The time allotted for your initial consultation is between 60-90 minutes. At this time, the oncologist or surgeon will examine your pet, review your pet’s history, radiographs, laboratory test results and any other pertinent information. She will then discuss treatment options, costs and procedures. It is therefore critical that all relevant medical records be made available to the doctor at the time of the initial appointment. Your family veterinarian will provide you with a copy of your pet's medical records and x-rays to bring with you to the initial appointment.
Dealing with the fact your pet may have cancer can be very difficult. Cancer is the number one natural cause of death in geriatric cats and dogs, and it accounts for nearly 50% of pet deaths each year. Although cancer is the leading cause of death in geriatric patients, it can also be a very treatable disease.
The compassionate team here at the Animal Cancer and Imaging Center is dedicated to caring for your pet. As the pet's primary care giver you are in the best position to know and meet your pet's needs. This can be accomplished by learning as much as possible about your pet's condition and treatment as possible. Ask questions and obtain resources to educate yourself about cancer and cancer therapeutics.
Tackling tough questions about cancer and cancer therapies can enhance your ability to think clearly and make decisions. Write down questions you may have before each visit. Ask for printed materials or information, obtain resources to help you better understand your pet's disease and treatment options. Understand that there are no incorrect decisions. Do not worry about what other people will think about your decisions. You know your pet better than anyone else in the world. Once you have gathered the information you need, listen to your heart and you will make the decisions that are best for your individual situation.
Some questions to ask about your pet’s cancer and treatment:
What is the name of my pet's tumor?
Is the tumor benign or malignant?
How often does this type of tumor metastasize (spread to other parts of the body)?
If left untreated, what will the cancer likely do to my pet?
What diagnostic tests do we need to perform to determine the location and extent of the cancer?
What are the treatment options and what are the costs, side effects, time involved, and effectiveness of each treatment?
About your pet’s pain management:
Is my pet in any discomfort?
How do you treat cancer pain?
Is pain management important here?
What happens if the pain is not relieved with the usual treatment?
Is severe pain considered an emergency here?
Who do I call after hours?
About your pet’s nutrition:
Is there anything special my pet should eat?
How much should my pet eat?
What if my pet refuses to eat?
When should appetite stimulants be used?
What is assisted tube feeding?
Is it true that we do not want my pet to lose weight?
Can we prevent loss of appetite by preventing dehydration, nausea and discomfort?
A diagnosis of cancer can bring with it some overwhelming emotions, including a sense of loss of control, and a sense of hopelessness. When facing the diagnosis of cancer in a beloved pet, you may feel the responsibility of making important life-changing decisions for someone who relies totally on your judgment. Your pet not only shares your home, your life and experiences, but also your heart. The doctors and staff at ACIC are here to help you through the diagnosis, staging, treatment and decision making process.