Click here to learn more.
A diagnosis of cancer in a beloved pet tends to broadside owners like a ton of bricks.
If you do happen to find yourself in this unfortunate position, here are 10 key questions you should ask your veterinarian to help prepare you for the next steps.
The gold standard for diagnosing cancer is a biopsy, but not all cancers can or should be biopsied.
Take, for example, the most common feline brain tumor, meningioma, which has a very characteristic appearance on an MRI. When veterinary neurosurgeons see one, they remove the tumor based on its MRI appearance, without first doing a brain biopsy.
In this case, the diagnosis of cancer is not 100 percent certain until after the tumor has been removed and the results come back from the pathology laboratory.
Sometimes your veterinarian may suspect a tumor, but a quick diagnostic test, called a cytology, comes back inconclusive.
A feline patient of mine, Charity, developed a lump on her back. The cytology of the lump did not show a malignancy, but since the lump continued to get larger over a couple of months, I suspected a tumor. After sending her to a surgeon, a biopsy of the mass confirmed a fibrosarcoma.
Mast cell tumors, the most common form of skin cancer in dogs, come in three varieties: grade I, II and III.
Grade II reminds me of a difficult middle child. When I see a mast cell tumor biopsy grade II, I rely on advanced testing of the biopsy to give me additional information about how badly the tumor will behave, further directing my treatment recommendations.
Nearly every dog and cat with cancer needs a chest X-ray to determine if the tumor has spread to the lungs. Based on the typical behavior of your pet’s tumor, an abdominal ultrasound, lymph node aspirate or a CT scan may also be recommended.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank You For Signing Up
for the Petwire newsletter, sending you all the pet news each week directly to your inbox.
Get the latest pet news, tips, tricks, and expert advice sent right to your inbox!
Sparky the dog's owner pulled him from an icy lake, and then the pup helped two men rescue his owner after she…
Ignoring your pup's bouncing and giving him something to carry in his mouth are a few simple ways to prevent…
Between the ages of 7 and 9, your cat is old enough to have some stable wisdom but still young enough for whimsical…
If you travel a lot or can’t afford a dog’s health care costs, maybe it’s not the right time to…
If your pup is tearing up the house while you’re gone, that could be a sign that she needs more physical…
The gentle, affectionate and sociable Selkirk Rex is a good traveler and excellent therapy cat.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.