Our beloved companion animals get cancer – just like us
If you have seen lumps or bumps, sores that don’t heal, general changes in your pet’s physical appearance, changes in their behavior, vomiting or diarrhea, or general changes in eating habits, it is important to investigate these symptoms. We know you can prevent some forms of cancer by having your pet spayed or neutered at an early age. But the best weapon against cancer is early detection, which means that regular veterinary visits are vital to your pet’s health, especially when they are in their senior years.
Chemotherapy & Cancer Treatment
Lawrence Veterinary Hospital offers surgical solutions as well as chemotherapy treatment. Our goal is for your pet to feel good and have a good quality of life while undergoing chemotherapy treatment, and after treatment too.
Fortunately, many forms of cancer in our pets are treatable. There have been recent advancements in cancer treatment that can dramatically extend and improve the lives of affected animals. Treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery may be used to stop the spread of cancer and remove or destroy cancer cells and tumors.
Chemotherapy is recommended to reduce or eliminate your pet’s cancer; to prevent or delay metastasis (spread) of your pet’s cancer; and sometimes it is used to increase the sensitivity of your pet’s tumor to radiation therapy.
In veterinary oncology, chemotherapy is typically very well tolerated – 80% of pets have no side effects. In the 15 to 20% who do experience side effects, they are typically not severe. There are medications available to minimize any side effects that do occur, and to get your pet through them more quickly.
Chemotherapy is typically given on an outpatient basis over a period of a couple of weeks to a couple of months – it depends on what type of cancer is being treated. Your pet will be dropped off in the morning for a physical examination, pre-treatment blood work and chemotherapy treatment. Most pets are awake for treatment and sedation is not required. The length of the actual treatment depends on the drug, but most drugs are given intravenously over five to 30 minutes. We will keep your pet for monitoring, but they will be able to go home that same day.
Remember, chemotherapy would not be used if the potential benefits of killing cancer cells did not outweigh the possible toxicities. Most pets tolerate chemotherapy extremely well. Your pet is quite likely to have normal activity and energy and continue its routine. Our doctors will work very closely with you to minimize side effects while maximizing the therapeutic benefits for your pet.