Dr. Susan Wylegala says one of the more common diseases they see in animals, just like we do in people, is cancer. As animals are living longer and we are able to keep them healthier by doing better preventive care and have better medications to allow them to stay with us for longer, veterinarians are diagnosing more and more cancer in both dogs and cats. One of the things we have to remember, she says, is that it is not always a fatal result. Just like in human medicine they have a tremendous number of options for diagnosing, treating, and caring for our patients with cancer.
Dr. Wylegala says for many of them surgery is curative. They can remove a mass, take it out completely, send it out for a biopsy and have a surgical cure. For other animals, there are other options that are available, again very similar to human medication.
There is chemotherapy options and Dr. Wylegala says many pets tolerate chemotherapy very well. There are radiation treatment options. She says there are facilities that do not only generalized radiation but very targeted radiation for various masses.
There are injectable products that, for certain cancers, will shrink the tumors and allow them to be more readily removed or allow them to be able to have that pet live more comfortably with a smaller mass.
Dr. Wylegala says we have to remember when your veterinarian diagnoses your pet with cancer, you really have to talk to them about what options may be available for not only treating that pet but potentially getting them into remission where they may still live a longer high quality life for you. There are lots of options. She says talk to your veterinarian, but the best thing you can do is bring your pets in for preventative care on a regular basis so they can catch any of these things quite early.