Of all the illnesses a pet owner may face with their pet, none may elicit the fear and dread that is experienced when dealing with cancer. Cancer implies the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells on or within the body and is the leading cause of death in cats and dogs. It accounts for about half the deaths of pets over 10 years of age. There are about 100 different kinds of cancer, and each behaves in a unique fashion once present in the body. Each type has a specific medical name usually referring to the tissue of origin (Osteosarcoma = cancer in the bone, Squamous cell carcinoma = cancer in the skin).
A tumor is a lump formed by a group of abnormal cells. Not all tumors are cancerous. Benign tumors are usually not dangerous but may need to be removed because of their size or discomfort to the animal.
Facing cancer is a team effort and the caregiver is at the center and is the most important member of the team. The doctors at the Guelph Animal Hospital will assist you in making the necessary decisions as far as the diagnostic procedures recommended and the various options available for treatment and care of the pet with cancer. It is natural for the term chemotherapy (cancer therapy) to cause thoughts of severe vomiting and sickness for your pet – but we work very hard to ensure that we chose a treatment protocol that effectively controls the cancer growth, while ensuring your pet still has a very good quality of life. Many of our patients have lived for years after their initial diagnosis, providing many opportunities for happy memories for the pets’ family.
Aggressive cancer therapy may require more elaborate diagnostics, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or other specialized procedures that often can be performed right at Guelph Animal Hospital, or when necessary – a referral to a specialty clinic can be arranged.
More and more owners are interested in Integrative Therapies that can be used to help support or treat the cancer patient. Although there are no proven cures for cancer when it comes to alternative therapies, some of these therapies such as Acupuncture, Herbal/Nutritional and Homeopathic treatments may assist the body’s natural healing functions. These integrative therapies can be used to help alleviate some of the potential side effects of chemotherapy and may even assist the body in responding more favorably to the treatment. Integrative therapies are also used to control pain, nausea, diarrhea, and improve the appetite of cancer patients.
Our goal is to provide you with the necessary information you need and help you make the best decisions (for both you and your pet) when it comes to treating cancer.