Most of our patients are sent to us by local general practitioners with a particular diagnosis. The diagnosis is usually reached via a biopsy, fine needle aspirate, or by removing the mass altogether. The tests that we perform are dependent on the type of tumor, the site, and what tests the referring veterinarian has already performed.
All animals with cancer should be staged. This is to ensure that the cancer has not spread to another part of the body and also make sure that your animal does not have some other health related issue that may affect its overall survival or outcome.
Staging is done to determine the extent of tumor in the body, then it is used to determine the prognosis for your pet and possible treatment options.
Tests often used in staging include: blood counts, serum chemistry, urinalysis, radiographs, aspirates, biopsies, cytology, ultrasound, CT scan, endoscopy and immunologic studies.
Staging is not an exact science, and unfortunately, we are only able to detect disease that is of a certain size. If your pet has very small amounts of disease (microscopic) most of our staging tests will unfortunately not be able to identify these sites.