Cancer is a significant reality in the lives of aging, senior pets. Our pets are receiving better nutrition, reside indoors, and are living longer. Therefore, we see more cancer in pets because they are living longer, healthier lives. We provide proactive medicine aimed at catching the diagnosis early, before the disease process gets ahead of us.
When cancer is caught early, there may be more treatment options such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and nutritional support. With new therapies and clinical trials available, many animals respond well and the prognosis for recovery can be quite good.
While there are no specific cancer screening programs for our pet patients, we rely on our regular wellness exams to identify early concerns. Routine blood work, X-rays, and ultrasound help us screen for early cancers before patients begin to show symptoms. These tests are also used to monitor for heart, kidney, and liver disease. Routine dental exams and cleanings facilitate prompt diagnosis of patients with oral cancer.
Any new or changing lump found during an exam is promptly evaluated. Although the vast majority of lumps are totally benign sebaceous cysts, papillomas, or lipomas, there is little way to distinguish these from more sinister malignant tumors without an aspiration or biopsy. We are able to aspirate lumps and evaluate the sample under the microscope while you wait, to identify if cancer is a possibility at that site. If cancer is suspected, we may send the sample for evaluation by a specialist or recommend surgical removal of the mass for biopsy.
Of course, pain management is a priority for all of our patients. Pet owners are supported with information and guidance from our veterinary team.