What to do when your dog has been diagnosed with cancer
A cancer diagnosis is difficult news to process. First and foremost, remember that your dog is still by your side and what he or she needs right now is for you to be strong, so you can make the right decisions and quickly.
Earth Rated team member Carolina went through something similar with her dog Rudy. What she learned from the experience is to take it one step at a time.
Four steps to take when your dog has cancer
1. Visit your veterinarian
If you suspect your dog might have cancer, don’t wait to see your veterinarian. Rudy was prone to lumps and bumps under her skin, which Carolina and her husband kept an eye on along with regular visits to the clinic.
“While the speed of growth led us to the vet rather quickly, seeing the vet early on was a huge help to the positive outcome.”
Then, when Rudy was 12 years old, a new lump appeared on her skin, and it was like none of her previous growths – it grew and evolved rapidly. In fact, just three weeks after it appeared the family’s vet confirmed it was cancer.
2. Learn everything you can
Don’t be shy. Ask your veterinarian ALL the questions that are going through your mind, and if you don’t feel comfortable with what they’re telling you – get a second opinion. It’s not always easy, but sometimes a second opinion is the best thing you can do for your dog.
Here are just a few examples of questions you may want to ask: What are my treatment options? What’s the prognosis? How can I help keep my dog comfortable?
3. Make a plan
Having a plan can help you make smarter decisions, faster. Carolina was incredibly worried about putting Rudy through what would be her 4th surgery in her lifetime, but she found having a plan to be incredibly helpful.
The family knew that Rudy was uncomfortable and after weighing the pros and cons, it was clear that surgery was the best option. From that point on, the couple concluded they would take it one step at a time and that Rudy’s quality of life is what would drive future decisions.
4. Rely on your support system
A cancer diagnosis is not only stressful for your dog, but it’s also hard on you. Reach out to family and friends for support, talk to them about how you’re feeling, ask them for help post-op or administering medication. This isn’t a journey you should take alone.
You may also consider joining a support group for pet owners coping with a similar diagnosis. Check with your veterinarian to see if there are any local, in person groups or look for a community online.
Today, Rudy is one lucky pup.
Rudy’s surgery went better than anyone could have hoped and the tumour was removed entirely with CLEAN MARGINS. Carolina is happy to report that Rudy is back to her normal self, though her fur has yet to fully grow back and has another surgical scar to add to the collection. A daily reminder that every day together is a gift.