TOP DOG n Charge
PET CANCERS ARE OFTEN TREATABLE CREATING QUALITY OF LIFE
Mom is pretty great in other ways, though. She always plays with me and helps me get out of trees when I chase squirrels there. Mom also makes sure I get a Bark Box every month. I get so excited when they show up — nothing is better than new toys. And sometimes something even more exciting happens too, when she throws me a birthday party with all my friends and a cake!
During the winter, Mom makes sure I have warm sweaters to wear. They’re comfy, and I look pretty good in them if I do say so myself. But I don’t like it when Mom dresses me in front of other people. How embarrassing! Can’t I have a little privacy, Mom?
“Cancer” is one of the most dreaded words in the English language, one we never want to apply to ourselves or our loved ones. But most of us will face the subject someday, personally or through a friend, family member, or pet. November is Pet Cancer Awareness Month, a condition we frequently treat at the Animal Clinic of Kalispell. As Dr. Clark puts it, “Cancer is pretty darn common. We see lots of different kinds of cancers.” A new diagnosis is sad but not unusual. Some cancers result from environmental carcinogens, just like they do for humans. Occasionally they develop from sexually transmitted infections. But for the most part, veterinarians don’t know what causes many cancers besides old age, genetics, and time. An animal that lives a long life is more likely to develop the disease, and we don’t currently have many preventive options. What we do have, however, are treatments. Dr. Clark notes, “When the general public thinks of cancer, they often assume the worst. We have stories of young people who die from cancer, and we can’t quite wrap our heads around that.” Those cases exist, and he points to a recent patient, a dog that died from a brain tumor at age 4. “My staff will remember that forever,” he says. But it sticks out precisely because it is unusual. “Just like in human cases, most cancers we see, we manage as either chronic diseases or strive for a cure,” Dr. Clark says. “When we give a cancer diagnosis, more often than not, I approach it from a perspective of chronic disease and ask how we can keep this pet around for a long time with a [good] quality of life.”
My mom works at the veterinary clinic, so I spend a lot of time in the kennel
during the day playing with the other dogs. I also love hanging out with cats, kids, and rats — anybody who will cuddle with me. But being with Mom is my favorite thing. I like lying across her shoulders while she drives, and I make a bed in her clothes whenever she leaves. We’ve been inseparable since she first found me,
and I like to keep it that way.
1. Cook potatoes before peeling and then slicing them. Place them in a baking dish and set aside. 2. Combine the following in a pan: sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, nectar, and 1/3 cup of pineapple juice. Bring this mixture to a boil, constantly stirring until it is thick. 3. Remove from heat, mix in the butter, and let this cool slightly. 4. Stir the crushed pineapple and pecans together before pouring them over the potatoes. 5. Bake at 375 F for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
• 3 lbs sweet
potatoes or yams ¾ cup light brown sugar
1 ½ tbsp cornstarch ¼ tsp salt
Numerous options are available, including maintenance, palliative, and even hospice care. “Even if we can’t give curative results, we can probably give good quality of life results,” Dr. Clark says. “I want our clients to remember that a cancer diagnosis is not necessarily the end of the line.” “Our goal is to keep the pets and our clients comfortable,” he adds. “I hope that someday, we’ll get to a point where we say, ‘This is cancer, but it’s okay. There’s a 75% chance we can cure this.” In the meantime, we’ll do our best to help your beloved pet live the longest fulfilling life possible.
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1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 cup apricot nectar
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained, reserving 1/3 cup
2 tbsp butter ¼ cup chopped pecans
– Dr. Jevon Clark
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