“Rehabilitation plays an important supportive role in the treatment of cancer.” – Dr. Veronica Devall
Dr. Veronica Devall heads up our new Animal Rehabilitation program for dogs AND cats. Services offered include water therapy (underwater treadmill), low level therapeutic laser, neuromuscular stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, therapeutic massage, acupuncture, spinal manipulative therapy (animal chiropractic), thermo-and cryo-therapies and therapeutic exercises. For dogs and cats that are receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy, rehabilitation can decrease pain and physiological stress, improve strength and mobility, and support tissue healing. During the recovery phase, rehabilitation builds muscle strength, improves cardiovascular function and endurance, and enhances immune function.
What’s “normal” now?
One of the most important goals of cancer treatment in animals is to maintain as much of the pet’s normal lifestyle as possible. This usually means that once a pet has recovered from cancer surgery, completed their course of radiotherapy, or finished the initial phase of chemotherapy, restrictions on activities are very few. Your veterinarian will want to discuss how to help your pet regain strength and stamina. Cancer patients may be more easily fatigued with strenuous activity, so moderation is best in the beginning. However, daily walks and “playtime” are strongly encouraged, and your pet is likely to become more fit over time. You should work with your family veterinarian and the cancer care team at WVCC to design an activity program that is individually tailored to meet your pet?s needs and your lifestyle.
Although weight loss is a problem in some cases, many pets with cancer will actually gain weight during therapy. Body weight is always carefully monitored throughout the course of cancer treatment and after it is completed, so that any changes are quickly identified. Obesity must be avoided because it increases the pet’s risk of many concurrent diseases, suppresses immune function, and complicates accurate dosing of chemotherapy drugs. A strict weight loss regimen should never be started during intensive cancer treatment, but your family veterinarian and the cancer care team at WVCC can help you design an individualized protocol for gradual, healthy weight loss in your pet once treatment is finished.