61 Wetherby Road
CARING COMES FIRST
The first essential in cancer treatment is the pet's quality of life. Painfree, functional and dignified life is the aim, and if this cannot be achieved, treatment success has to be questioned. Any temporary detrimental effects of treatment, whether surgery, chemotherapy or other, must be minimised and be justified by the subsequent improvement in the pet's quality of life.
It is also vital to remember that the pet is part of a family, and the feelings of family members must be allowed to count when making decisions about treatment regimes. When a pet is diagnosed with a malignant tumour, this is a shock to it's owners and they must be allowed and helped to come to terms with situation. No two owners are the same, and it is worthwhile to spend time talking to all the family about the pet's disease and it's outlook so that they can reach an agreed attitude and plan for management.
Any treatment CAN have side-effects, but every effort is made to minimise or eliminate these. Surgery to remove a tumour will cause some post-operative pain, but modern pain killers are very effective and most pets will appear comfortable during recovery.
Chemotherapy has a reputation (in humans) for causing nasty side-effects. It is usual for chemotherapy in pets to be less aggressive than in humans, so side-effects are reduced (but so is effectiveness). The main reason for this is that, with pets, we have the alternative of euthanasia which is not the case in humans. If a pet suffers significant side-effects with chemotherapy, the dose rates can be modified, other drugs could be tried or the treatment could be abandoned.
In some cases there is no reasonable possibility of getting the disease under control. In these cases there is often some treatment which can help to reduce the effects of the disease on the pet's life, at least in the short term. If the pet's cancer is very advanced when first diagnosed, it can often help the owners to have a little time to accept the situation rather than to have the pet put to sleep immediately. Pain killers and other treatments can allow this in most cases.
On-line help groups
There is a web based organisation which can bring owners of animals with chronic disease together. Click this link.Go to top of page