Cancer is nobody’s friend. As our pet population lives longer and longer than ever before, though, we are faced with a cancer diagnosis for our four-legged friends more often than ever before.
At Vaughn Road Veterinary Clinic, though, we refuse to roll over and let cancer win. While not all situations are ones that we can beat, we continue to look for ways to help our pet patients whenever possible. Chemotherapy for pets is one weapon we have in our arsenal against cancer, and we aren’t afraid to use it.
Cancer is a condition in which cells of a particular tissue within the body begin to divide out of control. This unchecked growth can interfere with other adjacent body tissues or organs and may even spread (metastasize) to other areas of the body.
A diagnosis of cancer does not have universal implications. The type of cancer, its location, and its behavior can have important influences on how quickly and aggressively we need to act.
When we undertake cancer treatment in our pet patients, we must first gain as much information about the particular cancer type as possible. Biopsies, radiographs, lymph node samples, and ultrasound can help us to obtain clues we need to come up with the best treatment plan possible.
Most times cancer treatment is multimodal, meaning more than one treatment is used to attack it from different angles. Things like surgery, chemotherapy, or even acupuncture may play a role in treating cancer.
Chemotherapy is a cornerstone in treating many types of cancer. It involves the systematic use of certain drugs that target cancer cells to destroy them within the body. For many pets, it helps to provide a far better prognosis than other treatments alone.
Chemotherapy for Pets
If chemotherapy is determined to be a helpful treatment option for a pet with cancer, a unique protocol involving oral and/or injectable chemotherapeutic agents will be outlined for the specific pet and cancer being treated.
Chemotherapeutic drugs are toxins that are given to kill cells. While this is done is a systematic manner, certainly there can be side effects.
Thankfully, chemotherapy for pets tends to come with far fewer side effects than we think of for humans undergoing this type of treatment. Because the goal for our pet patients is to extend quality and quantity of life versus the cure we are aiming for in people, we can use less aggressive protocols.
Pets can experience chemotherapy side effects, though. These can include:
- Lowered immune function
- Decreased clotting
- Hair loss
Thankfully, many of these side effects are lessened or avoided, though, with pre-emptive medications and extra precautions when chemotherapy is administered.
The goal when administering chemotherapy for pets is to better their lives. While side effects can occur, they are typically short-lived and the benefits outweigh the temporary discomfort. Vaughn Road Veterinary Clinic is here for your beloved animal friends, be it through cancer or anything else. Our goal is to help them live long and quality lives.