Dog Cancer Treatment

Canine cancer is a widespread condition that affects dogs of both genders and all ages, breeds and prior medical histories. Dog cancer treatment is available in many cases, although the type of treatment depends heavily upon the particular case. As a progressive disease, canine cancer may range from mild to immediately life threatening, and treatment is not always possible or advisable in each case. Generally, it is best to consult with a veterinarian in order to determine viable and appropriate treatment options for your dog's case of cancer.

Deciding Whether to Treat Canine Cancer

Canine cancer treatments range in their effectiveness and cost, although many are quite risky and/or very expensive. One of the first decisions that a pet owner faces when a cancer diagnosis is made, therefore, is whether to attempt treatment. If cancer occurs in a young, otherwise healthy dog, the prognosis for treatment may be much higher than a case involving an old dog with other underlying health concerns. In some cases, preexisting health conditions may eliminate or reduce the effectiveness of cancer treatments, potentially causing your pet added pain.

Each veterinarian has his or her own opinion about canine cancer treatment. If your veterinarian advises against your preference, you may wish to seek out a second opinion.

Treating and Coping with Canine Cancer

The two facets of canine cancer treatment involve the easing of your dog's pain and other symptoms and the elimination of the cancerous growth. The first of these two elements tends to be much easier to accomplish than the second.

The best way that you can maintain your pet's quality of life after a cancer diagnosis is to ensure that he does not suffer from unnecessary pain. Take the initiative to prevent pain instead of treating it after it occurs. Pain medications, anesthesia and careful handling all help to alleviate and prevent pain. Speak with your veterinarian about pain medications that may work well in your dog's case.

It is also important to ensure that your pet continues to eat properly. Dogs that are in pain will oftentimes refuse to eat, and the resulting malnourishment causes and contributes to a variety of secondary health concerns. Feed your pet a diet, as recommended by your vet, that is designed to limit stress on his digestive tract and prevent weight loss. If your pet refuses to eat, try warming his food and reducing the stress in his environment. In more severe cases, a feeding tube may be necessary.

Treating the cancerous growth often involves a combination of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. In isolated cancer cases, or when the cancer has not yet metastasized, surgery may be adequate to excise the cancerous growth. When the cancer has spread, radiation and chemotherapy are the preferred methods of treatment. These treatments are costly and carry a variety of negative side effects, including lethargy, hair loss and an overall weakening of the body and immune system.

In order to plan an appropriate treatment method for your dog's cancer, work closely with your veterinarian to examine your pet's medical history and current diagnosis. Ensure that your pet remains comfortable and that he maintains his quality of life as best as possible.