Cancer is a devastating disease to humans and canines alike and presents in similar ways among both species. Some of the most common canine cancers include osteosarcoma or bone cancer, lymphoma, head and neck cancers, bladder cancer, mammary carcinoma, testicular cancer and malignant brain tumors. It is theorized that heredity plays a large role in determining cancer in canines; however, all dog breeds are susceptible to one form or another. Cancer types, treatment and diagnosis are similar in both people and dogs. Like human cancer care huge strides are being taken to help recognize cancer, assist in control and cure cancer in dogs and other animals. C ancer is common amongst people and dogs and shares many of the same treatment options including:

1. Surgery: The goal of surgery is to completely remove the cancerous tumor before it spreads to any other area of the dog’s body. Depending upon the tumor type, oncologists may combine a regimen of surgery with radiation and/or chemotherapy to target residual disease left by the removal of the tumor.

2. Radiotherapy: There are two types of radiation therapy. The first is teletherapy or external beam therapy, which is given by machine and is the most common radiation treatment used. The second type of radiation therapy is brachytherapy or interstitial therapy in which anodes are implanted into tissues and give off radiation gradually to kill the tumor. The problem with this type of treatment is that, whilst the implant is in place, the dog is a radiation hazard and has to be kept in a special area. Tumors appropriate for radiation therapy are mainly those where surgery is impractical, such as on the upper jaw, on bone, or other major structures. However, radiation therapy is also used in conjunction with surgery to kill off those cancer cells it is not possible to remove. Tumors vary in sensitivity to radiation and some do not respond well to radiation alone.

3. Chemotherapy: Cytotoxic drug therapy uses drugs such as Endoxana, Oncovin and Lytosar; it is used mainly for widespread cancers such as canine multicentric lymphoma. The drugs used damage dividing cells and to minimize toxicity a variety of drugs are used to spread the different side effects so as not to have more than minimal damage to normal tissues. The usual regime is to give eight weeks of intensive treatment and then one week of treatment and one week off. The expectation is that the dog will go into remission for from three months to twenty-four months. Animals on chemotherapy have to be monitored closely by taking blood samples at monthly intervals. Possible side effects are suppression of bone marrow making the dog more susceptible to infection, heart problems, and irritation of the bladder but dosing is individually geared to causing as little side effects as possible. With the latest range of cytotoxic drugs, the treated dog has to be hospitalized for the actual treatment because of the dangers of the drugs themselves.

Regardless of the treatment option appropriate for your dog you should always follow three basic guidelines when treating. First, manage their pain and do not let them hurt. The goal is to prevent pain in the first place rather than treat it after it starts. Make sure pain medication starts before the dog wakes up from surgery and continues throughout treatment to prevent pain from occurring as much as possible. Next, do not let them vomit. Unlike in people, chemotherapy should not cause vomiting in dogs. If your dog vomits while undergoing treatment see care immediately as a dehydrated animal can quickly get electrolyte imbalances. There are anti-nausea medications on the market that will alleviate this problem. Finally, get them to eat. If your dog will not eat his typical kibble try to warm it in the microwave, add dog food gravy, change to a canned food diet or make your own homemade dog food. Proper nutrition will enhance the effectiveness of any cancer treatment by keeping your dog as strong as possible.

Author's Bio: 

Brian writes for pet super store a site featuring hidden fences, dog training collars and wood dog crates.