Pet Owners

We understand the strength of the human-animal bond.

Pets can be a true family member, helping us through troublesome times and giving us unconditional love.  Having experienced cancer in our own family pets, we understand how upsetting this diagnosis is and have gone through the difficult decision making processes.

Cancer is a common and sometimes serious disease.  Often people have had or will have personal experience with cancer.  This may involve cancer in themselves, a family member or a close friend.  Bearing this in mind, cancer in pets should be approached in an educated, positive, and compassionate manner.  The word “cancer” is emotive and often has a negative connotation.

However, not all cancers are fatal and more owners are becoming more proactive in seeking cancer care for their pets.  With increased media attention, we acknowledge that pet owners are becoming more knowledgeable regarding cancer and when they hear about advances in human medicine, they expect the same treatment options for their pets.  As oncology is an ever changing field, it is important to maintain an ongoing relationship with your veterinary oncologist to ensure you are receiving accurate information.

What can VACC offer for the pet owner?

VACC will endeavour to help you through this process, ensuring you receive all necessary information to make the most appropriate decision for the management and/or treatment of your pet’s cancer.

We will offer up to date, honest and compassionate care.

Common pet cancers:photo
  • Lymphoma
  • Mast cell tumour
  • Mammary tumour
  • Bone cancer (osteosarcoma)
  • Skin cancer (melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma)
  • Oral tumour (mouth)
  • Haemangiosarcoma (commonly within the spleen)
Top  10 signs of cancer in pets:
  1. Abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow.
  2. Sores that do not heal.
  3. Weight loss.
  4. Loss of appetite.
  5. Bleeding or discharge from any body opening.
  6. Offensive odour.
  7. Difficulty eating or swallowing.
  8. Hesitation to exercise or loss of stamina.
  9. Persistent lameness or stiffness.
  10. Difficulty breathing, urinating, or defaecating.

Taken from the American Veterinary Medical Association

Your pet should be seen by a veterinarian if they have any of these signs.  This can indicate several illnesses, including cancer. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the better the options may be for treatment.  Just like humans, pets should get regular “wellness” examinations to monitor their health. However, if you notice any of these warning signs between check ups – schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

A few cancer facts:tilly & LB
  • Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells on or within the body. Not all cancers are the same. Depending on the location and biologic behaviour there may be several treatment options available.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death in pet cats and dogs.  Cancer accounts for 50% of pet deaths each year.
  • Cancer is often a treatable or even curable disease with specialised cancer care.
  • Many of the same treatments that are available for humans are now available for pets.  These treatments may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.
  • Different cancers may require different forms of treatment. Some patients will only need tumour removal where as others may need a combination of treatments.
Coping with sick pets or pet loss

If you are experiencing grief or difficulty coping with your pet’s illness, Dori and the team at Nexus Psychology ( can help.  Contact them on (03) 9500 0751 or