How Can a Veterinary Oncologist Help Me?
Advances in veterinary medicine see our beloved pets living longer than ever. Unfortunately, that means cancer impacts more pets and pet owners than ever. A cancer diagnosis can be scary but your veterinary oncologist is there to help guide you through the process and to give you the knowledge to understand what to expect for your pet’s future.
Veterinary Oncologists use many of the same types of cancer treatments that are available in human medicine: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Sometimes a treatment plan includes a combination of these methods.
Veterinary Oncologists work with primary care veterinarians and pet families to create a personalized comprehensive treatment plan ranging from staging tests and chemotherapy treatment to palliative care. The goal is always to improve the quality of life and to minimize side effects.
Medical Oncologists have the knowledge and experience to treat many cancers using chemotherapy and novel therapies (such as immunotherapy) that can help most animals. For some pets, this may mean a cure, while for others there may be palliative treatments to improve quality of life.
Examples of common cancers treated with chemotherapy alone or in conjunction with other therapies include:
Prior to starting chemotherapy, the Internist may recommend staging tests that determine which organs are affected and how advanced the cancer is. The types of testing recommended are determined based on the form of cancer your pet has. Common diagnostics include bloodwork, urinalysis, ultrasound of the abdomen, chest x-rays, CT scan, and lymph node sampling. Staging provides the Internist with the most complete information possible about your pet’s disease which will then be directed to our remote Oncologist for a consult.
Our remote Oncologist will design a treatment plan based on the type of cancer your pet has, how much it has developed, and how fast it is likely to spread. Our Internist will continue to work with our remote Oncologist and your family veterinarian to make the biggest impact on your pet’s quality of life. Oncology can prolong your pet’s life and help them combat the side effects of cancer.
How Do I Get My Animals on the Schedule?
Speak with your family veterinarian, after getting a positive diagnosis, to see if they think oncology can benefit your animal. We will obtain records from them and give you a call regarding scheduling.
What Can I Expect at My Appointment?
We will review your animal’s records and work with you to determine the best course of treatment. Discuss how chemotherapy will affect your pet and what side effects come with treatment. Bloodwork, urinalysis, and CTs or ultrasounds may be necessary during your oncology appointment. We schedule 1-hour initial consults, but if any previously mentioned imagining or diagnostics are needed, your pet may be with us for several hours.