If Your Pet Develops Cancer, What Should Be Your Treatment Goals?
IN THIS ARTICLE I'd like to share with you what cancer is and then discuss thedifferent therapy options available, and then conclude with what your treatment goals should be.
Lets begin with a description of this insidious disease. Cancer is essentially cells going wild. It is the unrestrained growth of cells that destroy healthy tissues and body organs. There are many forms of cancer and each of them have different outcomes.
Your vet can choose to surgically remove the tumor or begin radiation therapy -- which are two common treatments, and expensive. Other therapy options include: chemotherapy, pain relief, complementary therapies including vitamins and nutritional supplements, homeopathics, biologicals, acupuncture, herbal remedies or a combination of therapies. Each case is different and there are stress factors (on both people and pets) as well as costs that often determine a course of action. The course of the disease is often unpredictable so essentially the goal of treatment is to:
1. Slow down the illness
2. Prolong life
3. Make your pet as comfortable and happy as possible
Conventional treatment options
1. Surgery - recommended only if there is a good chance of removing enough of the tumor to boost quality of life.
2. Radiation - can work for certain types of tumors. Not without risks and complications. Speak to your vet.
3. Chemotherapy - has a good success rate with lymphoma in dogs and cats, and with some other cancers. For many cancers, it has little or no benefit.
4. Appetite Stimulants - Weight loss is a huge issue. No food, no nutrition, and the immune system goes south faster than a duck in winter. There are a number of different medications on the market that help increase your pet's appetite. Use these medications at the first sign of decreased appetite rather than delaying until significant weight loss has occurred. It is much easier to maintain weight then it is to gain it back after its been lost.
5. Pain Medication - as quality of life is the top priority, seek advice from your veterinarian and likely you will have to buy prescriptions.
6. Acupuncture - this holistic treatment is increasingly popular in cancer treatment. Acupuncture for pets is now recognized as a specialists degree from the American Holistic Veterinarian's Association. About 300 vets graduate each year with an advanced degree, but be that as it may, acupuncture does have a downside. It will stimulate the body's systems and may backfire and cause tumor growth.
1. Supplements - should be a part of everyday pet health and life-long therapy. Refined pet foods most often lack the vital nutrients required and the reason for this is that they are leached out during the manufacturing process -- much like our foods have been for decades and now look at the huge incidences of cancer in society! Okay back to supplements. One more thing, if your pet is difficult to pill or wont accept a supplement mixed with food, these many not be practical.
2. Digestive Enzymes - anything that will help your pet get the most out of its food is a requirement whilst your pet is suffering from cancer. Digestive enzymes breakdown carbs, fats, proteins and make the food and its nutrients more bio-available to the body. This is good. It is in fact, vital.
3. Pet Vitamins - he or she needs pet vitamins! Specifically pet vitamins A, C and E - of which are all antioxidants and have a number of anti-cancer effects, including the inhibition of blood vessel growth in tumors, the promotion of healthy collagen, and free radical scavengers.
4. Herbal Remedies - at AllPetNaturals we carry a number of natural herbal tinctures that are potent antioxidants that also serve to stabilize cells, as well as detox the liver and boost the immune system. They have proven themselves to be effective as they have been in use by over 200 holistic veterinarians for over 10 years.
5. Nordic Naturals Omega-3 Fish Oils for Pets - this product is rich in EFA's (essential fatty acids) specifically EPA and DHA -- which have been shown clinically to reduce inflammation by promoting the production of natural anti-inflammatory substances in the body. They also help your pet with energy and can slow tumor growth.
6. Marijuana oil (a legal form) for pets - is a good source of Omega-3s and has the additional advantage of improving appetite.
7. Essiac Formula - this herbal remedy (known in our store as Constitutional Blend) is an immune booster and an antioxidant. The formula has a taste the some pets find weird and don't like. Homeopathic Essiac (called Constitutional Blend) is available from AllPetNaturals.com.
8. Protein Rich Diet - a good quality protein in the diet is tasty and the easiest for the body to process. High quality proteins include real meat, poultry and fish, and better quality canned food. Simple carbohydrates should be eliminated from the diet if possible or reduced. Simple carbohydrates include sugar, milk, fruit and kibble (dry pet food). Complex carbohydrates (starchy vegetables) should be reduced in quantity.
When is veterinary attention required?
Please contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the following:
* decrease in appetite
* weight loss
* increase or decrease in drinking or in urinating
* urinating or defecating in an inappropriate location
* straining when passing stool or urine
* stool that is dry or hard or constipation
* change in behaviour (ie. withdrawing, becoming aggressive)
* decrease in energy
* a sore that does not heal
* an unusual odor
Same day veterinary attention is required if you notice any of the following:
* if your pet stops drinking and urinating
* if your pet hasnt eaten for 24 hours
* if your pet is extremely lethargic or is having difficulty walking
* if your pet is in pain
* if your pet vomits more than 3 times in a 24 hour period.
As mentioned earlier the primary goal of a pet with cancer is 'quality and dignity of life.' To be honest, quality of life is difficult to measure in animals, however some of the factors to consider are appetite, activity and energy levels, grooming habits and finally sociability around other animals. When your pets quality of life is no longer adequate and treatment options have been exhausted, humane euthanasia is recommended. References: Dr. Lea Stogdale, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM
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by: William GreenbaumAbout the Author:William Greenbaum is the Founder of All Pet Naturals -- a natural health company specializing in the pet industry, and providing pet owners with the finest holistic line of herbal and homeopathic medicines on the market today. allpetnaturals.com