One of the worst diseases facing mankind today is that of cancer. Cancer is a disease of the cells in the body, characterized by their continuous and unregulated growth and reproduction. This unregulated growth creates tumors and health problems in humans and, if left untreated, often results in death. Currently, there are over 200 known types of cancer that can affect humans.
But ask someone like Philip Treuil about cancer and he will tell you that it doesn't only affect humans. Our beloved pets and other animals can also suffer from cancer. Animals, especially mammals like dogs and cats, share a great deal of their biology with humans. This means that their cells can also succumb to cancer and grow in an unregulated fashion.
Philip Treuil specializes in cancer in animals in his veterinary practice. He has studied radiation biology and other fields related to cancer for years. He knows how difficult it can be when a beloved pet is diagnosed with cancer. What usually happens? Here is a basic overview of what happens when your pet has cancer and you see a vet to help.
First of all, many owners realize that something is wrong with their pets. Sometimes they can appear sick or in pain. When there is concern, a vet will subject your pet to a variety of tests. Oftentimes, these tests involve blood, urinalysis, radiographs, and even biopsies to determine the extent and type of cancer affecting your pet. This is known as the tumor evaluation or tumor staging.
Once this stage of diagnosis is complete, a choice of therapy must be made by the owner and the veterinarian. The four most common forms of therapy to treat cancer are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy. Each of these therapies is chosen for specific reasons depending on the cancer affecting your pet. For some cancers, a simple surgery and observation can be done to remove the cancer from the body. Other cancers are more powerful or more developed and require more invasive methods, like chemotherapy.
The hardest decision to make when dealing with a pet suffering from cancer is whether or not to treat them. Often, these treatments can be incredibly time consuming and expensive for the owner. Not many pet owners carry insurance on their pets and they are required to pay out of pocket for expensive procedures and drugs. Still, if the owner has the resources, there are options to help your pet have a happy life and oftentimes be cured of cancer. Otherwise, one can give their pet as happy a life as possible and put them down humanely when life becomes too difficult because of the pain from the cancer.