Reviewer: Lili Duda, VMD, Dip. ACVR (radiation oncology)
Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: November 18, 2005
Author: Laurie Kaplan
Publisher: JanGen Press, Briarcliff , NY
Information: ISBN 0-9754794-6-6 | Paperback | 109 pages
When author Laurie Kaplan's dog Bullet was diagnosed with cancer, she looked for books to help guide her through the difficult decisions and times ahead. Finding none, she gathered the opinions of veterinary experts, perused the medical literature, and searched the Internet. Using her skills as an animal writer and medical editor, Ms. Kaplan wrote this book to serve as a starting point and resource for other dog owners finding themselves in a similar situation. Bullet's story of receiving chemotherapy for his lymphoma serves as a framework for the entire process, from seeking out the opinions of veterinary specialists and making decisions about treatment options, to the ups and downs of the disease and of the treatment process, as well as how to provide a supportive environment in the home.
The book is divided into 8 chapters.
Chapters 1 and 2 deal with gathering and evaluating information about canine cancer, the initial evaluation process, and factors to consider in choosing a course of treatment.
Chapter 3 provides some background about the incidence of and possible contributory factors in this disease.
Chapters 4 through 6 discuss the common diagnostic tests, treatment options, and side-effects, with a focus on chemotherapy, which was the mainstay of Bullet's treatment for lymphoma.
Chapters 7 through 9 discuss the importance of a well-balanced diet, nutritional supplements, alternative therapies, routine medical care of the cancer patient, quality of life concerns, and maintaining reasonable expectations.
There are also numerous resources listed throughout the book, as well as informative articles by three veterinary oncologists, one holistic veterinarian, and one veterinary immunologist.
The benefit of this book is not so much in the specific medical details, but in the support and guidance it provides in navigating the complicated and stressful world of cancer treatment. Ms. Kaplan continually reinforces the important things owners need to keep in mind throughout the entire process of caring for a pet with cancer.
"There are a thousand ways to care for a dog with cancer, and each caretaker has to choose his or her options….Cancer-dog caretakers are force to make some very difficult decisions about things like surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, palliative care and euthanasia. None of these options are attractive. Each of the various responses is valid, so long as it comes from the heart and includes respect….As your dog's advocate, make the best decision you can and don't look back."
More information can be found at www.HelpYourDogFightCancer.com.
A portion of the proceeds generated from the sale of this book are donated to a charitable organization benefiting dogs with cancer.