Cancer is never a pleasant diagnosis for your pet, and is normally very frightening and stressful for the entire family. Fortunately, AVES has one of only 300 board-certified oncologists in the country to see you through this tough time. Cancer is the leading cause of death in older dogs and cats, but it does not have to be a death sentence. At AVES we specialize in providing compassionate care to pets diagnosed with cancer to extend lifespan and enhance quality of life.
Veterinary Oncology Specialties
Diagnosis of Cancer
Cancer is not a simple disease and does not always present in one single tumor but many throughout the body. There are also many different types of cancer that could be present. Our oncologist performs the appropriate diagnostic tests for each patient and develops a treatment plan best suited to enhancing the quality of life. During your pet’s initial visit our oncologist will examine your pet, obtain a detailed history of signs and symptoms, review all medical records, laboratory results and x-rays from your family veterinarian and evaluate current/recent medications to begin the process.
Staging of Tumors
During your pet’s initial diagnosis, our oncologist will determine the severity of cancer based on size and whether or not the cancer has spread to other areas. This is called staging. Staging allows our oncologist to plan the appropriate treatment. Staging is based on knowledge of the way cancer progresses.
Development of Treatment Plans
Almost every pet diagnosed with cancer can receive some sort of treatment that can extend their life and increase their quality of life. Once the diagnosis is made, our oncologist will give you treatment options and provide realistic expectations for outcome. Treatment plans can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, novel therapeutics, and multimodality therapy.
Administration of Chemotherapy
Treatment of cancer in pets is less aggressive than the same treatment performed in humans. Due to the compressed lifespan of dogs and cats, cancer treatments like chemotherapy are administered in lower doses, so pets tend to handle these treatments better than people do allowing them to bypass the illness and side effects humans typically encounter.
Our oncologist also works with you during the treatment process to keep your pet as comfortable as possible. Many things can be done to help your pet stay comfortable during treatment including pain management options and nausea medications.
Although not available at AVES, the goal of radiation therapy in the treatment of cancer in your pet is to kill cancer cells and limit damage to normal tissues. Radiation therapy is delivered as a beam of energy that is targeted to a specific part of the body. Using a number of approaches, normal tissue that surrounds the tumor are “shielded” from this beam so as to limit side-effects associated with radiation.
The use of radiation therapy is most effective as a follow-up to other treatments like surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy can also be used to shrink a tumor that cannot be removed with surgery.
Immunotherapy is the ability of the immune system to protect against tumor development by attacking malignant cells once they arise. Immunotherapy uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. It works by either stimulating your immune system to attack cancer cells or providing your immune system with what it needs, such as antibodies, to fight cancer.
Novel therapeutics is an individualized approach to treatment using new or combinations of drugs and treatments.
At AVES, our oncologist will provide a multimodality approach to therapy combining surgery and medical anticancer therapy.
Our Oncology service is open Monday – Friday, 8am – 6pm. Please contact our office at 512-343-2837 for more information or to schedule an appointment with our Oncologist.
Board-certified veterinary oncologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in animals. A board-certified veterinary oncologist has completed extensive post-graduate study and training, has demonstrated clinical competency under close supervision, and has passed a comprehensive examination in the specialty. Board-certified oncologists are referred to as “Diplomates” of their specialty college. At the present time there are fewer than 300 board-certified veterinary oncologists in the country.