in Pets: Diagnosis and Treatment
Before proceeding with chemotherapy at Upper Canada Animal Hospital, we will meet with a patient’s family so that the individual pet’s requirements can be specifically identified.
Here is how we work:
- The tumour type and spread are determined
- Usually, we will perform blood work, urinalysis, chest x-rays, abdominal ultrasound or other procedures, if needed, to help us make the best decision on how to proceed
- Once we have determined the plan that best meets your pet’s needs, we can start treatment
What you need to know about cancer treatment:
- Some chemotherapy medications are given intravenously, some under the skin and some orally
- Treatment plans can be for a specific length of time or can be ongoing, plans can also be changed or stopped at any time
- Once treatment has started, patients will need to have their white blood cell (infection-fighting cell) counts monitored, with some forms of chemotherapy or cancer requiring additional monitoring throughout
We have strong ties with skilled veterinary oncologists and patients can be referred to them at any time. For patients needing radiation therapy, a referral is a requirement. At Upper Canada Animal Hospital, however, we are pleased to offer comprehensive surgery and chemotherapy services. We have treated our own pets for cancer and derive immense satisfaction from seeing our cancer patients’ lives extended with excellent quality as well as the joy this brings to their human families.
Please feel free to call us for a consultation should you wish to discuss cancer treatment for your family pet.