Maintaining the highest quality of life for the longest period of time is always our aim in cancer management in companion animals. Our vets will always take emotional and financial factors into consideration and we understand that decisions relating to cancer treatment are often difficult.
At All Creatures we aim to provide a knowledgeable, unbiased assessment of the condition and a frank discussion of options sufficient to permit an informed decision. We will aim for a cure to attempt permanent control of the tumor using aggressive but not excessively debilitating treatments. When dealing with cancers in veterinary medicine, a cure basically means that the particular cancer will be controlled for at least one year following treatment. If the best available information suggests this is not possible, palliative therapy may be considered.
Palliative treatment aims to keep your pet comfortable for as long as possible or to reduce difficulties such as swallowing, urinating or defecating without attempting to cure the tumor. We understand that the length of time is not as important as the quality of the time remaining for the pet. We will aim to support you as best we can through what can be a difficult and challenging time for you and your pet.
Chemotherapy can be a terrifying thought for many pet owners. To obtain any benefit from chemotherapy it is necessary to use doses that can result in some unpleasant effects on normal tissues. The most common side effects of chemotherapy in pets include stomach upset resulting in a reduced appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. These effects are generally mild and self-limiting but may require symptomatic treatment or hospitalization in some instances. Unlike people, pets generally do not loose their hair.
Many pets with cancer do tolerate chemotherapy very well although many chemotherapy drugs are expensive.
A research bacterial vaccine that will treat canine osteosarcoma is also showing some very encouraging results. US company Aratana produces AT-004, a canine-specific monoclonal antibody that is used as an aid in the treatment of B-cell lymphoma in dogs.