PetMeds® Treatment Options for Dogs and Cats with Cancer


One of the most devastating, yet common diagnoses in both human and veterinary medicine is the diagnosis of cancer. While many types of cancer or tumors can be benign, such as common fatty lumps in pets known as lymphomas, warts, cysts, and skin tags, many other lumps both externally and internally can indeed sometime be malignant. When such masses or lumps are noted on exam or laboratory testing, it is often helpful for the veterinarian to try and obtain a diagnosis so that an appropriate treatment plan can be instituted.

While many times a needle aspirate and evaluation of the cells under the microscope (known as cytology) can yield a diagnosis, other times an excisional or surgical biopsy of the tissue is needed by your veterinarian. Depending upon the diagnosis, some tumors can be left alone, while others need more aggressive surgical treatment, chemotherapy and/or radiation, depending upon the tumor type. In recent years there have been tremendous advances in veterinary cancer therapy, both in terms of chemo and radiation therapy, as well as even now stem cell or gene therapy in veterinary medicine recently available for some diseases. Holistic veterinary medicine is also an option, including nutritional supplements, Western and Chinese herbs, acupuncture, and homeopathic remedies.

Dietary therapy is also very important in the management of many types of cancers. For conventional therapy, I usually recommend a consultation with a cancer specialist known as an oncologist, while for holistic veterinary medicine, I would also seek out a well trained holistic veterinarian in one of the above areas, whether as part of an integrative cancer approach or those interested in a more strictly holistic approach. No matter which approach is taken, with time, patience, and commitment, many pets diagnosed with cancer can indeed live long lives and in some cases even cured, depending upon the cancer type.

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  1. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJune 15, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    Yes treatment of hyperthyroid cats will be determined by age and overall health. Most common option is drug called methimazole or tapazole, while best option in my opinion is radioactive iodine for cure of condition. Surgery is least preferred.

  2. loved the artical. we have a 18yr. old yellow lab who we’ve had since he was a puppy. I don’t think he was 8wks. old when we got him. he has cancer it’s a huge lump (size of a soft ball) on his left back leg. he has gotten growths over the years they are not cancer and do not bother at all. he is on pain meds. that really do help him I guess my question is can we try the vacine or let it go do to his age. our vet said he is to old for surgery to remove the back leg. and he would not make it thru chemo. any suggestion.. Thank You for taking time out to read this.

  3. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianDecember 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    I think palliative pain management by your local vet is best way to go in pet this age. Would not do any other therapies or vaccines at this time.

  4. Dakota has developed tumors in spleen, liver and lung – he is 12 years old, and we have chosen not to use invasive approaches. I have been feeding him broccoli and he is on pain medication, but having difficulty breathing. I am wondering what you offer in way of holistic approaches to minimize or dissolve tumors. He has definitely not lost his appetite and all other functions seem to be normal. He is developing benign skin tumors, like warts. What do you recommend for my faithful friend?

  5. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 30, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    Would need to consult with you individually on case like this as may be good candidate for classical homeopathy. To learn more see as well as my website Consider great supplement called transfer factor and consulting with homeopathic vet like myself.

  6. Which do you recommend – Transfer Factor or Immunocal?

  7. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianApril 1, 2013 at 9:50 am

    I like transfer factor…

  8. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!

    However, how can we communicate?

  9. What is the maximum daily dose for prednisolone in cats?

  10. What is the maximum daily dose of prednisolone in cats?

  11. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 4, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    No max dose. Range from one quarter mg per pound per day up to over 2 mg per pound per day.

  12. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianSeptember 4, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Answered above

  13. I have a female toy poodle, 10 yrs old and 10 lbs. Recent aspiration of lymph node in her neck was almost positive for cancer. What can I do homeopathic or vitamins, supplements, etc. Is chemo & radiation a good idea? Cost is an issue and I’m truly overwhelmed and saddened.
    Thanks for your comments.

  14. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 14, 2014 at 12:38 am

    Chemo is individual choice and only you can make. You also have option of working with vet homeopath. To learn more about homeopathy, go to as well as my website Many homeopathic vets do offer phone consultations, as do I nationwide.

  15. Just found out our 9yr, 110lb, male English Foxhound has a mass on spleen. For past couple of weeks now has not been feeling well – lethargy, discomfort, bouts of vomiting, sometimes not eating. Vet recommends surgery to remove spleen – which he says may extend life by 6mos/year? Otherwise, he will continue to go downhill from here on. Surgery at his age seems invasive, not to mention the cost! Would appreciate any advice, recommendations…..Thank you!!

  16. Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianMarch 27, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Catherine. Not an easy decision, as sometimes the tumors can rupture on the spleen causing severe bleeding and death. Other times pets may be made comfortable for various periods of time. If you dont elect on surgery, I would consider a more holistic vet approach with consulting with vet homeopath, as well as giving home made diets like I also recommend supplements like transfer factor I also would learn more about holistic medicine. See my website Many homeopathic and holistic vets do offer phone consultations. 1800petmeds has excellent supplement as well for cancer patients called Oncosupport.

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