Skip to Content
It can be a heartbreaking moment for any dog-owner when told that your dog has a serious illness and even more so when your beloved pet is given less than a year to live.
This was the sad news given to the owners of Bella, a retriever who was diagnosed with cancer after developing a limp which later turned out to be a tumour.
In scenes shown on Tuesday night’s episode of STV’s Vet School, staff at the Dick Vet School battle to save Bella with a course of chemotherapy in an attempt to stop the cancerous tumour from growing further.
For the vets at Edinburgh’s renowned Dick Vet School, giving sad news is an unfortunate part of the day-job.
Speaking to The Hour, cancer specialist Dr Mala Renwick said: “It is very difficult. The approach that we would take is that brutal honesty is often necessary.
“It’s all very painful and we all know how emotional it can be, its all about quality of life for our patients. There is no point prolonging an animal's life If there is no quality of life.”
“We have to remember that when owning a pet and looking after a pet, it’s all about responsibility and stewardship. Making the right decision for that animal at that time.”
Although instances of cancer are rare in the dog world, vets will often deal with other illnesses including arthritis and behavioural problems.
Often these medical issues are caused by irresponsible breeding and Dr Renwick urged pet owners to consider the difficulties of pure breeds before buying a new dog.
“Cancer is less common in mongrels, although we do see it for sure. I think one of the problem perceived with pure breeds is the overrepresentation of certain types of diseases in one breed and that tells us there is heritable or genetic link.
“You can never guarantee a healthy dog but look very carefully at how that dog has been bred before taking it on. I suggest looking at accredited breeder schemes too.”
Catch up with the latest from Dick Vet School every Tuesday night on STV at 8pm.