Cancer treatment for dogs


It may surprise many people to learn that dogs and humans are susceptible to much the same types of cancers. They may also be surprised to learn that when a dog has cancer, he or she may undergo treatments very similar to those administered to humans.

Common canine cancers

The most common types of cancer that appear in dogs are generally considered to be among the following:

This list is not complete; it merely points out some of the more common canine cancers.

Cancer treatment options for dogs

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses chemicals ('chemical therapy') to kill cancer cells within the dog. The treatment can be curative, it can shrink tumors and help control the cancer, or in terminal cases, it can provide some symptom relief. Although chemotherapy is associated with lots of bad side effects, dogs do not seem to experience the same effects as humans, or at least to the same degree.

Antiangiogenesis: This treatment type involves starving a tumor of oxygen and nutrients. When tumors form, they create their own microenvironment, which includes the building of blood vessels (called angiogenesis). Anti-angiogenesis involves the use of targeted drugs to block the tumor's ability to build those vessels.

Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy, or radiation, involves using high-powered energy beams to help shrink and/or eliminate a tumor. Like chemotherapy, radiation is useful against some but not all canine cancer types, and it can have a curative, control, or palliative (relieving symptoms) effect.

Surgery: Surgery may be used to remove a primary tumor in a dog if the procedure isn't considered too dangerous. Generally, a veterinary surgeon goes in and removes the main tumor, and this is followed up by either chemotherapy or radiation as a way to 'mop up' any cancer cells surgery left behind. Sometimes a surgeon will merely 'debulk' a tumor, physically shrink it, if it is causing symptoms and it is all he can gain access to.

Holistic therapies: A variety of holistic or alternative therapies are sometimes used in an effort to treat canine cancer. while there is little evidence supporting them, they are nonetheless often very attractive to owners who believe conventional therapies will cause their dog to suffer and want to avoid any possibility of that.

Sources and additional reading

Canine Cancer, Treatments, Canine lymphoma treatment


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