What Happens If My Pet Gets A Cancer Diagnosis? 

What Happens If My Pet Gets A Cancer Diagnosis? 

Due to advances in veterinary medicine, pets can now live longer lives than before. Unfortunately, one effect of these extended lifespans is greater exposure to diseases related to aging, particularly cancer. Dr. Laura Black and the team at Coastal Veterinary Care know that when it comes to a cancer diagnosis for your pet, it’s vital that they receive the utmost care.

What Is Veterinary Oncology?

Veterinary oncology is the practice of medicine that revolves around cancer in animals. This field includes diagnosing veterinary cancer, staging of tumors, and administering treatment of cancer with potential underlying conditions while maintaining a good quality of life for your pet.  

Cancer Treatment for Pets

Much like it is with people, animal cancer can be treated, managed, and even cured thanks to multiple advances in modern veterinarian medicine. The key is early detection and the prioritization of specialized care. With the right tools, the odds of survival increase drastically.

Like humans, cancer is caused by the body’s immune system failing to stop cells from replicating abnormally, which forms a mass known as a tumor in a process called neoplasia. These tumors could be benign or malignant.

To diagnose cancer, veterinary professionals will use a variety of tests, including X-rays, ultrasounds, blood work, and cytology, which involves taking cells from a tumor mass and examining them under a microscope. Cytology can provide basic information about the nature of the tumors and whether they are benign or malignant. And at Coastal Veterinary Care, we offer digital cytology, an advanced microscope that allows for same-day results so you can have various options for treatment.

A biopsy can then be used to ensure an accurate diagnosis. If the tumor is shown to be malignant, staging of other surrounding tissues will reveal how far the malignant neoplasia has spread. 

Different types of cancer in pets, includes:

  • Lymphosarcoma
  • Skin tumors
  • Endocrine tumors
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Mammary gland tumors

Treatment for veterinary cancer depends on the type of cancer being dealt with and requires individual care. Options for treating your pet’s cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, cryosurgery (freezing therapy), hyperthermia (heating therapy), and immunotherapy. Pain management is also a considerable aspect of treatment, though you should know that animals handle chemotherapy better than humans. 

Can Your Regular Veterinarian Treat Your Pet’s Cancer?

Like most conditions, cancer will first be evaluated by your regular veterinarian. If the cancer is concentrated in one area and can easily be removed, your family veterinarian can likely take care of the procedure. If your pet’s condition is more advanced, it will require a second opinion from a veterinary oncologist. Veterinary oncologists complete additional training after veterinary school and can provide chemotherapy treatments or a combination of treatments depending on what is the best option for your pet. Your regular vet will also consult with any other members of your pet’s oncology team.  If any underlying conditions come with your pet’s cancer, your regular veterinarian will still be in charge of managing them.

If you’ve received a referral, your regular veterinarian will still be involved in supervising your pet’s care. In addition, most veterinarians maintain a relationship with veterinary oncologists in their area. This relationship allows them to contact a trusted oncologist for referrals and consultations. During your pet’s treatment, your primary care veterinarian will be updated with progress reports on your pet’s condition. The primary care veterinarian will use these reports to inform the ongoing care of your pet.

Find The Best Possible Care For Your Pet When You Need It

Veterinary cancer requires a concerted effort from a professional veterinary team, including oncologists, radiologists, and primary caregivers. The best bet for your pet to recover and receive quality treatment is to contact a team that specializes in comprehensive care. At Coastal Veterinary Care, we do everything possible to go above and beyond for your beloved pet, especially when it comes to treating cancer. 

Please get in touch with us if you have any questions or are looking for treatment options for your pet.