Depending on the type of cancer, the location, and how advanced the disease, pets with cancer have various treatment options. A veterinary oncologist may recommend one or more treatment alternatives. Like cancer care in people, treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are used alone or in combination to control cancer in pets. The Flint Animal Cancer Center also offers many clinical trials each year, one of which may be appropriate for a pet with cancer.
Surgery is the most commonly used technique to treat cancer in companion animals. The best chance to achieve complete surgical removal of a tumor is during the first surgical procedure and is often best performed by a surgeon with surgical oncology experience.
Chemotherapy is frequently used to treat cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, cancer that cannot be treated with surgery or radiation therapy alone, or when it may enhance the effectiveness of these treatments. Chemotherapy is drug therapy designed to kill or slow the growth of cancers.
Radiation therapy uses ionizing radiation to damage the DNA in tumor cells, resulting in tumor cell death. One of the reasons it is effective against cancer cells is that cancer cells are routinely dividing. Our Varian Trilogy linear accelerator offers Stereotactic Radiation Therapy and Intensity-modulated radiation therapy capabilities.
Clinical trials are research studies that are used in all specialties of medicine to evaluate new types of treatment. Clinical trials may be designed to determine the anti-cancer effects and side effects of new drugs, new surgical procedures, new radiation therapy protocols, or novel approaches to treatment (such as gene therapy or immunotherapy). The Flint Animal Cancer Center conducts approximately 30 clinical trials each year.
At the Flint Animal Cancer Center, each treatment plan is customized, and we work with patient families to determine the right care plan for their pet. Learn more about our comprehensive oncology service.