Cancer is a scary topic for anyone, including pet parents. Cancer is a group of abnormal cells that often “come together” in a mass, which is known as a tumor. Regardless of the type of cancer, the common characteristic among all cancer cells is that there is an absence of normal growth control.
Healthy, normal cells grow, replace and reproduce cells that have died or to support natural growth and development. Unlike healthy cells, cancer cells continue to grow and reproduce even without a need for new cells and they often invade and destroy healthy cells that are nearby. Cancer is one of the top disease-related causes of deaths in pets; it can strike at any time. Fortunately, with early interventions from your veterinarian in Burke, cancer treatment may be an option for a successful recovery. Here are a few of the available treatment options for cancer in pets.
Surgery is often considered to be the first line of cancer treatment when localized cancer can be completely removed. The goal of the animal hospital when your veterinarian recommends surgery is to remove the tumor, which may prevent spreading of the cancer. Unfortunately, not all tumors can be removed surgically; some are in inaccessible locations or removing the tumor may cause the pet to lose a vital function. Surgery at a veterinary animal hospital may also be recommended to reduce the side effects of other treatments.
One of the most common cancer treatment options for both humans and animals is radiation therapy. Cancer cells do not recover from radiation damage as completely or as quickly as normal cells. Radiation therapy works as a cancer treatment because it kills the cells that rapidly divide, preventing growth and spreading of the cancer.
Chemotherapy consists of strong medications that are used to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often effective in destroying cancer cells that have metastasized (spread) or are likely to metastasize. Veterinary-recommended chemotherapy may be given in pill form or intravenously. Fortunately, animals generally tolerate chemotherapy much better than human cancer patients.
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Your pet is a member of your family and their health, comfort and safety are important to you. In order to make the best decision on appropriate cancer treatment for your pet, it is critical that you know and understand all of the facts. The best way to gain information is by speaking with your veterinarian in Burke and keep in mind that treatments work best when the cancer is caught early.
To learn more information about cancer in pets and the available treatment options, contact the Burke Animal Clinic.