Pet Cancer Treatments
When we first hear that a loved one has cancer, it is really hard to focus on much else. The internet can be a wonderful resource but can also be very confusing and often contains information that is just not true. We will help you to understand what the various options are, what the potential side effects of each one of those treatments will be and what the prognosis is for each option.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery for dogs and cats in the Southwest is only available at Arizona Veterinary Oncology. This very precise delivery of radiation can be used to treat many tumors, often before they are removed by a surgeon. It can be used to treat tumors deep inside the body in places that a scalpel just can’t reach (inside the brain for example).
Conventionally Fractionated Radiation Therapy is also available. This radiation involves multiple treatments for many different tumor types. This type of radiation has been around for many years and has a proven track record for many tumor types and can achieve a cure in some tumors.
Palliative Radiation can be performed for some tumors when they are causing pain or discomfort to your pet. This radiation is not associated with many side effects and can increase comfort within days in many cases.
Chemotherapy in pets is a really wide topic that includes both oral and injectable medications that intend to stop the spread of many tumors and in some cases, get rid of the tumor all together. Dogs and cats tend to tolerate chemotherapy far better than people for a number of reasons. It is unusual for our pets to get sick from chemotherapy and they rarely lose their hair. Just as in our human counterparts, we are constantly improving on the types of drugs we have available and their effectiveness.
Immunotherapy is probably the most talked about topic in cancer treatment today. The body doesn’t recognize cancer cells as anything but our own and as such, does not do anything to stop them. The basic idea behind immunotherapy is to help the body identify these abnormal cells so that its own defense mechanisms can fight the cancer. While quickly growing, to date we only have a small number of cancers where this is useful so far.
Cryotherapy is used to freeze certain tumors. This type of therapy is often used for skin tumors that are caused by the sun or other small tumors.
Strontium-90 radiation is used to administer large doses of radiation to very superficial tumors. This treatment, like cryotherapy, is often used for tumors caused by the sun.
Radioactive Iodine-131 (I-131) is the safest and most common treatment for cats with hyperthyroidism. Other than surgery, it is the only treatment that actually addresses the problem (an abnormal growth of thyroid cells). Other treatments like methimazole and iodine-restricted diets are mere Band-Aids that serve only to eliminate the signs and symptoms but do not solve the problem. Arizona Veterinary Oncology is the only provider in Phoenix to treat these cats based on imaging of the disease (as opposed to a common dose given to all cats).
Besides having multiple board-certified doctors specializing in the treatment of cancer, we work closely with other specialists. We have ready access within our locations to board-certified surgeons, internal medicine specialists, radiologists, cardiologists, dermatologist, dentists, critical care specialists and ophthalmologists. We also work with other specialists including neurologists and nutritionists that are just a phone call away. Because of this, Arizona Veterinary Oncology offers the most complete selection of options available to treat cancer in dogs and cats in the Southwest.