There’s no disease more dreadful—both for humans and dogs—than cancer. How do you deal with this complex disease, especially when it comes to older dogs cancer?
First, you have to identify the tumor is benign or malignant. Benign tumors are not necessarily cancerous and won’t spread to other parts of the body. All that needs to be done is removal through surgery. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, are cancers that have to be prevented before it enters the bloodstream or spreads to other parts of the body.
It can occur at any age, so physical examination has to be done for early detection. There may be no early signs for certain cancers such as those in the liver or spleen, but for the most part you can watch for certain signs such as sores on the skin, lumps appearing on the body, swelling on a limb or bone, appetite loss, difficulty in swallowing, urinating, general weakness, change in testicle size, and bleeding.
To diagnose a tumor, the vet must take a biopsy so cells can be examined under a microscope. If the diagnosis is cancer, your vet will be able to explain to you how advanced it is and what your treatment options are. If detected early, there may be a good chance of a successful outcome.
Treatment for cancer can involve many options, all of which have both an emotional and a financial impact. You need to consider:
Effectiveness of treatment and likely outcomes
Health of your dog and prognoses with and without treatment
Age of your dog and likely quality of life during and after treatment
Cost. A deep tumor removal may cost more than $1,500. Radiation therapy may cost $2,000 to $6,000. (Read more here)
Once you’ve confirmed of the painful news that your dog suffers from cancer, you have a choice—and a difficult one at that—to make. Should you let go of your old buddy through euthanasia or should you fight on with available treatments?
If you choose the earlier option, you might feel terribly guilty at first. However, it’s a choice you have to make out of respect, love and selflessness. If you do choose to fight on with your dog, there are a variety of treatments that you can try, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and combination therapy. Ultimately, your choice should depend on the highest chances of success and your financial capacity.