Cancer–it’s a word no dog owner ever wants to hear. Unfortunately, cancer in pets is becoming more common because pets are living longer than ever. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), about half of dogs over the age of 10 will develop some form of cancer. During Pet Cancer Awareness Month, Union Lake Veterinary Hospital wants to help you navigate the steps to take when your dog is diagnosed with cancer.

Talk to Your Veterinarian About Cancer in Dogs

It’s hard not to let your thoughts spiral when you hear a word like cancer, but it is very important to get as much information as possible before jumping to conclusions. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you about the kind of cancer present and how much it’s progressed. They can explain what this means for your dog’s health.

Research Pet Cancer Treatment Options

Your veterinarian will walk you through the potential treatment options to target your dog’s specific type of cancer. If you have to make a decision regarding your dog’s treatment, you should do some research (from reputable sources like the Veterinary Cancer Society or the American Veterinary Medical Association). You should also regularly consult with your vet to ensure you have the information you need to make the best decision.

Work with a Veterinary Oncologist

When it comes to cancer in dogs, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion from a veterinary oncologist. This will help you decide on a treatment option that best targets your dog’s specific kind of cancer and your lifestyle.

Learn About the Testing 

In order to best understand your dog’s specific type of cancer, your veterinarian will order a series of tests. The more you know about these tests, the better you can understand the situation and how to decide what to do next. Some of the tests might include:

  • Blood draws
  • X-rays
  • Urinalysis
  • Ultrasounds
  • Tissue aspirate
  • Biopsy

Consider Your Pet’s Quality of Life

When making any medical decision for your dog, it is very important to consider his or her quality of life. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s typical activities and affect during the day and how cancer treatment might impact this. Consider quality of life with each decision you make.

Stay Calm

Your dog can tell when you are feeling stressed or upset. We know it’s scary to deal with a cancer diagnosis in your dog, but try to remain as calm as possible when you are around your animal. If you can avoid getting excessively upset, it will help keep your dog in good spirits.

Keep a Positive Outlook

New advancements in pet cancer are providing more positive outcomes than ever before. A cancer diagnosis does not have to be a death sentence. Try to keep a positive outlook and make the best decisions for your dog. 

Consider the Financial Ramifications

Cancer treatment is definitely not cheap, but there are ways to lessen the burden. CareCredit and pet insurance might be helpful options for you. Talk to your veterinarian about other possible financial help such as grants and non-profit organizations. 

Maintain a Healthy Routine 

Nutritious foods and regular exercise can be good for your dog while he or she fights cancer. Exercise is not only good for the body, but also the mind. Try to incorporate regular walks or playtime with your pup to maintain a healthy routine.

Keep Loving Your Pup

Your dog depends on you for everything—especially during a time like this. If your dog is diagnosed with cancer, it is more important than ever to show your love. 

Although we hope you never have to go through it, Union Lake Veterinary Hospital is here to help you through a pet cancer diagnosis. Our knowledgeable and caring team is here to give your pets access to the best veterinary care in Union Lake. To learn more, please call (248) 363-1508.