If your older buddy is advanced in age and suddenly diagnosed with cancer, should you move forward with the treatment, or should you simply let go for fear that your dog might not be able to withstand such an extensive and rigorous treatment option? Older dogs cancer, which is one of the leading causes of death for around 50% of senior dogs, may be a tough enemy to overcome, but it’s not impossible at all.
In fact, certain veterinarians, like Dr. Joanne Intile, don’t pay particular attention to a dog’s age when it comes to cancer treatment. For instance, it’s no more difficult to treat an older dog with cancer than a dog with Cushing’s disease or diabetes.
There is certainly an emotional angle when considering treating geriatric pets with cancer. But what I think is most fascinating is how truly double-edged the angle really is. I’ve treated pets as “youthful” as 18 months and as “ancient” as 18 years. I’ve heard owners of young pets say, “We have to give him a chance! He’s so full of life” just as easily as they say “I can’t see him going through so many months of treatment just to have his already too short life cut even shorter.”
Owners of beloved senior animals are just as likely to treat their pet because “he was such a great companion for 15 years, I need to take care of him now” as they are to not treat because “he’s too old and frail to undergo treatment, and I wouldn’t want that for myself if I were his age.” (Read more here)
It’s true: deciding whether to go on with treatment or let go is a difficult one, but the most important consideration is to always have the best interests of the pet at heart. There is no black and white way of looking at the situation, and there’s always an downside to every upside. But you know what? As long as your concern is the happiness of your pet, you should be at peace.