Pain Relief for Dogs with Cancer

Pain relief for dogs may be necessary in a number of instances, including when the dog is affected by a severe illness such as cancer. Cancer may be treated if detected early enough, but when the tumor spreads in the body, the disease cannot be controlled and the prognosis is poor. In this case, the dog’s condition may be improved only by administering pain medication and making sure that the dog is comfortable.

Pain and Cancer in Dogs

During the stages of cancer, the dog may be in pain. However, in the beginning, the dog is very unlikely to suffer from any pain. When the tumor starts to grow, this may press on the internal organs or bones and this can be painful.

Pain may be difficult to detect, but you should watch out for symptoms such as lethargy, depression, aggressiveness or whining. However, these symptoms may also be due to the fact that the dog is affected by cancer.

Pain Medication for Dogs with Cancer

Pain medication in cancer may be administered at any point, if the vet establishes that the dog is in pain.

The most common pain medication prescribed for dogs with cancer will include analgesics and non steroidal anti inflammatories. In some cases, the vet may also prescribe steroids. The main difference between NSAIDs and analgesics is that the NSAIDs will also reduce swelling in addition to controlling the pain. Common NSAIDs include aspirin or caprofen. Analgesics that may be prescribed to dogs with cancer include tramadol and fentanyl.

The vet will have to make sure that the pain medication will not interfere with the medication the dog gets for cancer.

The pain meds can also be used if the tumor is surgically removed, post surgery, as the dog will also be in a lot of pain.

In the last stages of cancer, when there is not much to do for the dog, the pain relief meds may be the only treatment administered. In this case, prescription medication and opiates will be prescribed, as the NSAIDs or the analgesics will no longer be effective for the intensive pain.

Radiation Therapy for Dogs

The radiation therapy is also used in pain management in canines affected by cancer. The therapy is administered regularly and it won’t remove cancerous cells and won’t stop their development, but will relieve the dog’s pain.

Typically, the radiation therapy is only recommended during the last phases of cancer, when it is in metastasis and there is not much to do for the pet.

Caution with Pain Medication

If you establish that your dog is in pain and he is not under any pain medication, you need to talk to your vet.

You shouldn’t give your dog pain medication, as this can interfere with the meds he receives for cancer treatment and there may be unwanted side effects.

Human pain medication shouldn’t be administered to dogs with cancer, as there may be toxic ingredients that will affect the dog's liver and kidneys.