Are you considering cancer therapy?
Today we have more options than ever in the treatment of cancer in dogs and cats. This does not mean that treatment is the right option for you or your pet. This is a very personal decision and many, many factors may influence your decision. Some of the factors are:
- Type of cancer: Despite the many medical breakthroughs some cancers are very aggressive and do not have an effective treatment. Other cancers such as lymphoma can be very responsive to treatment.
- Age of your pet: With many cancers such as lymphoma we are seeing young dogs affected. While treatment is not limited to young dogs, some may find that they are less willing to put an older dog or cat through the stress surgery or chemotherapy.
- Temperament of your pet: Is your pet fearful or aggressive or are they the life of the party and a trip to the veterinarian’s office is the highlight of their week? Treatment for any cancer generally involves weekly trips to the clinic for an exam and monitoring blood work.
- Finances: While treatments are more widely available they are not inexpensive. When you add up the cost of the chemotherapy, the recheck exams, weekly blood tests and other medications, the cost of treatment can be a deciding factor.
- Availability of treatment: Depending on the type of treatment recommended you may have to travel a long distance frequently or medically board your pet. Most commonly this is done with animals receiving radiation therapy.
While these are not all of the factors you should consider they cover the basics. Everyone has an opinion but the decision is ultimately yours as the owner. Circumstances may change and you may find yourself making a different decision.
The key is to ask as many questions as you need to be sure that you fully understand your options. A second opinion is never a bad idea, especially if you have reservations. And a comfortable working relationship with you veterinary team (both primary and specialty care) will always make the process less stressful.