No pet owner ever wants to face the possibility of a cancer diagnosis. Yet, the sad truth is that a large proportion of pet dogs will develop some form of cancer in their life time. The forms and severity can vary from animal to animal. What remains the same is our determination to do right by our animals and provide the best possible care. If you get a cancer diagnosis from your veterinarian, you need to consider the right course of action for safe, beneficial treatment. There are different approaches to take depending on your views and situation.
Cancer is all too common with dogs these days
Cases of canine cancer are on the rise, with as much as 50% of dogs over the age of 10 developing some form of the disease. There are a number of reasons for this. The first is the increasing aged population of pets. Our animals live longer than ever before due to their veterinarian care and lifestyle. This means a higher likelihood of reaching old age and developing one of the cancers mentioned below. Then there are some of the environmental factors that could encourage abnormal cell growth, such as a poor diet, exposure to pollutants and forms of radiation. There is also the fact that some breeds are more prone to specific cancers, and that threat may rise with poor breeding and weak genetic pools. Examples include Golden Retrievers and Boxers. This doesn’t mean that mixed breed dogs can’t get cancer, but the risks may be lower.
What types of cancers do vets see?
Some of the most common forms of cancer in dogs include lymphoma, breast cancer, skin cancer and bone cancer. Lymphoma is a tumor of the lymph nodes, generally characterized by swelling or lumps. We don’t always think about breast cancer affecting dogs, but we forget about the mammary glands on a bitch and the potential for cancer here. There are other cancers that are less common. Cancers of the reproductive organs are avoidable if animals are spayed.
Testing for cancer in dogs
It can be tricky to determine whether or not a dog has cancer, which is why few animals are diagnosed in the early stages of the disease. It all depends on how through you are with your checks when grooming and what you find. The most obvious signs are lumps and swelling in the lymph nodes. These good be benign lumps or signs of other illnesses, or they could be tumors. Some dogs also exhibit poor would healing, unexplained bleeding, vomiting and loss of appetite. If you have any concerns, take your dog to the vet to get the area checked out. They will hopefully rule out cancer with appropriate testing and find the cause. If it is cancer, you can then talk about the next step.
Choosing the right treatment option for your pet
There is always some controversy around the treatment of cancer in dogs. It is hard enough to make a decision on the best approach to care for our own health. There is that balance between effective treatments, quality of life and a dignified death. The same is true for our dogs, only they don’t have a say in the matter. We have to move forward with the course of action we believe is in their best interests. Some dog owners will favor harsh treatments, like chemotherapy if there is a good chance of recovery. Others may go for natural remedies to ease symptoms and help the animal enjoy their final years. Then there is the option to put a dog to sleep if they are suffering.
Veterinarian options for treating canine cancer
Ideally, you will discover the cancer quickly and there will be one instance of a tumour that is a candidate for surgical removal. However, developed cancers, and lymphomas are more difficult to treat. This is where some owners turn to chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy and possible treatment options. This can be a good option if there is a good prognosis. But, you don’t want to prolong the pain and suffering of your pet if there is little hope. There is also the fact that these procedures can be pretty expensive.
There there is the natural or holistic approach to treating cancer in dogs
There are some holistic methods that will come as a surprise to those that are familiar with the medical route in cancer treatment. Practitioners advocate a lack of interventions and radiation, which may inhibit the immune system. They also promise physical activity, whether than bed rest, to stimulate the animal’s mind and body. A diet of whole foods and lots of water also helps. There are also those that use homeopathy and acupuncture for great results.
A popular natural solution is the use of essential oils and fatty acids. Some do so through supplementation in the diet, others as a topical solution through massage there are different options available. Supplements with omega-3 fatty acids are popular because of their effect on the immune system and central nervous system. Antioxidants, such as those found in curcumin and green tea help with oxidative stress and can help control cancer.
Using CBD oil
The use of hemp or CBD oil in medical treatments for pets is one that still gets mixed responses. Some are way of these products because of the links to cannabis. Others are keen to give them a try because of the potential health benefits and natural formula. The best CBD products and supplements have a pure, natural formula with no psychoactive compounds. This allows for relaxation and treatment of diseases like cancer. This oil can help with the symptoms of cancer, due to the high levels of omega acids. There is also evidence to suggest that it can target cancer and inhibit growth.
There is no perfect solution for all dogs
Each cancer case is different with pets, just as it is for humans. One treatment option might be ideal for one animal and their diagnosis, but not for the next patient. That is why it helps to look into different treatment options – both natural and medical. Chemotherapy and surgery have their place, but so does acupuncture and CBD oil. Take your cues from the symptoms and reactions of the dog.
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