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 subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
The group Rescue From the Hart took
in canine best friends Monica and
Chandler from the streets of Los Angeles.
Most people who bring a new pet home
have the best intentions. But what if the animal you adopt isn't a match for you?
We asked the pros what it takes to get a
cat recognized as an official breed in the
United States, Canada and the U.K.
We’ve rounded up the most important
senior health and behavior information
from our team of animal experts.
Snakes can be great pets — but are you
prepared to meet their very specific
environmental and dietary needs?
When she's not curled in your lap, the affectionate and elegant Birman will gladly play fetch or chase a ball.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.