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Cancer in Pets

Unfortunately cancer is exceedingly common in our pets.  This is in large part due to significant advances in veterinary care and our ability to diagnose these conditions. We know that a positive cancer diagnosis can be difficult, emotional, and confusing. Treatment can vary from surgery, to referral level intervention such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, to palliative care to help keep your pet comfortable. Our staff is here to offer our complete support throughout your pet’s treatment, and help your family through this trying period.

Because cancer is quite prevalent among elderly dogs and cats, early detection is critical in effective treatment planning, and prompt discovery can increase survival rates. Because our pet's lives are so brief compared to ours, the course of disease can be quite accelerated. Tumors can grow in a period of weeks, and can often progress significantly before they are diagnosed.

Symptoms that possibly indicate cancer in pets: 

  • Decreased appetite
  • Sudden collapse
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Pain, or hesitation to move
  • Straining to urinate or defecate
  • Sudden growth of tumors

Diagnosing pet cancer

Just as in people, diagnosing cancer in our pets can be quite complicated. Sometimes a tumor is visible, and we are able to use a needle to get a sample for diagnostic testing. In other cases the cancer is internal, which may require xrays, ultrasound, or more advanced imaging such as CT scan or MRI to further evaluate. We commonly perform blood testing to evaluate for spread of cancer, and other changes in organ function or blood count. In some cases surgical removal and biopsy may be recommended.

    Treating pet cancer

    The most common cancer treatment methods include surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy. Depending on your pet’s circumstances, one or multiple treatment modalities might be indicated for their specific diagnosis. If your pet requires treatment beyond what we offer in-house, we will refer you to a veterinary oncologist that we are in close contact with.

    If your pet's condition is not treatable, or you elect not to treat due to age or other conditions, we can offer palliative care to relieve pain and anxiety for as long as that is possible.

    If you have any questions, please contact us. We will try to answer any questions, or refer you to a  specialist who can further meet your needs.

    Contact Us

    We encourage you to contact us with any questions or comments you may have. Please call our office or use the quick contact form below.