American Eskimo Dogs Organization Of Vancouver
                Home
                About The Breed
                Breeders
                Health
                Feeding
               Exercise
               Walks
               Training
               Pictures
               Videos
               Events
               Links
               Feedback
               Site Map
               Contact Us
 
website security

Cancer
The Big "C" Doesn't Always Mean a Death Sentence

Cancer is by far the biggest killer of dogs. Just over 50% of all dogs die from cancer. But getting cancer doesn't necessarily mean a death sentence. There has been a dramatic improvement in veterinary medical treatment for many kinds of canine cancer in recent years.  A number of cancers can be treated resulting in cures and remission. Much of what is available today in terms of treatment has been derived from cancer treatment for humans. The key to successful cancer treatment is early detection. 

Warning Signs

Regardless of the age of your Eskie, be forever watchful for signs that things may not be as they should be. Bottomline is if you notice something unusual that is ongoing, go to the vet and get it checked out. Different cancers will have different symptoms. Some cancers are easy to detect such as the appearance of a lump. Yet with some cancers, symptoms don't show up until the cancer has developed significantly and metastisized or spread to different parts of the body. Typical symptoms listed in medical literature include excessive thirst, lack of appetite, lethargy or lack of energy, lameness in one of the legs, excessive urination or lack of urination, straining to defecate, constant diarrhea or loose stools, thinning of the stools, repeated licking of an area of the body, display of pain, warts, swelling of an area of the body and lumps. It's good to run your hands through your Eskies hair and feel the skin throughout their body looking for lumps. Also look for signs of tender areas. If you find an area that has a lump or is tender, or you notice your Eskie is displaying some kind of unusual symptom that is ongoing, take him to the vet and get it checked out.  

Getting It Checked Out

Many cancers come in the form of lumps or tumours, unless it is some type of blood cancer like lymphoma. Some tumours are near the surface of the body and can be felt externally and others are inside internal organs. Do not rely on bloodwork to confirm the presence of cancer. Cancer does not necessarily show up in bloodwork. If you suspect something is wrong in a certain area of your Eskie's body, ask your vet for a physical exam and ask for the appropriate imaging test. This might be an  x-ray, ultrasound or even a CT scan. The CT scan is the most accurate available imaging technique. Once the tumour has been located either through a physical exam or by some imaging test, typically the procedure is to get a needle aspirate of the tumour. A needle is injected into the area and the contents are sent off to the lab for histology analysis.    

Get It "Gone"

If the histology report confirms the presence of cancer, ask your vet about surgery to get the tumour removed as soon as possible. Time is of the essence. Your vet may recommend more imaging to see if the cancer has spread before surgical removal. Even if the cancer has spread, getting the main tumour out may buy you some time and whatever has spread may be treated with radiation or chemotherapy. Be strong and don't give up. In the case of surgery for tumour removal, your vet will try to remove as much of the tumour as possible and get a wide clear margin around the tumour location. The tumour can then be sent off to the pathologist to determine the exact pathology of the cancer such as what stage the cancer is and how aggressive it may or may not be.  If removing a wide clear margin around the tumour was not possible through surgery, then you will need to follow-up with either radiation or chemotherapy to remove any remnants of cancer.  Ask your vet to refer you for a consultation with a veterinary oncologist.

Oncology

Oncology is the specialty in veterinary medicine dealing with cancer. There are Oncologists who specialize in chemotherapy and there are Radiation Oncologists who specialize in radiation treatment.  Once you have a diagnosis of cancer from your vet, your vet will typically refer you to an Oncologist. If not, you should schedule a consultation with an Oncologist to find out what your options are for treating your Eskie. Oncology is a rapidly developing field.  Don't presume that your vet has kept  up-to-date with all of the new and developing cancer treatments. We have heard from lots of people during the course of cancer treatments that their regular vet thought their dog's cancer was terminal when in fact the Oncologist's verdict was different. Each type of cancer has its own treatment protocol. For some cancers, for example for those that are spread throughout the body like lymphoma,  chemotherapy is the preferred treatment modality. For others, where is there a localized tumour, surgery and possibly  radiation are recommended.  Some advanced cancers require treatment with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.  

Radiation

Radiation may sound awful but it is the most aggressive form of treatment and can actually get the job done. Radiation zaps those cancer cells dead. Although it is the most aggressive way of killing off cancer, it tends to have less side effects than many of the chemotherapy treatments. Radiation is targeted to a very specific area of the body.  Only a small area is actually radiated.  The typical radiation field may be around 3 cm or larger if required. Whereas chemotherapy affects the entire body. Radiation treatments happen over a course of 3 to 4 weeks and then you're done. Your Eskie will have a "sunburn" on the treated area and some pain for a couple of weeks and then the side effects are gone. Hair will not grow back on the spot that was radiated. If the area radiated was on the face, there may be some long term side effects like the development of cataracts. If your Eskie had a tumour that was removed surgically, radiation can be used to kill remaining cancer cells that may have spread out from the cancerous area.  Radiation can also be used to shrink or kill off very large tumours that were too large to remove surgically. 

Radiation is administered by a machine, the latest in technology is called a linear accelerator.  These machines cost a couple of million dollars and so there are few facilities in North America that offer radiation treatments for animals.  Currently there are 2 facilities in Canada and 54 in the USA. The closest facility to Vancouver is at Washington State University, College of Veterinary Medicine in Pullman, Washington. It is a 10 hour drive from Vancouver located about 90 miles south of Spokane. The cost at WSU is significantly less than at the Animal Cancer Centre in Calgary or Guelph. 

Washington State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Pullman, Washington

Western Veterinary Animal Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta

Animal Cancer Centre, Ontario Veterinary College, Guelph, Ontario

For a complete list of facilities with linear accelerators in the USA, click here.

For a good detailed explanation of radiation therapy, please visit The Pet Cancer Centre.

Resources

The Pet Cancer Center

The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs

The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog's Life Quality and Longevity

Withrow and MacEwen's Small Animal Clinical Oncology, 5e

Canine Internal Medicine Secrets, 1e

Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats

Cancer Management in Small Animal Practice, 1e

Send mail to webmaster with questions or comments about this web site.

web design digitalmultimediastore.com

Copyright 2005-2017 American Eskimo Dogs Organization Of Vancouver. All Rights Reserved.


Last modified on