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Pet Cancer Treatments Improving

By: CBS
By: CBS

An estimated 1-in-3 dogs and 1-in-4 cats will get cancer at some point in their lives, but new treatments are helping pets live longer and better lives with fewer side effects.

Six months ago, golden retriever Maizey was diagnosed with lymphoma.

"[She] had no appetite; she couldn't keep anything down, and unfortunately it got to the point where she couldn't walk," said owner Joan Brown.

Her owners took her for treatment at the Veterinary Cancer Center in Connecticut.

"She is the love of all of our lives."

Veterinarians treat between 4 and 6 million cases of canine cancer each year using the latest chemotherapy drugs and radiation. Maizey has been getting chemo for several months and is now considered cured.

"Her survival time instead of being two months it's likely going to be between one and three years," said Veterinary Oncologist Dr. Gerald Post.

The warning signs of cancer in pets are similar to people. Watch for a lump that gets bigger or changes shape, unexplained bleeding or chronic weight loss.

"It went from a small spot to this (widens hands) big," said John Klinkowize.

The Klinkowizes brought in 9-year-old Dakota to have a fast-growing lump removed. The vet followed up with a new treatment called IMRT, or Intensity modulated radiation therapy, that he hopes will cure Dakota.

"We can kill cancer cells with those dosage of radiation that spare all the normal tissues around that area," Dr. Post said.

Vets are also prescribing new anti-nausea medications to minimize the side effects.

The treatments can be expensive and insurance doesn't cover them, but for Dakota and Maizey's owners, it's money well spent.

The latest medical advances in canine cancer treatment also include a new chemotherapy drug called Palladia, which targets certain molecules in cancer cells to kill them.


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