Tag Archives: Coping

Coping With Cancer in a Pet

A diagnosis of cancer for your companion animal can leave you with a difficult choice. Care for a pet with cancer can be very intensive. It can require chemotherapy, and other cancer treatments similar to those offered to humans. These treatments may be expensive and time consuming, and they may have unpleasant side effects for your pet which will create a situation in which your pet needs a great deal of nursing care. Furthermore, we want to avoid putting our pets into a situation where they are suffering. The quality of life of our pets is essential, and if cancer or cancer treatment is going to compromise that, it becomes difficult to decide if the benefits outweigh the costs.

Often, we want to put off our pets death for as long as we can, because we know how difficult it is to cope with pet loss, and we know that even writing an online pet memorial will offer little comfort or our loss. However, we need to make the decision that is going to be best for our pet and provide our companion animal with the best care. We must put them first. Thus, it is important to understand what the cancer treatments for your pet will involve, and what the chances are for a successful recovery.

Fortunately, for many pets, the side effects of chemotherapy drugs are less severe than the side effects for humans. Chemotherapy drugs interfere with cells that rapidly divide and reproduce, and for many breeds of dogs, there are less of these types of cells then there are in humans. Certain breeds of dogs, like terriers and poodles experience more severe side effects and are more susceptible to hair loss from chemotherapy. Cats and other dogs may also lose some hair, or whiskers around their faces, but these things will grow back after treatment. Some pets experience a lowered blood cell count level as well, but antibiotics can usually be prescribed.

Some chemotherapy medications can be administered to pets in pill form, which makes it easier for both you and your pet. You can give your dog the treatment at home, without any nerve-inducing vet visits. Other chemotherapy medications do have to be injected, and require regular vet visits for the treatment. Your dog or cat may also need blood tests throughout the healing process, in order to ensure that his or her body is not being harmed by the chemotherapy process.

While many patients chose to provide chemotherapy to their dogs or cats if there is a possibility of curing the cancer, the decision becomes more difficult when it comes to administering chemotherapy to alleviate symptoms and lengthen life. At that point, the decision is not is clear cut would your pet be better honored by expensive medical care that gives them a brief happy time on earth, or is it kinder to simply let your pet go and honor him with a pet grave marker or pet urn.

Colleen Mihelich
Owner, Peternity . . . honoring your pet for eternity
[email protected]

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Coping with pet loss: Grieving the death of a beloved pet

When your beloved pet has died, it is perfectly normal to grieve. You might even be surprised by the depth of the grief you experience. You probably recognize one or more of the following:

You cannot stop crying, and you can’t focus at work or at home
Grieving is too painful, so you try to ignore it by keeping busy or numbing yourself in various ways, but it doesn’t actually help, because by ignoring your feelings, you are also cutting off your ability to live fully. And even if you do try to suppress the grief you feel after losing your animal companion, you will still be overwhelmed by the grief from time to time anyway.
The grief can be is so overwhelming that you feel you are drowning and your heart is broken. 

In the following I will share a simple but powerful exercise that will help you acknowledge and cope with your grief.

Allowing yourself to grieve

Grief is a very powerful emotion, so when you feel overwhelmed by grief after the death of your pet, it is crucial to acknowledge the grief. Try not to resist but instead accept and embrace the grief. Allow the feelings to be there and cry if you need to, but don’t feed the grief with your mind by thinking about what you should or should not have done. Simply allow whatever feelings you have to be there. You can for instance put on some relaxing music to help you calm down.

From grief to inner peace

Allowing yourself to grieve will help you reach a state of inner peace and heal after pet loss, so you can easier see past the pain of the loss. You will see and remember more clearly the love you shared with your pet and be grateful for everything your pet has given you in stead of being torn apart by the pain of the loss.

And when you are not stuck in the grief anymore, you will be able to use that love and gratitude to not only improve your own life, but also to help others you meet on your path, both humans and animals.

Marianne Soucy provides support, comfort, and healing after pet loss. You can find more articles by her as well as tips, exercises and inspiration on her website www.HealingPetLoss.com, where you can also get personal tailored healing for both you and your pet.