Be a Responsible Pet Parent in Canine Cancer Care

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Dr Pradip Chaudhari & Elsa
Canine cancer care is team work between a vet and pet parent for treatment of this traumatic disease. –by Dr Pradip Chaudhari

There are some common canine cancers, such as mammary gland cancer common among female dogs. Lymphoma is common in both female and male dogs. Bone cancer is common in large size breeds. Oral cancer is also a common canine cancer among all breeds. When it comes to finding out the root cause of this traumatic disease, some breeds are prone to it. For example, lymphoma is common in Boxers.

However, there is no one specific reason that can be defined as the root cause of canine cancer. It is generally caused due to characteristics of the breeds and their predisposition to certain diseases. There are also several internal factors that play a role to cause cancer among pet dogs.

Early detection is the key
While you are grooming your pet, just explore any kind of nodule /lump/growth, particularly painless lump, on any part of the body. Also, check the pet’s frequency of routines such as urination (increased or decreased) as well as blood in urine, sudden change in potty timing. Changes are important to check to detect the early stage of cancer. Early detection is the key to help your pet from this dreaded traumatic disease.

Also look out for sudden weight loss, discharge in oral cavity or any other internal region. Look out for changes and don’t panic! If pet parent comes early to us we can diagnose and treat better.

Complete care possible
When we started our cancer care clinicin 2012 most of our patients were from Mumbai and its suburb areas only. Now pet parents from Delhi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Surat, Ahmedabad, Nashik, Nagpur and other cities bring their canine cancer patients to our centre. We are well equipped to offer complete cancer care, right from diagnosis to radiotherapy. Even during the lockdown period, we introduced online consultation session as people couldn’t come to our centre.

Truly traumatic
It’s sad but true that pet parents are extremely traumatised when their pets are confirmed with cancer or undergoing cancer treatment, because their bonding is so strong. Pets are not just pets—they are every much a family member. Many pet parents treat them as their own kids. When I receive calls or get text messages from pet parents, they always say, “Sir, my daughter/son is suffering from cancer, please help. I’m devastated.”It’s truly traumatic and they are ready to do anything and spend any amount for advanced treatment of their furry kids.

Don’t lose heart
Canine cancer care is a teamwork between the vet and pet parents. We have to team up with the family members of the patient, once they understand the disease, the progress is faster.

Unforgettable moments
I remember a dog from Delhi, whose pet parent Mr Gupta named him Boris Gupta, was a cancer patient. In the city he couldn’t find any hospital with the facility for canine cancer treatment. That’s why he went ahead to advertise in the newspapers appealing to people who could help him find any solution for the treatment. What amazed me was that a pet parent went to that level for his pet.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t attend Boris in time and lost him. Though we were totally helpless in this case, one thing we noticed was the amount of love the petparent showed for his pet. Just recently, during the lockdown, a dog named Bruno from Kolkata travelled by road to our centre for treatment.

Ray of hope
Now we have advanced facilities for canine cancer treatment all over the country and pet parents are aware of cancer development in their pets. Our facility is equipped with radiation facility which is one-of-its-kind in India. 50 percent of canine cancer patients need radiation treatment, in conjunction with surgery or chemotherapy.

My message to every pet parent is that canine cancer is curable if detected early. We have successfully treated more than 1000 cases so far.

(Dr Pradip Chaudhari is veterinary oncologist at Advanced Centre for Treatment Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC), Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai)

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