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.