Guest Blog: Understanding Canine Cancer & Coping With This Deadly Disease

BY JENN JOHNSON, BOSTON, MASS. — There’s no easy way to say it, coping with cancer is devastating at best. Whether it’s a beloved friend, family member or a pet (which is all of these characters combined into one in this case), can be crippling, a difficult diagnosis to bear, very hard to understand at times, and especially difficult to deal with … but it’s not impossible to digest.

When it comes to the overall health of our four-legged best friends, sometimes a diagnosis of cancer can be extremely overwhelming given to us at its face value. It can be especially confusing, given different terms, like neoplasia.

VetDC - Dealing with Canine Cancer with TANOVEA-CA1

While we’re already familiar with labels like “malignant” (bad) and “benign” (better), when it comes to an unknown type of growth, a term known loosely known as “neoplasia” basically it means either you or your veterinarian may have discovered a lump or growth. This blanket term is defined as an “uncontrolled transformation of normal cells into abnormal ones, which usually form masses, invade nearby tissue and ultimately spread to other areas of the body.”

While this type of transformation can have many different meanings, a multitude of varying outcomes, certain nodes can actually normally occur in certain breeds, but the result is almost always the same – stress and worry.


Don’t Go Deadly

If you happen to be given that terrible “C” word as a diagnosis, the most important thing to know is that you shouldn’t panic. Not only can your pet sense this type of fear, anxiety and stress inside of you, it might not necessarily be a fatal diagnosis for them. Given many ongoing decades of different medical advances, research and other routes, there are many options available, including clinical trials that are available to both animals as well as humans.

New drugs, different treatment options, groundbreaking surgeries and other critical choices keep popping up all over the world and even in your own backyard. So don’t give up! Even if you’re in a financial pickle, the internet has been well-known to sponsor these adorable pets (regardless of their age or condition) in crisis-modes with crowdfunding options, neighborhood funding ventures and other ways to help you and your best friend deal with this type of disease.


Staying Active & Getting Informed

Together with your veterinarian, understand the exact diagnosis completely and do your best to keep your pet in the very best of health. While you’re given the opportunity of the world-wide-web, you’ll likely see some truly interesting avenues and choices available out there, but you should definitely keep your vet in the loop when it comes to testing these uncharted waters and advice.

At the same time, it’s also important to keep your pet’s daily routine completely intact although it may alter slightly. For example, your vet may recommend decreasing (or even increasing) your animal’s daily activity levels including walking, playing, exercising, sleeping, etc. But there should still be a constant care level in these everyday occurrences. Domesticated pets always behave, perform and most importantly heal much better when kept to a certain schedule.

VetDC - Dealing with Canine Cancer with TANOVEA-CA1


Use Your Support System

Don’t forget to reach out to fellow pet lovers, mostly it will be your friends and family in this case. Talk to them if you feel overwhelmed, depressed, stressed or are just having trouble coping. They’re likely just like you, fellow animal lovers and they’ll be there to help comfort, console and even offer you assistance when you need it the most.

If the most unfortunate and dreaded event happens and your beloved pet does perish from this disease, it’s also extremely important to remember a few simple facts:

  1. You can always donate funds to continue research and life-saving endeavors to assist other pets that are in need.
  2. Caring for your pet, just being there for them during this difficult time is an important part of your loving bond and trust with them.
  3. Remember, just that, you gave them a wonderful, long and loving life, did everything your could for them and made the best choice(s) available given the circumstances.

Cancer doesn’t have to be the “end all” to our life or the lives of our loved ones. Keep an open mind and a loving heart when it comes to attacking this often misunderstood foe.

Born in Chicago and raised in Boston, Jenn Johnson is a journalist and a freelance writer. She completed her PhD in journalism from Northwestern University. You’ll find this pet enthusiast and freelance journalist living happily with her husband, three kids and their two beloved dogs, Thunder and Lightning, in the Back Bay area of Massachusetts, just outside Boston.


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