Few things are more frightening than learning that your beloved pet has been diagnosed with cancer. It is such a devastating disease that for many years, it carried with it an almost certain death sentence. Today, however, your pet’s chances of surviving this disease have improved greatly as many advancements have been made in the care and treatment of cancer.
To bring attention to these new treatments and to also inform pet owners about preventative care and the symptoms of cancer, November has been declared National Pet Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Animal Cancer Foundation, approximately 6 million cats and 6 million dogs will be diagnosed with new cases of cancer each year.
If your dog or cat is one of these pets that have been recently diagnosed with cancer, the following are some of the steps that you can take to help it and your family members deal with this terrible disease.
You may be an emotional wreck upon hearing that your beloved pet has cancer, but it's very important that you stay positive around your dog or cat. Animals are very sensitive and can pick up on your moods. So, while it may be very difficult, work hard to be upbeat and to reduce the amount of stress radiating from your body to your pet.
Seek Online Support
Feeling stressed out, sad, or confused after learning that your pet has cancer? Do you have questions that you'd like to ask somebody whose pet may be dealing with a similar type of cancer? Thankfully, Facebook has made it easier for you to connect with other owners whose pets have cancer. Members of these groups are often able to offer you support, advice, and even make suggestions on new treatments or healthy lifestyle changes that could help your pet survive its disease and/or to ease any pain or discomfort it may be experiencing. To find one of these groups, simply search Facebook for support groups that deal with cats, dogs, or pets with cancer.
Make Life Easier for Your Pet
Depending on a number of factors -- for example, the type of cancer your pet has or the type of treatment it is receiving -- it may begin to experience physical issues that could require special accommodations. For instance, if your dog or cat typically sleeps on your bed, it may now be too weak to jump up onto your mattress. If so, you may want to consider buying it steps, so that it can still climb up on to your bed.
Keep a Journal
Whether you decide to use an online app or a paper journal, it's important to keep a record of your pet's treatments and medications. It's also imperative that you note any new problems your pet may be exhibiting, such as a lack of appetite, difficulties urinating, or eliminating its bowels. Then keep your veterinarian aware of these changes, as they may want to make changes in your pet's medications or treatment.
Consult with the Experts
Once your regular veterinarian has diagnosed your dog or cat with cancer, your next step should be to consult with an oncologist. A specialist will have the training and expertise to help you choose the right medical path for your pet. Of course, the idea of taking your pet to an oncologist can lead to a new fear -- the high cost of treatment and its possible effects on your family's budget.
Unfortunately, this fear is not unfounded. According to Healthy Paws Insurance, the typical cost of cancer treatment for a pet can range between $5,000 to up to $30,000 or more. This is a major blow to most people's wallets. And if they can't find any vet bill help, some pet owners may be forced to make the gut-wrenching and heartbreaking decision to put their pet to sleep.
In these types of "preventable pet euthanasia" situations, your veterinarian may be able to help you find financial support by placing your pet on Waggle. This site is dedicated to crowd-funding for pets with serious health issues. And because funds raised on Waggle are paid directly to the veterinarian, more people are willing to give generously to a campaign with the knowledge that their donation will be legitimately used for the pet in need.
Love your pet and be there for it throughout its ordeal. Remember, in its eyes, you are its whole world.