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Cancer In Pets:

Unfortunately, cancer is an often life-threatening disease that plagues our pets as commonly as it affects people.  There are many factors that play a role in the causes of cancer in our pets - genetics, environmental factors possibly, as well as random unfortunate mutations.  Some cancers in our pets are easy to diagnose while othertimes, confirming our suspicions can be more challenging.  Typically, we come to the diagnosis based upon findings on the physical exam, labwork, x-rays and oftentimes, are confirmed with biopsy.

It is important for owners to be aware of the many non-specific clues that can be suggestive of cancer - not eating or drinking well, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing difficulties, coughing, pain, and lethargy are just a few of the common symptoms of concern.  Granted, these symptoms are not cancer specific - which is why it is important to have your pet see the veterinarian if you are noticing any of these problems with your pet at home.  It is always better to be pro-active rather than take the watch and wait approach.

There are many pure breeds such as Boxers or Golden Retrievers that are more prone to cancer unfortunately than others.  In these patients, we do believe that there is likely an underlying heritable / genetic predisposition.  And if you are an owner a breed that is known for having more cancer-potential, its is never a bad idea to make an even greater investment in preventative medical care.  

If your pet is diagnosed with cancer, it is important to be aware of the fact with the advances in Veterinary medicine today, there are potentially many options to treat your pet's cancer while allowing them to simultaneously have a great quality of life.  Just as in human medicine, we now have excellent surgical, chemotherapeutic, radiation as well as palliative options for cancer patients so that euthanasia does not have to be immediately pursued.  Of course, cost will oftentimes be a significant factor in deciding whether or not to pursue cancer treatment options.  However, these days, that is not the only factor in the decision making process.  If your pet has cancer, please feel free to set up an appointment at Damonte Ranch Animal Hospital.  Dr. Baker has had a long-standing, special interest in cancer medicine and offers many cancer therapy options at the hospital.  She is always willing to sit down and discuss the complexities of each individual's case, lay out all the possible options and help support clients with their decisions regarding what will be the best course of action for their pets. 

 

“The most affectionate creature in the world is a wet dog.” ~Ambrose Bierce

 “Cats never strike a pose that isn't photogenic.” ~Lillian Jackson Braun