Together with your veterinarian you can draft a treatment plan for your dog. In this plan, the best approach for your dog and its practical details are discussed.
A first step for every treatment plan consists of keeping each other informed. On the one hand, your veterinarian can inform you about what cancer practically means: which approach one can follow, how to make a diagnosis, the possible inconveniences associated to it, the costs, how the diagnostic results can influence the further treatment course, what can and cannot be expected from the treatment.
On the other hand, it is important to clarify to your veterinarian
- What are your expectations
- What is important and possible (time, financially, … ) for you
- What you do and do not want to know.
Based on this and the character of your dog (is he capable of receiving care), you can draft a treatment plan together.
Each treatment plan starts with a thorough assessment of the dog and his medical, social and emotional needs. Following matters can be discussed (non-exhaustive list):
- Check if other conditions besides cancer exist in your dog and what their impact is
- Pain (location, cause, severity, ability to keep it under control)
- Will to eat and/or drink and which adaptations can be done, taking into account other conditions (e.g. kidney issues) and offer a complete and balanced diet
- Possible (side)effect of the tumor and/or other issues on respiration, urination, defecation, movement
- Which effects can be expected caused by the tumor type itself
- What the mood of your dog is (relaxed/fearful/cheerful/withdrawn) and how your dog normally behaves
- Need for company (of humans or other animals)
- How the environment can be altered to the specific needs
For this plan, one must take into account
- The time available to you to administer care
- The costs that can be expected/planned
- Your view on the events.
Then your veterinarian can give you targeted advice on the (evaluation of) the quality of life, how you can administer specific care yourself, possible changes you can make to your dog’s environment, which are the clinical signs to recognize and the end of life.
Ideally, this plan is written down and an estimation is made of the time this plan will take, the estimated costs and necessary control visits.