Cancer treatment will largely depend on how advanced the disease is, the type of cancer, and the pet's age and overall
health. Options usually include
surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, photodynamic therapy, cryosurgery,
hyperthermia and targeted therapy. In some cases, treatments are combined (e.g., surgery or radiation combined with
chemotherapy or immunotherapy). To learn about each of these options, please click on the above links. To learn about
specific treatment options for a specific tumor type, please visit the
Cancer Types section.

Even if your pet is diagnosed with cancer for which there is no effective treatment or your pet did not respond to a
traditional treatment, enrollment in a veterinary clinical trial may provide options to try new investigational therapies. The
clinical trial treatment is often available at decreased or no cost to you, and even if your pet did not respond to the therapy,
its participation would help scientists develop better and more successful cancer treatments in the future. To learn more
about these trials (which are partially or fully funded by the institutions), please visit the
Dog Clinical Trials or Cat Clinical
Trials sections. To learn more about veterinary clinical trials in general, please visit the Pet Clinical Trials section.

Prior to initiating any type of cancer treatment for your pet, including alternative therapies such as holistic medicine or
acupuncture, you should consult with a qualified veterinary oncologist. To locate a veterinary oncologist worldwide, please
visit the
Locate a Veterinary Oncologist section.

Factors to consider prior to initiating any type of cancer treatment

  • Confirmation of diagnosis - make sure that your pet's diagnosis has been confirmed by tissue biopsy whenever
    possible prior to initiating any type of cancer treatment.
  • Consultation with a specialist - your regular veterinarian is not trained in cancer diagnosis/treatment and you
    should not initiate any type of cancer treatment without consulting a board certified veterinary oncologist either in
    person or at least by phone. To locate a veterinary oncologist worldwide, click here.
  • Second opinions of diagnoses and treatments - beware that there are some doctors who may recommend
    treatment based mostly on their financial gain rather than medical necessity, and it would be wise for you and your
    pet to have a second opinion to confirm the diagnosis and discuss appropriate treatment options.
  • Define the goal of the treatment - is the treatment goal to cure the pet of cancer or to only relieve some of the
    symptoms associated with cancer?
  • Prognosis with and without treatment - does the treatment offer a good chance of improving your pet's condition
    and quality of life compared to no treatment at all?
  • Quality of life after treatment - does the treatment have the potential to substantially impact the quality of life of
    your pet, both positively and negatively?
  • Complications of coexisting diseases - does your pet have any other medical condition that might cause
    complications during the treatment of its cancer?
  • Pet's age and overall condition - is your pet strong  enough to undergo any type of cancer treatment?
  • Ability to complete treatment - can you and/or your family members drive your pet to the hospital on regular basis
    to complete the treatment and take care of your pet at home during the treatment as required?
  • Post-treatment care - can you and/or your family members take care of your pet after the treatment to ensure its
    comfort and good quality of life?
  • Treatment cost - can you and/or your family members arrange for covering the treatment associated costs?
Treatment options for cats and dogs with cancer
© 2007 Pet Cancer Center. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Last updated 2/19/2017
Comprehensive guide to cancer diagnosis and treatment in cats and dogs