Concerned dogMay is Pet Cancer Awareness month. The AKC Canine Health Foundation noted that fifty percent of dogs aged 10 years or older develop cancer at some point during their lives, and are therefore raising money to support canine cancer research.
WebVet is here to help raise awareness of these issues and provide information on different types of cancer and care for pets with cancer.
Here are some important resources:
Cancer in pets
Liver cancer in dogs and cats
Lung cancer in pets
Caring For Pets With Cancer
Cats and dogs with cancer who are undergoing treatment - whether chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation - are spending more time at home and less time in extended hospital stays thanks to advances in veterinary medicine. This is an emotional blessing for both pet and owner, but it also means that the owner of such a pet must take a more active role as caregiver.
There are some practical steps that you can take at home in order to improve the quality of life of your pet with cancer:
- Proper nutrition is essential for optimal cancer care, so make sure to provide a diet that both appeals to your pet and is also nutritionally appropriate for the pet cancer patient. Your veterinarian can recommend the dietary regimen that's right for your pet's particular needs.
- Try warming your pet's food to just below body temperature before serving; this increases its aroma and may make it more appealing to a pet whose appetite may be less than optimal.
- Ask your vet about appetite stimulants if your pet is not eating enough and losing weight.
- Ask your vet about supplementing your pet's diet with Omega-3 fatty acids. These may enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
- While some discomfort is to be expected, there is no reason for your dog or cat to suffer severe pain. Make sure to administer any prescribed pain relievers as directed.
- Nausea and diarrhea as side-effects of treatment can be very effectively managed with proper medication. Express any concern you may have about this to your vet. She or he will be able to advise you.
Your pet's comfort can also be enhanced by making a few special accommodations:
- Make sure your pet's bed is well cushioned and away from drafts.
- A cat with cancer may have difficulty reaching that "special spot" that it likes so much; setting up a few boxes or other "stepping stones" will help.
As important as all of these suggestions are, don't forget that TLC is an essential part of any treatment regimen -- and there's never a risk of overdose!
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