What Is A Veterinary Oncologist?
A board certified veterinary oncologist is a veterinary internal medicine specialist who has also obtained additional training in veterinary oncology. A veterinary oncologist has specialized knowledge in the diagnosis and staging of cancer, the development of treatment plans, and the administration of chemotherapy. When your pet is faced with cancer, a veterinary oncologist will typically work with your pet's general practitioner veterinarian in order to obtain the best possible medical outcome for your pet.
A veterinary oncologist can help your pet by developing treatment plans that incorporate one or all of the following options:
- Palliative and hospice care for terminal conditions
While your general practitioner veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems, certain diseases like cancer require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive training in veterinary oncology. Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists has an oncologist available seven days a week.
Why Does My Pet Need A Veterinary Oncologist?
Just as in humans, a pet with cancer typically needs the help of an oncologist to help diagnose and treat the disease. Veterinary oncologists determine the most appropriate course of treatment and coordinate the treatment program for pets with cancer. They are also specialists in end-of-life care and can be an invaluable resource for you and your companion animal when difficult decisions must be made.
While in some cases, your veterinarian may be able to simply consult with the veterinary oncologist about your pet's care, in other cases it is necessary to actually refer you and your pet to the veterinary oncologist for more advanced diagnostics and treatment. Board certified veterinary oncologists may also have access to specialized diagnostic or treatment tools that a general practitioner veterinarian may not have.
My Pet Has Cancer. Now What?
Cancer appears to be more common in pets, most likely because they are simply living longer. However, the most important point to realize about this dreaded disease is that just as in people, many forms of the disease can be easily treated, managed, and even cured. Early detection and specialized care are leading to increased survival and cure rates in almost all the types of cancers that afflict pets. From surgery to chemotherapy to radiation therapy, veterinary cancer specialists can offer your pet the very latest diagnostic and treatment options and the best chance of survival. With optimal treatment, cancer can become another manageable chronic disease.
If your pet is diagnosed with cancer, it is important not to become overwhelmed. Ask your veterinarian to write down the most important points for you to review later. Although the disease is serious, treatment decisions generally do not need to be made quickly. If your pet is diagnosed with cancer, however, you will either want to have your general practice veterinarian work in consultation with a veterinary oncologist, or be referred to one of these specialists for your pet's treatment.
- Mast cell tumors
- Mammary gland carcinoma
- Endocrine tumors
Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?
In most cases, your regular veterinarian will still supervise your pet's veterinary care and will work in tandem with the veterinary oncologist, and any other members of your pet's veterinary health care team.
Did You Know?
Dogs and cats have higher age adjusted incidence rates for many kinds of cancers than humans. For example, dogs are 35 times more likely to get skin cancer than humans. They suffer from 8 times the amount of bone cancer and 4 times the amount of breast cancer. However, humans are more likely to get lung and stomach cancers than pets.