One of the most important things to know about chemotherapy and radiation therapy in dogs and cats is that it is NOT the same as in people; 90% of the pets we treat handle therapy incredibly well with little to no toxicity. In addition, most pets are treated as outpatients with visits typically lasting 30-60 minutes, so the time spent away from you is minimized as much as possible. It’s also important to remember despite what you are going through; there is always a tremendous amount of HOPE! So much has changed in the last 5 years and there has been a rapid and significant progress in cancer diagnostics and therapies. Because of this we wanted to ensure that you have the most current information in regards to the treatment options, including clinical trials, available for your pet’s cancer. We understand that hearing the word “cancer” stirs up many emotions (fear, anxiety, and depression) and we want to address those feelings by providing important information that will allow you to make the decision that is right for you, as well as for your pet.
Toxicity – Chemotherapy and radiation therapy in dogs and cats are very different from these treatments in people. Veterinary oncologists and pet owners have made the conscious choice NOT to put our pets through what people go through. We have designed protocols to maximize BOTH quality and quantity of life. In addition, there are wonderful new ways to prevent side effects of therapy from ever occurring in the first place. When side effects are anticipated, we make sure the right medications are used to alleviate discomfort.
Efficacy – Cancer is NOT a death sentence. Cancer is much more treatable now than ever before as we have far more options. New therapies have been developed for the most common types of cancers that have increased life expectancy by over 100% in some cases. With combination therapy, many animals are living with cancer for years and have a wonderful quality of life.
Cost – Cancer therapy does not have to be expensive–in terms of finances or time. With the advent of oral chemotherapies, metronomic chemotherapies and clinical trials, the cost of treatment is less likely to be a factor for most people. Metronomic chemotherapy is the use of very low dose oral chemotherapy and other medications given daily. This combination of drugs causes almost no side effects and works to slow down the growth of almost all cancers. Again, remember that over 95% of our patients are treated as outpatients and your clinic visits typically last less than an hour (http://www.vcchope.com/petowners/costofcare).
The Median is NOT the Message – Despite what you may read on the internet or in many scientific papers, the outcome of an individual pet is not known. Statistics are wonderful for comparing groups – either people or animals. However, they have far less meaning to the individual patient. Every pet, just like every person, is an individual, and may respond far better than the average. We will never treat your pet as a statistic and always strive for the best outcome. Helping You Make an Informed Decision Quality of life is extremely important to us. We strive to maximize both quality and quantity of life for your pet.