ADVERTORIAL:Cancer treatment misconceptions - 3

THE treatment of a pet with cancer is based on the premise that we are not treating a human who can rationalise suffering and has a sense of the past and the future.
Animals live in the present and so my objective, as a specialist veterinary oncologist, is to maintain or improve their day-to-day experience. We can achieve this with much less intensive treatment than a human oncologist will use, albeit with a lower success rate (and at much lower cost).

Generally speaking, the success rate of oncotherapy across the board is about 75% in my hands.
This ranges from cancers with a dismal 2% success rate (pancreatic cancer) to those with a 90%+ cure rate (mast cell tumours). Given a serious complication rate of under 1% (serious meaning treatment causing 1+ days hospitalisation during treatment) those are pretty good odds. Treatment need not be expensive, depending on the treatment, disease and what the owner wants to achieve, but given that cancer is the #1 cause of death in dogs >7 and #2 in elderly cats, and that new treatments are available every year, you would be foolish to not have your pet on medical aid.
Treatment ranges from R1,500 – R150 000 (I spent that amount on 2 of my own dogs’ cancers).


- by Dr Zambelli

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