Treating cancer in dogs and cats

1st September 2017

 

At Bollington Veterinary Centre we have numerous ways we can help treat our patients with cancer. We tackle the problem in the same way as in humans using surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Treatment options

Surgery – our vets use surgery most weeks to treat the problem and it’s often our best hope to completely remove cancers. Unfortunately though it may not always be possible and it also won’t cure a cancer that is already affecting multiple sites.

Chemotherapy – this is the most effective way of killing cancer cells that have spread around the body. It’s widely used now in the UK with good success.

Radiotherapy – this form of cancer treatment is used to treat single isolated areas.

Combined treatments - sometimes treatment protocols are combined. For example, a bone cancer in dogs may be initially treated using surgery and then followed up with chemotherapy. Neither treatment alone would be effective but in combination they can be.

 

What do we need to consider before treatment?

Has it spread? – one of the first decisions we have to make with cancer is whether it’s likely to have spread or not. Some cancers such as lymphoma will have already disseminated before the diagnosis is made, whilst others, such as benign fatty lipomas, never spread. At Bollington Veterinary Centre our vets will need to make detailed investigations using xrays and biopsies to determine which is which.

What are the risks? – some treatments carry risks that may outweigh the disease itself. Surgery may be impossible, or the doses of chemotherapy needed may not be safely tolerated.

What is the prognosis? – sometimes the treatment may not offer a significant improvement in the animal’s quality of life or life expectancy. It would not be right to put an animal through a challenging treatment plan with no real benefit.

How much will it cost? – cancer treatments are often expensive so pet insurance is a real help. At Bollington Veterinary Centre we’ll go through the costs in detail, so please make sure you ask.

 

Have you found a lump?

If you’ve been checking your pet and have recently found a lump you’ll probably be worried. Now is the time to act, so book an appointment and let us have a look and feel. The sooner we know, the quicker we can do something about it. Don’t just watch it grow.

 

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