It’s not unusual to see your dog or cat suffer from cancer these days, but it can be just as heartbreaking as it is common. That’s why integrative oncology for pets has become so important in the treatment of pet cancer patients over the last several years. Integrative oncology uses more than traditional Western medicine (chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery) to treat cancer — it also includes complementary modalities that help relieve symptoms, improve patient quality of life, and give you the tools to prevent a recurrence.
What is Integrative Oncology
Integrative oncology for pets refers to a blend of conventional, or allopathic, methods of cancer treatment with complementary, alternative, and integrative therapies. These methods aim to reduce pain, reduce side effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and help restore quality of life in cancer patients by reducing stress. When choosing an integrative oncology specialist, look for someone with a good deal of experience and research backing their expertise. The treatments can be used alone or as part of your pet’s regular care. They include acupuncture, massage therapy, dietary changes, and supplements to improve immune function and provide nutritional support. It’s important that your pet receives both conventional medical care as well as integrative oncology care if they have cancer.
Questions to Ask
At your next vet appointment, ask your vet about integrative oncology. Here are some questions to get you started:
- Do you provide integrative oncology treatments in-house or refer clients to a specialist?
- How can I work with you on an integrative treatment plan for my pet?
- Is integrative oncology right for my pet?
- What side effects should I expect from integrative treatments?
- Does your office offer wellness programs as well as cancer treatments?
How Does it Work for My Pet
Integrative Oncology may work differently depending on how your pet’s cancer presents. The treatment will vary based on where your pet’s cancer originates, if they have additional health problems such as a weakened immune system, or if they’re receiving traditional chemotherapy at another hospital. A pet’s quality of life should be taken into consideration when deciding on an integrative cancer therapy. Treatments that can slow down tumor growth, improve appetite, boost energy levels, strengthen the immune system and decrease pain could help make every day spent with your pet more enjoyable.