Your Dogs Been Diagnosed With Cancer: 5 Hard Questions You Need to Ask Your Vet

Canine cancer is a scary diagnosis make sure you're getting the information you need to help you and your dog.

By | Posted: May 29, 2014, 12 p.m. PST

The emotional stress associated with a dog cancer diagnosis can be made worse by getting misinformation or no information at all. What questions should you ask your veterinarian to ensure that your pet’s cancer treatment is on the correct path?

1. What type of cancer does my dog have?

Many types of cancer exist, from sarcomas to carcinomas to round cell tumors. Knowing your dog’s exact type of cancer can allow you to ask the right questions and do the right research.

2. What other diagnostic tests or staging tests should be performed?

Oftentimes, the diagnosis of cancer is just the beginning. Your dog may need further tests, such as ultrasounds, radiographs, or blood tests, to help better classify the disease and/or determine if it has spread to other locations.

3. What treatment options are available for this type of cancer?

Treatment for cancer often involves multiple therapies. Options may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or immunotherapy. Knowing all of the potential treatment options can help you make the most informed decision for your dog.

4. Should I seek the help of a veterinary specialist?

General practitioners are the central members of a pet’s medical team. Cancer, however, is a very complex disease with various and often rapidly changing treatment options. You might need to seek the help of a board-certified veterinary specialist, such as an oncologist or radiologist, to decide upon the best treatment plan for your pet.

5. Is my pet currently in pain? If so, what can we do about it?

Animals are very good at hiding their signs. Although your dog might not be acting like she’s in pain by crying, whining, etc., she might still be hurting. Your veterinarian can assess heart rate, respiratory rate, and other physiologic responses that may indicate pain. If your dog is showing signs of pain, there are many options for pain-relieving medications.


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