We are very busy in modern life. It seems as time goes on, the faster it speeds by.
Dog cancer is connected in many ways to time. There is the question that is most pressing: “How much more time do I have?”.
This is an important piece of information to get, along with the odds of actually gaining this time from a treatment (not all dogs may respond), the odds of side effects, how a treatment will affect your dog’s life quality, cost, how often the treatments are, and so on.
Data collection is the first part in thoroughly evaluating a treatment, whether for dog cancer or otherwise.
But not all strategies in the Full Spectrum Approach used in the Dog Cancer Survival Guide are about attacking cancer cells directly. The result of these strategies is life extension.
We have another area to consider. This is life quality. Life quality is a critical part of your dog’s care. Nobody wants to have a longer life if the life gained is a bad one.
In the Guide we look at many ways to increase life quality after a dog cancer diagnosis. We need to always remember our loved dog’s Joys of Life. Here are some of them:
Joys of Life:
The joy of eating and drinking. Having hunger satiated and thirst quenched are delightful and are joys. Cancer cachexia (weight loss due to cancer) and dehydration are negatives.
The joy of social relationships with humans and other animals. The love and bonding experiences are joyful for your dog. Depression, loneliness, and the loss of these social interactions are negatives.
They joy of athletic stimulation and movement. Most dogs enjoy the use of their body and physical movement. Not all are athletes, but all enjoy choosing a destination and getting there. Many like walks and play, enjoying the stimulation these provide. Immobility and a lack of desire or ability to move are negatives.
They joy of having normal bodily functions. The ability of the body to do what it is supposed to do is a joy in life. Try taking away your ability to urinate if you don’t believe me. The discomfort is excruciating. How about removing the ability to obtain oxygen? Breathing is a joy in life. When normal biological functions are lost, life quality goes down.
The joy of having a healthy mental state. Pain, having unmet needs, dementia, distress, depression, compulsivity, fatigue, and other unpleasant mental states take away this joy. Having a mental state that is normal is a joy in life that is underrated.
The joy of play. This contributes to a healthy mental state. In published research, laughter literally fights disease.
So we need to make sure that we are building activities in our schedule that increase life quality. Another way of saying this is that we need to deliberately increase the Joys of Life for our dogs.
Suppose you have weekly oncologist appointments for chemo for your dog. You have blocked off time twice daily for medication, Apocaps, immune supporting supplements, dog cancer diet preparation, and so on.
When have you scheduled a Joys of Life appointment for your dog? When is this in your Google calendar or your daily planner? What time is allocated and especially reserved for this important appointment?
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.