No one ever wants to hear that their pet has cancer.

Unfortunately, the chance that you will hear those words at some point in your pet ownership experience is pretty good.  Cancer is the number one cause of death in older pets.  That’s right, one in four pets will die of cancer.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, located in Bloomfield Hills MI, has built an arsenal to help fight cancer with the best that modern technology has to offer.  Pets that are diagnosed with cancer often will be treated with one or more of the following treatment modalities.  

  • Surgery

Most pets with cancer can benefit from surgical therapy.  In some surgery offers a cure, others will gain an improvement in quality of life, and still others will gain benefit because other treatments will have a better chance to work after surgery.

  • Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy refers to a variety of drugs that can be given systemically.  These drugs are able to injure rapidly dividing cells such as cancer cells.  Chemotherapy does have some side effects, but they tend to be less intense in animals than we see in people.

  • Radiation therapy

Radiotherapy targets quickly dividing cells with high energy radiation that injures the cell’s genetic material.  Most cancer cells fall into this category, so radiation can be a very effective means of controlling tumors, particularly when combined with other treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy.  Because other cells in the body can also be affected, radiation therapy can have side effect.

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

Modalities such as acupuncture, nutrition, and herbal medications may be used to slow cancer progression or improve quality of life for some patients.

  • Palliative care

Palliative means to relieve.  Sometimes, when cancer is not responding well to treatment, or the owner elects to not treat it we must do all that we can in order to keep the pet comfortable and happy for as long as possible.  Pain medications, acupuncture, appetite stimulants, and other options are available for these pets.

Cancer is not a one-size-fits-all diagnosis.  There are many factors to take into consideration when deciding how and whether to treat a patient.  The oncology department at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services in Bloomfield Hills, MI is happy to help you decide on the best course of action for your pet should you ever need their help.