Is My Pet Suffering?

OncoLink
Last Modified: September 17, 2012

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Question

How do I know if my pet is suffering?

Lili Duda, VMD, MBE, DACVR Veterinary Radiation Oncologist- University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Answer

Suffering is a hard thing to define and quantify, whether it is happening in a pet or a person. For our veterinary patients, we assume that if something would hurt or distress a person, it would also hurt or distress a pet. If a pet is not able to do the things that make it happy, such as playing with a ball, going for a walk, enjoying a meal, or comfortably use the litter box, he or she may be suffering. The duration of the distress or discomfort also makes a difference. If a pet has symptoms we think we can make better with supportive care and medication, it may be worth trying treatment. When a pet is at a point where we have exhausted our treatment options and nothing is working, we are at a point where we can't alleviate suffering.

Learn more about quality of life in pets with cancer.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from When a Beloved Pet has Cancer.



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