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5 Tips for Surviving Your Dog’s Cancer Treatment

Posted May 27, 2015 in Dog Diseases & Conditions A-Z

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Learning that your dog has cancer can be a traumatic experience and can lead to feelings of grief, anger, fear and even guilt. The entire experience is both emotionally and physically draining as pet guardians deal with the stress of coping with the diagnosis, driving their pet to frequent appointments and struggling to give their pet daily medications. When faced with the daily stresses of treating your dog with cancer, it helps to remember that you are doing this for your beloved pet. Here are 5 tips to help pet guardian’s better cope with their dog’s radiation or chemotherapy treatments.

1. Know what to expect
Having realistic expectations will help you avoid unexpected surprises and disappointments. It is important for pet parents to recognize that, while remission is the ultimate goal, quality of life is equally as important. As a result, cancer treatments in dogs are generally less aggressive than those used in people. Nevertheless, dogs, like humans, may experience many of the same side effects. These include:

Your veterinarian will discuss the most common side effects that your dog is most likely to experience from the cancer treatment. Before starting your dog’s treatment, become familiar with these side effects so that you know what to look for.

2. Keep a journal
Knowledge is king. Be sure to keep a journal that records every treatment, when it was administered and any side effects that your dog may develop. For example, write down if your dog is eating less, seems lethargic, has diarrhea or is vomiting. By keeping track of any side effects and when they occur, you can communicate this valuable information to your veterinarian. Taking care of a dog undergoing cancer treatment can be overwhelming and it is easy to lose track of information. Keeping a journal helps you organize this information so that you can share it your veterinarian.

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Ruth has more than 15 years of experience in the veterinary industry as a companion animal veterinarian in private practice. Along with being a writer and media personality, she is also a founding member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.