Diagnosis and staging of oncological disease
Diagnosis of cancer is usually achieved by obtaining cell or tissue samples from the pet. Staging refers to trying to determine the extent of a cancer in the patient, usually through imaging the patient and sometimes taking cells from regions of possible spread.
Surgery is often required for the optimal management of certain cancers and specialist surgeons are often best placed to perform oncological surgeries due to the difficulty in the procedure itself or the location of the cancer. In many cases CT scans are required before surgery with 3-D reconstructions to allow for surgical planning.
There is currently no facility providing radiation therapy for pets in Perth, however we are able to refer client and their pets to a radiation facility in Brisbane if this is required for optimal treatment for their pet’s cancer.
Chemotherapy Conventional chemotherapy
Cancer cells multiply rapidly, resulting in cancer growth and potentially metastasis (spread to other organs). Chemotherapy drugs are compounds that kill fast-growing cancer cells. They may be administered intravenously, by subcutaneous (under the skin) or intramuscular (into muscle) injection, or by tablets into the mouth, depending on the drug. Traditional chemotherapy drugs work by damaging cellular processes so that cancer cells cannot grow and divide, eventually killing them. Not all drugs work for all cancers, and in some cases, a combination of drugs has the best effect against the cancer.
This is a continuous low dose form of chemotherapy, usually administered in tablet form by the pet owners at home. It help to deter the growth of new blood vessels needed to nourish cancer as it grows and spreads. This type of chemotherapy may be beneficial for certain types of cancer alone or following a course of conventional therapy.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors
are a class of drug that inhibit the activity of certain molecules responsible in the growth and spread of certain cancers. These class of drugs are commonly used in the treatment of mast cell tumors.
Cryotherapy is the application of extreme cold to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue. Cryotherapy is used to treat a number of skin diseases and cancers.
A vaccination for canine melanoma (a type of skin cancer) is available. This trains the dog’s immune system to recognize this melanoma proteins as foreign, which results in the immune system fighting the cancer cells. In conjunction with surgery and/or radiation to treat the initial cancer, this immune response may help extend the survival time for most dogs.
When no therapy is possible or opted for, we are able to help implement a treatment care plan to help control any symptoms of pain or of symptoms associated with the cancer where appropriate.