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10 Steps to Take When Your Pet Has Cancer

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    About 6 million pets are diagnosed with cancer each year. Do you know someone whose pet is undergoing cancer treatment? Or, you might have a pet who is suffering from cancer.  

    It can be highly upsetting to hear the news, but you should understand that it does not always mean that your pet is going to die. People may advise you to put down a dog with torn ACL, but you know how hard it really is.

    In the past few decades, veterinary cancer research has achieved significant advances. Pet cancer sufferers are enjoying longer, more fulfilled lives because of the new medication choices. You can follow a few tips to ensure your pet’s ease and recovery, and that is what we shall talk about here.

    Here are the ten steps that you must consider when your pet has cancer:

    1. Take Time to Process the Diagnosis

    When a healthy pet is diagnosed with cancer, owners are baffled. As the news sinks in, your first question to yourself is often:

     “How did I miss this?” and “They didn’t appear sick.” 

    If you discover yourself in your veterinarian’s office with such distressing news, do not be hesitant to request some time to process the news. 

    2. Make a Treatment Strategy

    After dealing with the news, you should start thinking about a strategy. Start by conducting some research on the type of cancer that your pet has. 

    You should also get familiar with all the treatment possibilities for your pet. This is a crucial choice for you and your pet. You should understand your pet’s condition before making a treatment strategy.

    3. Understand the Costs Involved

    The cancer diagnosis will come with high costs. The initial diagnosis will likely involve a biopsy or X-rays, which can cost between $500 and $1,500. Then there are the costs of treatment, which can range from $4,000 to $8,000 for chemotherapy to as much as $15,000 for radiation therapy.

    If your pet needs surgery, that will add even more to the bill. All of this can be very overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are many organizations and resources available to help you through this difficult time. Ask your vet for references. 

    4. Seek A Second Opinion from A Cancer Specialist

    If your pet has been diagnosed with cancer, you should take a second opinion. Get independent advice from a veterinary oncologist to be certain about the diagnosis. 

    This may confirm a before-decided course of therapy or bring up new possibilities for your pet.

    The Veterinarian Cancer Society features an informative website with tools and information for pet owners. It will also help you locate an oncology specialist in your area.”

    5. Ask Questions & Research Your Options

    To determine which solutions are best for treating your pet’s cancer; you should answer the following questions:

    • What form of cancer is my pet suffering from?
    • What is its severity?
    • What health variables in my pet may affect the expected result or the medications?

    The medical team may advise you to take some added tests and treatments. Do not forget to ask about the expenses along with the benefits and disadvantages of each treatment options to make an informed decision. 

    6. Understand How Cancer Is Tested By Veterinarians

    The veterinarian may prescribe many tests to collect information to test the degree of cancer. It may include blood test results (e.g., blood count, chemical profile), urinary, radiography, tissues aspirate, biopsy, and more.

    Due to the evolution of your pet’s disease, tests performed by the local veterinarian may need to be redone at a cancer specialty clinic.

    Ultrasound, specialized radiologic studies, endoscopy (direct evaluation of the abdomen, colon, and immune-mediated studies are some assessments that may be used. You should be mentally prepared for all these tests and assessments when your pet has cancer. 

    7. Become Familiar with the Terms

    The veterinary oncologist will explain what is happening to your pet’s body. Learning the terminology will help you understand your pet’s condition in a better way.

    Prior to your appointment, do some reading to know the medical terms. Bring a notepad to your appointment and make a list of treatment choices and future actions. Do not be scared to inquire the vet if you need to.

    8. Stay Both Optimistic And Practical

    It’s important to remain optimistic and practical when your pet has cancer. There are many success stories of pets beating cancer, so never give up hope. 

    At the same time, be realistic about your pet’s prognosis and treatment options. Discuss all of your options with your veterinarian and make sure you understand the risks and benefits of each one.

    In some cases, a prognosis can be overturned when a better treatment option becomes available. Therefore, keep hope alive, and even if you have been suggested to put down dogs with a torn ACL, or cancer,’ it does not mean that your pet’s life is gone. Your attention to your pet and the doctor’s devotion can work together to make your pet healthy. 

    However, learn when to stop. If there are no more options available, you should have the strength to stop treatment and take the hard decision.

    9. Maintain a Positive Mindset

    Cancer treatment may be traumatic for your pet. You should try to make the time as enjoyable as possible. When your pet is getting quite well, try to engage him in things he likes. 

    Ask the veterinarian about things that are proper for your pet’s present health. Get time to arrange special trips or tasty rewards for your pet. If you sit and cry in front of your pet, he will pick up on it and become even more depressed. So maintaining a positive mindset is essential for you and your pet.

    10. Find a Support Group

    You may face many problems after receiving the news about your pet’s cancer. It can be quite daunting; therefore, you should try to find a support group to help you in such a difficult situation.

    Websites like Pet Cancer Support Group can provide you with the information and support that you need. 

    In Conclusion

    Hearing the news about your pet’s diagnosis of cancer is hard. However, dealing with the situation can be harder if you do not have a strategy. Finding a good oncology specialist and conducting thorough research will help you more than you can imagine.

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    Hip Reduction Surgery in Dogs

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      What is Hip Reduction Surgery in Dogs?

      Hip Reduction is commonly used to treat hip dislocation in dogs. There are two types of reductions: closed and open. A closed hip reduction is the most common type and a more conservative treatment to physically manipulate the dislocated hip back into place. On the other hand, an open hip reduction is a surgical procedure that involves placing the joint of the hip back into its natural position. 

      What Does Hip Reduction Treat in Dogs?

      Photo Credit: Upstate Vet

      A Hip Reduction is typically used to treat hip dislocation in dogs, which is clinically referred to as coxofemoral luxation. Hip dislocation may be caused by a number of issues including hip dysplasia, osteoarthritis, trauma, or even cancer. Hip dysplasia, in its genetic form or otherwise, is the most commonly observed reason behind hip dislocation and the need for a hip reduction in dogs.                                                                    

      What Happens During a Hip Reduction Surgery?

      Photo Credit: Clinician’s Brief

      The procedure for a hip reduction is dependent upon which type of approach is taken – closed or open. 

      Closed Hip Reduction

      In preparation for a closed hip reduction, the veterinarian will administer a short-acting anesthesia before physically manipulating the coxofemoral joint back into its proper place. The coxofemoral joint is defined as the “ball-and-socket” joint in which the “ball” is the head of the femur and the “socket” is the acetabulum of the pelvis. Following the manipulation, a sling, bandage, or wrap will be placed on your dog for at least two weeks. 

      Open Hip Reduction

      An open hip reduction surgery can be performed based on the preferences of the surgeon. For example, different approaches used for the procedure may include toggle rods, surgical anchors, and prosthetic joint capsules. The toggle rod approach is the most commonly performed. When this approach is used, the following steps are taken: 

      The veterinarian will begin by administering general anesthesia before cleaning and shaving the region to be operated on. Following this, an incision will be made near the hip muscles along the natural seams. The joint capsule will be opened, using a special drill a hole will be made in the acetabular wall, which is the back wall of the hip bone. Additionally, a “bone tunnel” will be drilled through a region of the femur referred to as the femoral neck. Utilizing heavy suture material, a toggle pin will be threaded through the hole and bone tunnel. The placement of the hip will be adjusted until it’s in the correct position. The heavy suture material will be tightened and attached to another toggle pin to secure on the other side of the joint. This allows for the joint to be securely held in place. Following this, the joint capsule and initial surgery site would be sutured and closed. Just like a closed hip reduction, a sling, wrap, or bandage is secured and your dog will wear it for up to fourteen days. 

      How Much Does a Hip Reduction Cost?

      The cost of a hip reduction in dogs varies based on many factors including whether a closed or open approach is taken, health factors of the dog, and the location of the clinic. The cost may range from $1,500 to $15,000, however, the average cost of the procedure is $2,500. 

      How Can Hip Reduction Surgery Be Prevented?

      Unfortunately, many conditions that lead to the need for a hip reduction cannot be prevented such as genetic hip dysplasia and cancer. However, automobile accidents are a common cause of hip dislocation as well so be sure to keep a close eye on your dog when outdoors. Avoid overfeeding and maintain a healthy weight in your dog to avoid hip dysplasia in large breed dogs. 

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      Brain Tumors in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnoses and Treatment

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        What Are Brain Tumors?

        A brain tumor in dogs is simply a mass on the brain. The two types of brain tumors are primary and secondary:

        Primary Brain Tumors

        Primary brain tumors are tumors that arise from the brain’s tissues or the membranes that surround it (meninges). 

        Secondary Brain Tumors

        Secondary brain tumors, often known as “metastases,” are tumors that have migrated from another section of the body to the brain (i.e., metastasized). Secondary brain cancers can also develop from surrounding tissues, such as the cranial nerves.

        What Causes Brain Tumors in Dogs?

        It’s not really fully known or understood exactly what causes brain tumors but there are some environmental and genetic factors that may play a part.

        Environmental Factors

        Examples include:

        • Viral
        • Dietary
        • Chemical
        • Immune system
        • Traumatic

        Genetic Factors

        Certain breeds are more likely to develop cancer including:

        • French Bulldogs
        • Boxers
        • Doberman Pinschers
        • English Bulldogs
        • Boston Terriers

        What are the Risk Factors for Brain Tumors?

        The breed of a dog can play a role in the possibility of being predisposed to brain tumors. Breeds including the Boxer, Golden Retriever, Doberman Pinscher, Scottish Terrier, and Old English Sheepdog tend to be more prone to brain tumors than others.


        Breeds of dogs with long, narrow heads such as border collies are more likely to develop meningioma tumors. Meningiomas are cancerous tumors that arise from the membranes that surround the brain. Pituitary gland cancers and glial cell tumors, which arise from the structural cells of the neurological system, are more common in pugs and other short-nosed breeds. While brain tumors can affect dogs of any age, the majority of dogs that get them are over the age of five.

        What are Symptoms of Brain Tumors in Dogs?

        Brain tumors in dogs and cats can manifest themselves in a number of ways, depending on which area of the brain is afflicted, and these locations can determine the symptoms. Common symptoms of brain tumors include:

        • Seizures
        • Unusual behavior
        • Loss of vision
        • Increased or decreased water and food intake
        • Head and neck pain
        • Nausea 
        • Unsteady 
        • Weight loss/gain
        • Persistent cough

        How are Brain Tumors Diagnosed?

        x ray of a dog's brain tumor
        Photo Credit: Fitzpatrick Referrals

        The only way to definitively diagnose brain tumors in dogs is to take a tissue sample. Radiographs (x-rays) or ultrasonography of other anatomical locations can be utilized to find or rule out initial cancers that have progressed to the brain. The suggested diagnostics for verifying the diagnosis of primary or secondary brain cancers are magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) of the brain. Blood, urine or spinal fluid samples may also be taken to assess organ function as well as to possibly determine the cause of the seizures.

        What is the Treatment for Brain Tumors?

        Treatment for brain tumors in dogs is very similar to that of treatment in humans. Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are the three main treatment choices for dogs who have been diagnosed with brain tumors. The main goals of these treatments are to eliminate or shrink the tumor, as well as to minimize side effects such as fluid build-up in the brain These treatments can be performed alone or in combination with each other.


        Surgery is used to try and completely remove the tumor and is the ideal treatment if the tumor CAN be fully removed. Surgery also allows the veterinarian to take a sample of the mass and determine its type, making it possible to provide a more precise forecast of the patient’s prognosis. Not all brain tumors in dogs and cats can be surgically removed; the feasibility relies on their location in the brain. Tumors on the surface of the brain are more likely to respond to surgery. The surgeon would have to cut through a big section of healthy brain tissue to reach a tumor deep within the brain, which might have disastrous consequences for the patient’s recovery.

        Photo Credit: PennVet

        Radiation Therapy

        Photo Credit: Colorado State University

        Radiation treatment can alleviate symptoms dramatically and quickly. In most cases, the advantages of this medication greatly exceed the hazards. Although adverse effects from radiation therapy are uncommon in animals, they can include nausea, mouth ulcers, ear infections, and, in rare cases, blindness. Unfortunately, radiation seldom entirely eliminates the tumor, and the typical duration between remission and recurrence is 8 to 14 months.


        Chemotherapy medication is a common treatment for cancer but because the brain is a relatively protected place and most medications cannot reach it, there are limited chemotherapeutic alternatives for brain tumors in dogs. This treatment, on the other hand, could be able to assist a patient with a brain tumor minimize some of the symptoms they’re experiencing.

        Photo Credit: CAVE Veterinary Specialists

        What is the Prognosis for Brain Tumors?

        The prognosis of brain tumors in dogs can be dependent on the treatment route or if the dog owner decides not to treat. Unfortunately, due to the outlandish cost, it’s not always possible to treat dogs for cancer and it’s the most common route. Some dogs are treated without the tumor type being determined. But as CT-guided biopsies become more common, there is more research being done on the prognosis and life expectancy of dogs with cancer including with different treatments and if they are not treated at all.

        Brain tumors are uniquely difficult due to their location and the brain tissue that they affect. They first emerge in the brain cavity’s limited space. The cranial cavity, which encloses and protects the brain, is formed by the bones of the skull. While it is vital to conserve a delicate structure like the brain in this way, it also means that there is no room for anything else within the cavity, and when a tumor grows, it compresses the brain around it. Second, because brain tissue can not regenerate, removing normal brain tissue around a tumor may have adverse outcomes.

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        Chemotherapy Treatment for Dogs

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          Cancer affects 25% of all dogs and 30% of those over the age of 7 years, according to the AKC Canine Health Foundation (CHF). Unfortunately, many pets can die as a result of this illness. Cancer is the leading cause of death in older pets, accounting for up to half of all deaths.

          The shock of learning that your pet has cancer may leave you with a lot of unanswered questions. Chemotherapy for your dog might be stressful or even frightening. The good news is that pets usually fare far better than humans when it comes to chemotherapy. Understanding how chemotherapy medications operate and what to expect from treatments will help you determine if this treatment is good for your pet.

          What is Chemotherapy and How Does It Work?

          Photo Credit: Ethos Veterinary Health

          Chemotherapy for dogs is a type of pharmacological treatment that is used to destroy or halt the development of cancer cells. Many of the medications used to treat cancer are obtained from natural sources such as plants, trees, and even microorganisms, and are often the same compounds that are used in humans. Some medications have a wide range of effects, while others are more focused. The type of cancer your dog has, as well as his overall condition, will determine which treatment or combination is best for him. Your veterinarian will closely monitor the chemotherapy treatment to ensure that it is effective and has few negative effects. If not, he or she may try a different medicine or make a lifestyle modification.

          What Does Chemotherapy Treat in Dogs?

          Chemotherapy can be used either alone or in combination with other cancer treatments such as surgery and radiation therapy to treat a variety of cancers. Chemotherapy can be used to shrink large tumors before surgery or to aid in the destruction of small cancer cells that cannot or have not been completely removed surgically in some cases. 


          Chemotherapy can be also used after surgery to help delay or prevent cancer from spreading to other parts of the body in malignancies with a high risk of spreading.

          Is Chemotherapy Safe for Dogs?

          We know all too well some of the most prevalent chemo side effects in humans, such as nausea, vomiting, and decreased energy levels. Because dogs often receive lesser dosages of treatment and have fewer extra medications delivered to them, they may have milder responses to chemotherapy, such as not losing their hair.


          Dogs may develop mild, moderate, or severe appetite loss, vomiting, or diarrhea as a result of this. A higher risk of infection may be associated with lower white and red blood cell counts. Finally, some dogs may get drowsy as a result of the treatments. Any clinical indications that appear to be out of the norm in your dog should be discussed with your veterinarian.

          Is Chemotherapy Effective?

          If your pet is diagnosed with cancer when it is still in its early stages, it has the best chance of survival. Early discovery can aid with treatment, recuperation, and extending the life of your dog.


          Unfortunately, cancer is typically incurable in dogs. Chemotherapy may still be advised in some circumstances to assist alleviate your pet’s disease-related discomfort. The main objective of therapy is to improve and extend the quality of life of each patient for as long as feasible. During the initial visit, a veterinary oncologist will give pet owners thorough information regarding the success of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy alone or in combination with other therapies has varying success rates depending on the kind of cancer.

          What Kinds of Chemotherapy Treatment Are There?

          Chemotherapy is available in a variety of forms. Some medications must be administered intravenously (IV), whereas others can be administered subcutaneously or intramuscularly. The medicine may be administered directly into the tumor in rare circumstances. Some chemotherapy drugs can be taken orally as pills that are given at home.

          What Happens During Chemotherapy Treatment?

          Photo Credit: CAVE Veterinary Specialists

          The method of chemotherapy administration is determined by the medicine used. Most treatments are given through injection and last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. She noted that certain intravenous medicine infusions might take all day but are uncommon. Chemotherapy is also administered orally, in the office, or at home.

          A chemotherapy treatment visit usually takes an hour, which includes time for paperwork, bloodwork, a checkup, and follow-up instructions. According to her, these sessions are comparable to a conventional vet visit and are aimed to reduce stress for both the dog and the pet parent.

          How Often Do Dogs Need Chemotherapy and How Long Does it Last?

          Treatment frequency is determined by the kind of cancer, the dog’s overall health, the individual medicine, and the owner’s preferences. Most treatments are administered at intervals ranging from once a week to once every three weeks. This frequency can continue a few months before being repeated every four to six weeks. The length of therapy varies according to the kind of cancer and might range from a few months to many years. Some dogs may even need it for the rest of their lives and if their cancer clears up or goes into remission, others may only receive sporadic therapy or no treatment at all.

          How Much Does Chemotherapy Cost?

          The cost varies due to the fact that each pet’s therapy is different. The average cost of chemo for dogs can range from $150 to $500 per dose. Initial consultation fees with an oncologist can range from $125 to $250, depending on the hospital, clinic, and geographic location. The cost of surgery is determined by the tumor’s size and location. Overall Cancer treatment costs an average of $4,000 for dogs.

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          ELIAS Animal Health Launches Clinical Trial Of Cancer Immunotherapy Treatment For Canine Oral Melanoma

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          OLATHE, Kan., Aug. 31, 2021 — ELIAS Animal Health, a clinical stage development company advancing novel treatments for cancer in companion animals, today announced the initiation of a pilot study of its adoptive T cell therapy combined with surgery and radiotherapy, if indicated, for dogs diagnosed with oral malignant melanoma, a highly metastatic disease and the most common form of oral cancer seen in dogs. Melanoma is widely believed to be chemo-resistant and in this study the adoptive T cell therapy will be administered instead of chemotherapy.

          This clinical trial will enroll dogs that have been newly diagnosed with oral melanoma but have not yet been treated for their cancer. It is a multi-center, single-arm study with no randomization. ELIAS is providing financial assistance that will substantially cover costs of participation and treatment in the trial. A list of participating sites can be found on the website.

          Adoptive T cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy that involves treating the patient with its own cancer-specific “killer” T cells. The objective of this clinical trial is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of this immunotherapy compared to historical control data obtained using surgery alone or surgery plus radiotherapy. In addition, patients will be evaluated for quality of life throughout the study.

          “We are thrilled to announce the launch of the next clinical study which will evaluate the adoptive T cell therapy in a second form of cancer,” said Tammie Wahaus, chief executive officer, ELIAS Animal Health. “Building on the promising results reported last year for our initial osteosarcoma study and completion of enrollment in our pivotal osteosarcoma study, we look forward to expanding our portfolio to treat more dogs affected by cancer.”

          Veterinarians interested in more information on the clinical trial, please visit or contact ELIAS at Interested investors may contact

          About ELIAS Animal Health
          Based in Olathe, Kan., ELIAS Animal Health is a medical biotechnology company advancing its novel targeted T cell-based immunotherapies for the treatment of canine cancers. The ELIAS cancer immunotherapy is being distributed to veterinarians commercially under 9 CFR 103.3 as an experimental autologous prescription product for the treatment of canine osteosarcoma. The company’s novel therapeutic approach offers the promise of improved clinical outcomes and the potential for fundamentally changing the way cancer is treated. For more information, visit

          Media Contact:
          Jessica Wiley

          SOURCE ELIAS Animal Health