We treat a huge number of cats and dogs with cancer.
A fair but difficult question to ask is: “Why should I treat my pet if (s)he has cancer and is going to die from it anyway?”
Can you imagine being the vet having to answer that question?
Well, that’s what we’re going to try to do here. Keep in mind that since I’m a surgeon, we’re only going to talk about surgery, not about chemo or other ways to treat cancer.
1. Cancer is not a death sentence
Some cancers are very aggressive and deadly.
Other are a really annoying bump along the road.
So not every cancer patient will die of cancer.
It needs to be treated correctly, the first time around, by the right person, with the right skillset.
Over the years, we’ve treated pets for cancer who ended up living cancer-free for years.
Then later on, they came back, alive and kicking, for surgery to treat a torn ACL, or a broken leg, or laryngeal paralysis (a condition that makes a dog suffocate).
They were doing so well after cancer treatment, that their loving owners chose to have the second (benign) condition treated.
2. Not treating pain is not fair
Some cancers are very painful. Even if there is no cure, we can at least provide pain relief.
Let’s take the example of bone cancer (osteosarcoma) in a dog’s leg, which is typically treated by amputation of the leg. Not only is it painful, it can also weaken the bone to the point of breaking, which causes even more pain.
Why knowingly put a pet through so much pain?
So if you are able and willing to help your pet, then why let them suffer without the benefit of pain relief?
3. Treating cancer can increase quality of life
Many cancers are treatable. Even if there is no cure, we can at least improve quality of life.
In vet medicine, we place a huge emphasis on quality of life.
A pet with a mass so large that they can barely walk does not have a very good quality of life. Removing the mass can improve it.
A pet with a mass pushing on the intestines to the point that they can’t eat or poop does not have a very good quality of life. Removing the mass or part of the intestines can improve it.
A pet with a tumor on their gum or in their jaw that is so large that they can barely eat (or they chew on it !!!) does not have a very good quality of life. Removing the mass (or more likely part of the jaw) can improve it.
We can perform these surgeries, while keeping the patient functional and comfortable.
If you would like to learn how we can help your pet with cancer surgery, safe anesthesia and outstanding pain management, please contact us through www.LRVSS.com
Never miss a blog by subscribing here: www.LRVSS.com/blog
Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DAC