As with human medicine, veterinarians are focused on diagnosis, treatment (usually surgery and/or chemotherapy) and post-treatment followup. In cases where the disease has progressed too far for treatment to be effective, palliative care and pain management become a priority.
Interestingly, animals do not react to chemotherapy in the same way people do. It is not unusual for a dog to miss the evening meal after a chemotherapy treatment, but generally the appetite will be back next morning and the nausea, hair loss, and weight loss we associate with chemotherapy in people is usually not a problem with pets.
Caught early enough and aggressively treated, many cancers can be put into remission, or can at least be slowed to get an animal several extra months. Many of our clients feel this is well worth it. If you have a pet who you think might benefit from an oncology consult, please call and make an appointment; our doctors may elect to treat some cases in house but more complex cases or those requiring aggressive therapy will be referred to a local specialist.