Dog During Cancer Treatment

At every wellness visit, your Billings Animal Family Hospital veterinarian screens your pet for disease, including various types of cancer. Should we find indicators of a possible cancer, such as lumps, bumps, pain, or swelling, we will begin the diagnostic process at once. Caught early, cancer in animals is treatable and often curable.

Complex and frightening, a diagnosis of cancer can cause great anxiety and concern in a pet owner. It may be reassuring to note that there are many options in addressing cancer and animals respond very well to these treatments.

First, understand that cancer is a general term, referring to any disease where cells divide out of control. These cells typically reproduce rapidly, forming a mass or tumor. Tumors of any kind may interfere with healthy function, but a cancerous tumor can begin to spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs, liver, or lymph nodes. Controlling this spread and eliminating the cancer is the goal of cancer treatment at Billings Animal Family Hospital.

Cancer Treatment for Pets

Every patient has a unique make-up and, as such, will require a cancer treatment plan tailored to their needs. Cancer treatment options include:

  • Surgery—Surgical removal of a tumor and surrounding tissue is only an option if the cancer is not too large or extensive enough to endanger the animal if removed and if the animal is healthy enough to handle anesthesia.
  • Chemotherapy—The patient is given medications that are toxic to cancer cells, usually intravenously or orally, designed to kill the rapidly dividing cells.
  • Radiation—Usually a painless process, high doses of radiation are aimed at the tumor to shrink it and prevent further growth. The nearest radiation center for animals is at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

It is important for to pet owners to know that animals often respond to chemotherapy better than humans, without the severe side effects such as nausea and hair loss. Billings Animal Family Hospital veterinarians have a history of successfully treating cancer in pets, routinely performing cancer surgeries and chemotherapy.

A healthy, happy life after cancer treatment is available for many pets. Feel free to discuss your pet’s diagnosis and treatment options with your Billings Animal Family Hospital veterinarian. We know that a diagnosis of cancer in your pet brings many questions, and we are here to support and guide you in every way during the treatment of this illness. We encourage you to contact our office with your concerns and questions.