Treating Cancer in Dogs With Radiation vs. Chemotherapy

Cancer in dogs may occur especially at an older age. The cancer or tumor may be located in different parts of the body. There are also several types of cancer: bone cancer, skin cancer, leukemia (blood or bone marrow cancer). Unfortunately, there is no cure for cancer in dogs-the only thing you can do is to keep the condition under control, reduce the pain and offer your dog a more qualitative life.

Symptoms of Cancer in Dogs

The sooner you detect the cancer the better. This is why you need to pay attention to the following alarming signs that might indicate the presence of cancer or tumors: lethargy, weight loss, lack of appetite, swellings and lumps, poor mobility, difficulty to swallow, excessive urination or difficulties in urination and defecation, even blood in the feces. If you see any of these symptoms, visit your vet. Even if these may signal different conditions, it is better to be safe than sorry. If your dog has cancer, your vet will establish the stage of the disease and give you tips on how to handle your pet.

Cancer Treatment Options

According to the stage of the disease, your vet will be able to tell you what the best treatment options. Surgery will be needed to remove the tumor, in some cases even amputation. Chemotherapy is also recommended. You will also have the option of radiations.

Radiation for Cancer

Radiation is not acknowledged as being the best way to keep cancer under control. Radiation can help in pain relief and in the first stages of the disease, however this method will not hinder the cancerous cells from spreading and developing further. In bone cancer, radiation can improve the functions of your dog and help him move faster and more efficiently. The radiations will not extend your pet's life significantly. If you opt for radiation, you should also combine it with chemotherapy for better results.

Canine Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is highly recommended by most vets. Even if this treatment has side effects such as lack of appetite, vomiting, secondary infection risk or hair loss, it can improve your pet's life quality and extend his life by as much as 1 to 2 years. It is recommended to use surgery to remove tumors and cancerous cells and then apply the chemo. The chemo drugs will not kill the cancerous cells but will prevent new ones from developing.

The chemo for dogs can contain drugs such as Cisplatin or Carboplatin. These are administrated once every 3 weeks in 4 to 6 series. These drugs may be pricey, due to their platinum contents. However these are effective in cancer control and may help your dog live 1 to 2 years with cancer opposed to 1 to 2 months-the verdict if no treatment is used.