In our previous article, we identified the signs of cancer and how to look for them. If you’ve seen signs of cancer, called your vet, and have found that your dog does have cancer, this article is for you.  Here are some things to keep in mind when making important decisions regarding treatment for your dog if he/she has been diagnosed with cancer:

Converse with your doctor. Ask your doctor what the specific diagnosis is. This will help to better understand and to better care for any pain or struggle your dog may have. Discuss treatment options. Find out if your pet needs to be seen by a specialist. Ask your vet the best type (Surgeon? Chemo pro? Radiation pro? Nutritionist?) and where to find one. Don’t be afraid to ask your family vet, your surgeon or your oncologist (cancer specialist) how many other patients they have treated with a similar diagnosis. Arm yourself with all the facts and it will help you decide what you want to do next.

Part II - Cancer In Dogs - Decisions And Care

Be prepared with a list of important questions such as these:

1. What is my pet’s exact diagnosis?

2. How do we know for sure it is cancer?

3. Can we confirm it with specific testing such as a biopsy?

4. What is my pet’s prognosis (aka outcome)?

5. What is the ideal treatment?

6. What are possible complications of the treatment?

7. Who is the best specialist to treat this type of cancer?

8. How many patients like my pet have you seen in your career?

9. How many similar patients have you treated successfully?

10. What’s the goal of treatment? Curative or palliative?

Do not be afraid to ask too many questions or mention anything that comes to mind. Be swift to hear your vet’s advice, and take notes so that you can be precise in your knowledge about your pet’s case. This will help down the road when the time comes for treatment.

Caring for cancer is no easy task, but the right resources and tools will help to make this whole process a lot more comforting and easy.

There are many methods of treating cancer whether it be by shots, pills, or more. Whatever the case may be, you must be consistent – but this, your vet has already told you. Be sure to do all your vet tells you to do, and to do it accurately and consistently. The only other thing you can do after that is to make your pet as comfortable as he can be.

Consider making lifestyle changes to accommodate your pet’s illness. Depending on the location of the cancer, consider getting a doggie wheelchair to help your pet to still be able to move around with less difficulty. Make a ramp if there are too many steps in the house so that your dog can get around. Move things like his bed, toys, and food bowls closer to him so that he does not have to walk across the house all the time.

If you have trouble giving them medication by pill, try mixing canned and dry food together, putting the pill on top. Learn to be patient and adaptable to the situation as your dog tries to do the same. Be creative as you try to make things work, and again, do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian if you have any questions!

If your pet has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment, their immune systems may be compromised. If you must travel and be away from them for any reason, give Paws Pet Care Pet Sitting & Dog Walking a call at 800-674-3409 to see how we can help you with in-YOUR-home, private pet sitting services so that you may keep them as healthy as possible during this difficult time.

By Erika Smith – Staff Writer