Once your vet has made the diagnosis, they will discuss the various treatment options with you. As with human cancer treatment, these will be either surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Surgery is still the most widely used treatment for most dog cancers. In some cases a combination of treatments may be used. A combination of surgery followed by chemotherapy is used for some aggressive tumours. There are certain tumours, such as lymphoma (one of the most common malignancies in dogs), which are treated primarily by chemotherapy with very good results. Chemotherapy in dogs is not as unpleasant as it can be for humans.
Hair loss is not a major problem for most dogs and cats receiving chemotherapy, although clipped hair is slow to grow. Breeds such as poodles, terriers with wiry coats, and some old English sheepdogs and Afghan hounds can loose a significant amount of hair, and owners should be reassured that this will probably be more of a concern for them than for their pet. All hair and whiskers will re-grow when therapy is stopped.
As cancer therapy becomes more sophisticated, there is increasing use of specialist referral centres where cancer specialists are able to provide the most advanced treatments available. Your vet will know all the cancer referral centres and will advise you if they think one of these centres can offer more appropriate treatment for your dog.