Pets Living with Cancer

book by Dr Robin Downing , DVM

reviewed by Pam Green, © 2001

Brief book review of a wonderful book educating pet guardians about cancer and cancer treatment. Valuable knowledge which dispels the myths, despair, and dread.

Pets Living with Cancer

Pets Living with Cancer , by Dr Robin Downing DVM is the book I would have wanted to write. It has same message but more details. Basically this is a wonderful layperson's education about cancer treatment with emphasis on the current options. It lets people know that some cancers can be totally cured, that for other (non-curable but treatable) cancers pets with cancer can live for quite a while with very good quality of life, that the treatments are not horrible for the pets , and so on. In short this book explains why treatment of cancer is almost always worthwhile in terms of the benefits to the beloved pet's comfort and survival. I may write about this book in more detail later. All I'll say now is it should be ready by everyone who is facing cancer in a loved pet. (And if you haven't yet faced it, sooner or later you will because it is a leading cause of death of geriatric pets as it is of geriatric humans.)

The book includes Dr Downing's personal story of the successful cancer treatment of her beloved Great Dane "Murphy" for bone cancer (osteosarcoma). Thanks to recent advances in treatment developed at Colorado State University, Murphy survived for two disease free years, about twice the usual survival for older treatment modes. (At the time of the book's publication he was still alive and well; he has since passed away; I don't know from what cause.)

I probably should add that all that is missing  would be (1) more info on the newer treatment modalities that are currently under development in research stages or in clinical trial (probably a conscious decision by the author, as current research and clinical trial results are moving so rapidly that the cutting edge changes from day to day) and (2) some discussion of the value of necropsy as a contribution to the profession's knowledge of treatment effectiveness and as a solace to the grieving guardian by providing proof that the right time for the sacrament of euthanasia had truly arrived.

The next ten years are certain to see a revolution in cancer treatments as we begin to reap the harvest of the past half century of basic research into molecular biology and cellular biology. But this book gives an excellent overview and snapshot of where mainstream veterinary cancer treatment is today. I heartily recommend this book to everyone. Read it now, before you need the knowledge on a "crisis basis".


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site author Pam Green copyright 2003
created 1/8/03 revised 4/12/03
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