VOSRC_iStock_000048473782_LargeThe Veterinary Oncology Services and Research Center, as well as the Veterinary Oncology Services’ Radiation Center, operate with a two-pronged approach: Offer cutting-edge oncology services with unparalleled sensitivity and compassion. We understand that making decisions in regards to your pet’s health and cancer treatment can be very difficult.  Our goal is to support you during this decision process and help you make informed choices regarding your pet’s care.

Undergoing Treatment

Following your pet’s cancer diagnosis, he or she may undergo multi-modality therapies, including chemotherapy, surgery, immunotherapy, radiation, and metronomics.  

Your pet may experience side effects associated with the selected treatment course.  Most of these side effects are not life-threatening or emergent in nature.  However, some may warrant emergency care.   At VOSRC, we want to help you discern between the effects of conventional pet cancer therapies and when it’s time to seek emergency care.

Is It a Pet Cancer Emergency?

Pet cancer treatment is extremely similar to human cancer treatment. Therefore, your pet may experience some of the common side effects associated with cancer treatment, albeit on a lesser scale.

  • Chemotherapy – Chemotherapeutic agents are not administered with the same dose intensity and frequency as seen in human medicine.  Our aim in doing so is to decrease the degree and frequency of common side effects while still effectively treating your pet’s cancer.  Despite these efforts, some pets will still experience common side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, dehydration, or inappetance. These side effects are usually greatly reduced or prevented with the administration of anti nausea medications.  These medications are started the same day as your pet’s treatment and continued for 3 to 4 days after treatment.
    Please keep us posted on your pet’s at-home behavior, and depending on the severity of your pet’s side effects, we can discuss whether additional supportive medication or treatment is warranted.
  • Radiation – A tumor’s size will dictate how much and what type of radiation is used. Adjacent or nearby tissue can become inflamed or irritated during treatment and lead to discomfort. We do our best to minimize these ill-effects  by minimizing radiation to normal tissue.  If your pet becomes uncomfortable at any point during treatment, we would be happy to discuss medications to help control inflammation or pain.

Caring For Your Pet

Caring for your pet during and after cancer treatment sometimes involves the use of multiple different medications.  Commonly prescribed medications include antibiotics, anti-emetics, antihistamines, antidiarrheals, corticosteroids, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.

Many of our canine and feline patients with cancer also have other health issues that may be related to or separate from their disease, including anemia, digestive problems, kidney disease, liver disease, or high blood calcium levels. To reduce the chances of a pet cancer emergency, you should keep a close eye out for symptoms of these conditions, such as hydration status, excessive urination, vomiting, or diarrhea. If your pet is having trouble breathing or is running a fever, please don’t hesitate to reach us immediately.

Proof’s In the Food

Pet cancer can affect metabolism, sense of smell and taste, and the ability to chew and swallow. We recommend that you offer your pet the highest quality nutrition during treatment. A balanced, complete and extremely palatable menu is critical to your pet’s recovery and well-being.

Silver Linings

Your pet may have a few rough days while undergoing to treatment.  This can occur as a result of the tumor breaking down and releasing inflammatory cytokines and toxins.  The body will remove these toxins with time.  It is important to keep in mind that less than 5% of our patients need to be hospitalized for a pet cancer emergency following treatment. As we attack a tumor or eradicate cancer altogether, your pet’s systems will react accordingly.

Our dedicated staff members will follow up with you after your pet receives cancer treatment. Caring for your pet at home may difficult and we’re always happy to answer any questions.