Some people get a surprise when they learn our pets can get cancer also! Cancer is the result of aberrant cell growth when the controlling genes go awry so unfortunately our pets suffer the same consequences also. Actually cats are really unfortunate that they have some major viruses that cause cancer, even from a young age.
Chemotherapy is the treatment for cancer. Treating the entire body is important because the cancer cells are in many places in the body at once. Most patients may not be feeling particularly sick at the time of diagnosis. It may be tempting to put off treatment until the pet seems more ill. However, waiting can drastically reduce the chance for long term survival; remission is more frequently achieved, and lasts longer, if the patient is treated while they still feel healthy.
Each cancer is different, sometimes chemotherapy is not available but once diagnosed we have access to the latest proven treatments. While some regimes can be severe on the patient, chemotherapy often does not have severe side affects, they usually do not lose their fur for instance!
The goal of chemotherapy is not a complete cure, but to induce a remission by killing the cancer cells. The term “remission” means that all symptoms of the cancer have at least temporarily disappeared. For the most common cancer we treat -Canine Lymphoma, remission is achieved in 80-90% of dogs and typically lasts 6-14 months but can be 2 years or longer.