Steps to Take When Your Dog Has Cancer

Learning that your pet has cancer can be scary, mainly if it’s your first time caring for an animal with a severe illness. As a pet owner, you may feel overwhelmed by the road ahead. However, there is hope. With today’s advancements in veterinary cancer care, canine and feline patients live longer, more fulfilled lives. 

Read on to learn about what steps to take when your dog has cancer to make this difficult time in your life easier.

Try to Remain Calm

First, don’t panic; you are not alone in your pet’s cancer diagnosis. About six million canines and nearly six million cats are diagnosed with cancer each year. However, with modern medicine and highly-trained veterinarians, remission is an achievable goal for many pets with cancer. Even for the nastiest cancers, there are treatment options that can still provide a solid quality of life for your animal companion

Use Your Vet as a Resource

A million questions may come to mind about your pet’s cancer diagnosis. Reach out to your veterinarian for guidance and support during this stressful time. Rely on your vet’s honesty and professional opinion when making treatment decisions.

Seek a Specialist

Veterinary oncologist with dog

Your vet will likely refer you to a pet cancer specialist who is a board-certified veterinary oncologist and up to date on the best treatments. This individual can examine your furry friend and review previous test results with you. They may suggest further tests that can help confirm the diagnosis or understand the severity of the illness.

Learn More About the Diagnosis

You may be unfamiliar with the type of cancer your pet has. For this reason, it’s essential to learn all you can on any medical terminology. Researching can help you understand what the oncologist is proposing for your furbaby.

It’s also crucial to understand treatment options, including:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Clinical Trials

Consider Costs

With most major illnesses, the cost is vital to consider before pursuing treatment. Your vet should be able to give you an idea of how much you might expect to pay for specific procedures and tests. If you have pet insurance — and depending on the policy’s coverage — it may cover some or all of your pet’s treatments.

Stay Positive

Keep a positive attitude: Cancer treatment can be hard on pet patients, so keep vet and veterinary oncologist appointments positive. Stick to your routine and consult with your vet for appropriate activities for your dog or cat.

Look for Support Groups

Know that cancer in dogs and cats is common. As your animal ages, its immune system will weaken, and it will have a higher chance of developing cancer. If you’re having trouble coping with your sick pet, consider joining support groups. Speaking with other pet owners who are going through the same situation may help assuage some of your worry, fear, and isolation.

Final Thoughts

Remember to take your pet to the veterinarian for regular follow-ups and stay organized with appointments. Check out the below infographic for more information about the steps to take when your dog (or cat) has cancer.

Steps to take for pet cancer Infographic

PetCure Oncology manages a national network of cancer care centers for pets. The industry leader in veterinary radiation therapy, the PetCure network includes physical treatment centers across the United States and a telehealth infrastructure that can reach veterinarians and pet owners anywhere. PetCure’s clinical and research departments are led by leading board-certified veterinary oncologists.

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