When Haley was diagnosed, I went on a mad information-gathering binge. Websites. Books. Magazines. Medical journals. Friends. Vets.
You name it, I explored it.
“When Your Dog Has Cancer: Making the Right Decisions for You and Your Dog” by Lola Ball would have made much of that unnecessary. This practical guide book would have steered me gently through every step — from diagnosis and treatment options to cancer research and end of life care.
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Based on experiences with her dogs, Porter and Jasper, the book is uniquely accessible, written from a pet parent’s point of view: clear, easy to understand and straightforward it strikes the right note without inundating or overburdening the reader with too much information. The book includes a robust list of resources for further study. The Real-life Canine Cancer Experiences (which, for me, was a bit lengthy) pays homage to dogs and their families by telling their stories, which may be comforting.
As “light” and easy to get through as a book on dog cancer can be, this one is.
The book includes:
- Types of testing and common cancers dogs face
- Lists of questions to ask when creating a treatment plan
- Comparison of treatment options and how to make a decision. Includes a great list of options, including antiangiogenic therapy (think Palladia), hyperthermia (using heat to kill tumors) and photodynamic therapy (using drugs to target cells).
- Tips for healing hospice care. What not to do for pain, alternative therapies (ever hear of a castor oil wrap?), how to make a hospice toolkit and build a care team, foods to feed (and avoid) with recipes and ideas for finicky Fido (see my related post on what worked for Haley).
- Massage and bodywork techniques with sample plan and how-to photos
- Prioritizing quality of life and keeping a positive outlook
- All about the transition process with stages and descriptions, including a sample end plan. I wish I had much of the information the author addresses when Haley transitioned. It was information about which I was too afraid to ask Haley’s doctors.
- Herbs and supplements to support the cancer patient
- Glossary of terms you might hear
But perhaps the most important advice the author gives is this:
Remember that dogs live in the present and do not think about what is to come in the future. Enjoy your time with him and love him with all of your heart. That is exactly what he is doing, too.