It is probably the worst news we can receive---your pet has cancer. It is so prevalent in today’s society, and yet, we are no closer to knowing the cause or the cure. There are many types of cancer, and some are more aggressive than others. The only way to determine exactly if the dog has cancer, and which type your animal has, is through testing. Often this includes a biopsy. A veterinarian can explain all options you might take. As with all decisions, the appropriate path for each individual case varies…choices will reflect family values, financial situation, and the age and health of the pet.
There are a variety of ways we find out our companion animal is affected by cancer. Perhaps the pet is slowing down and just not acting normal. Or there may be an external growth we notice. Sometimes it is discovered during the course of a routine medical procedure. And sometimes a sudden crisis situation erupts and we’re suddenly faced with a serious cancer diagnosis. A fatal fast-growing carcinoma was found in my last dog during surgery.
One symptom we can watch for is pain. We should watch for changes in appetite, energy level, and daily routines. Try to avoid relying on internet resources; a veterinary checkup is a better bet. And do not guess on medications and supplements. Wait until your vet has evaluated your pet.
Our family is now living with a cancer diagnosis: Shadow has lymphoma. As described by the Cancer Canine Awareness website, “Lymphosarcoma (lymphoma) is the third most common cancer diagnosed in dogs. It is a cancer of lymphocytes (a type of blood cell) and lymphoid tissues. Lymphoid tissue is normally present in many places in the body including lymph nodes, spleen, liver, gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow.”
Tumors were discovered on Shadow’s tonsils during a routine teeth cleaning. This just reinforces the importance of regular veterinary checkups. Although there were some indications she was ill, it was still quite a shock. We have chosen to treat her conservatively with prednisone and CBD oil, rather than with chemotherapy drugs. This decision is made considering the costs and her age (13). At this point we are providing comfort care and watching that she continues having some quality of life. We have been blessed in having more than 10 years with her after adoption from the shelter. I have been able to share her friendly personality with others during those years. Her illness has forced our retirement as a therapy dog team.
Cancer and other serious disease can strike in spite of our best efforts to provide a healthy lifestyle. When it does, we must adjust and consider all options which might help maintain a quality lifestyle.
October is a good time to “Find Your Special Friend!” Many dogs and cats adoption fees are sponsored. Remember, the adoption fee includes vaccinations and the spay/neuter procedure.
The La Paz County/Town of Parker Shelter is located at 309 7th Street, behind Western Park. Kennels open Monday-Friday 9:30a.m.-4:30 p.m., Saturday 10-12-noon. Call 669-8774 for details. To find lost pets, like our Facebook page PAWS of Parker or view animals at www.petfinder.com