SFVS oncologist Aarti Sabhlok, DVM, Board-qualified (Oncology), was interviewed in yesterday’s “Tails of the City” blog (written by Amelia Glynn and housed at SFGate.com). The subject? When pets get cancer. A quick excerpt:
Is cancer treatment for pets different from cancer treatment in humans?
When we treat humans for cancer, it’s typically “cure at all cost.” We do everything we can to eradicate the cancer cells — even when it means making the patient very ill (albeit hopefully temporarily) in the process. Animals don’t understand being sick. So cancer treatment for our pets isn’t as aggressive as it is with humans. It’s more about achieving good quality of life for as long as possible. Interestingly, one of my clients who is a therapist for people with cancer made the observation that vets tend to be more compassionate than human doctors with their cancer patients.
What kinds of options accompany a cancer diagnosis?
It really depends on the type of cancer and how early it’s discovered. The whole health of the animal should be taken into consideration when making a decision. For example, if the cancer is isolated and can be removed, surgery might be a great option. But when considering amputation it’s also important to weigh other issues, like arthritis or liver or kidney problems that might hinder your pet’s ability to adjust to having a missing limb. This being said, I’ve operated on older animals with arthritis who have done remarkably fine with amputation. But surgery isn’t always the end all be all. Sometimes chemo or radiation are needed as a follow-up treatment. One option, of course, is to do nothing. Palliative care can help keep the animal comfortable for as long as possible. Letting go can sometimes be the most unselfish choice.
Continue reading: The “C” word: when pets get cancer
Share your story: Have you ever had a pet with cancer? What did you do to treat it?