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Cancer is probably one the most spine-chilling words you can hear from your veterinarian. A large number of pet owners are surprised when they discover their pets are susceptible to the same types of cancers as humans. Cancer is a type of cell that grows by itself in an uncontrolled and unnatural manner. Some cancer cells accumulate to become a tumor whereas others have an effect on the lymph system or blood.
Moving on to the main question, is your pet too old for cancer treatment? Contrary to popular beliefs, your pet is never too old for cancer treatment. In fact, cancer mainly occurs in pets over the age of 10. Most of the time, pet owners are scared of putting their senior pets through different types of treatment. However, if you are not comfortable with the treatment offered by the vet, you can always ask the vet for alternatives.
Treatment of cancer
The type of treatment required for your pet depends on the kind of cancer it has. Treatment of cancer can be classified into three general categories.
Chemotherapy is a common method of treatment suggested by vets. When you hear the word chemotherapy, you shouldn’t relate it to what we have to go through. The goals of a vet are different from that of cancer specialists who focus on humans. The main aim of chemotherapy for pets is to extend their quality of life as much as possible. If there are too many severe side effects, the vet won’t recommend it to be used on your pet. Either your vet or a specialist will administer the medication. The medication can also be obtained in the form of pills so that you can give it at home.
The majority of the people are familiar with radiation as a method to destroy cancer cells. In radiation therapy, a beam of light is focused on a specific part of the pet’s body to eliminate cancer cells. This type of treatment will only be provided in specialized clinics as it requires particular equipment. Usually, radiation therapy is combined with other types of treatment. Sometimes, the main aim is to eradicate the remaining cancer cells. Otherwise, radiation is used to reduce the pain and the size of the tumor.
In most cases, the tumor is surgically removed and sent to the pathologist to identify the type of cancer cells and to see if there are any of them left behind in the pet’s body. Occasionally, the vet may remove the surrounding lymph nodes to see the extent of the damage done by the cancer cells. In most cases, surgery is a complete cure for cancer and no further treatment will be required.
Even though cancer is extremely dangerous, advancement in technology and medicines have made it easier to detect and eliminate the disease. If your pet has been diagnosed with cancer, express your goals and concerns with your vet. There will always be an alternative that will take your pet’s needs into consideration.