As a Pet CancerCare Center, VCA Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles is here to help you navigate the cancer treatment process for you and your pet. We understand the difficulties that come when you find out your pet has cancer and how scary it is to make an appointment with a pet oncologist. We promise we will work with you throughout the entire process to make sure you thoroughly understand your loved one’s treatment plan.
The last thing anyone wants for their dog or cat is a cancer diagnosis. While it is a hard thing to face, cancer treatment has come a long way and there are many options available for your pet’s treatment. At VCA, our network of Pet CancerCare doctors has access to advanced technology and collaborative resources amongst some of the highest-rated pet oncologists in the nation.
When your pet receives a cancer diagnosis, you should consult with your primary care veterinarian regarding a referral to our oncology department as soon as possible so that you can determine what the next best steps are for treating your pet’s unique case.
When your cat or dog has been diagnosed with cancer, our oncology team will do everything in our power to improve your pet’s prognosis. At VCA ASG, we offer a variety of advanced methods for treating cancer in pets, including:
We do not offer radiation oncology at our location. If your pet requires radiation treatment, you can visit vcahospitals.com and search for a Pet CancerCare center in your area that offers radiation therapy.
Diagnostic Testing Services Offered:
If your pet has been diagnosed with cancer, your primary care veterinarian can provide you with a referral to our board-certified pet oncologist. At VCA Animal Specialty Group in Los Angeles, we work with you every step of the way to determine the best treatment options for your pet’s type of cancer. We are here for you and will do our absolute best so that you can have more time with your beloved dog or cat. Contact us today for more information.
Just as in people, there is no proven way to keep your pet from getting cancer. You can, however, take steps to minimize the risks. Avoid any known predisposing causes, such as not spaying or neutering pets, or leaving pets exposed to sunlight. Also make sure your pet has regularly scheduled checkups and follow your veterinarian's advice regarding any necessary screening tests.
Any veterinarian who wants to specialize in oncology must first be certified as an internal medicine specialist. Veterinarians who want to become board certified in internal medicine must seek additional, intensive training to become a specialist and earn this prestigious credentialing. Specialty status is granted by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM). A veterinarian who has received this specialty status will list the initials, 'DACVIM,' after his or her DVM degree. Or, the veterinarian may indicate that he or she is a 'Diplomate' of the ACVIM. The word 'Diplomate' typically means the specialist has achieved the following:
Obtained a traditional 8 year veterinary degree (four years of college plus four years of veterinary school).
Completed an additional three to six years of advanced training, including a residency at a veterinary teaching hospital where the veterinarian will have trained with some of the best experts in the field and obtained hands on experience.
Completed the credentialing application process established by the ACVIM
Passed a rigorous general examination.
Once a veterinarian is board certified in internal medicine, he or she may seek additional specialty status in veterinary oncology. Internal medicine specialists must obtain additional training in this area and sit for a second, even more intensive examination. These doctors will list their credentials after their boarded status, for example, as 'DAVCIM (Oncology).'
When your pet needs the care of a veterinary internal medicine specialist/veterinary oncologist, years of intensive training and additional education will be focused on helping him or her to recover from the disease and/or enjoy the highest quality of life possible.
The goal of cancer therapy is to destroy abnormal cancer cells while sparing normal cells. An important difference in human vs. animal oncology is that the goal with humans, due to our extended life spans, is to cure the disease. In animals, the goal is more to extend the length of life while still maintaining its quality. In many cases, a veterinary oncologist will combine some or all of the treatment options outlined below in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet.
Your veterinary oncologist will give you specific instructions regarding your pet's chemotherapy, but in general, you should be aware that pets typically handle chemotherapy regimens far better than people do. First, as cancer treatment for both humans and small animals has become more sophisticated, the side effects created by chemotherapy regimens have become less severe. Second, chemotherapy administration in animals is less aggressive than it is in humans, so animals typically do not become as sick from the side effects as do people.
Finally, veterinary oncologists have many options at their disposal to help keep your pet comfortable during treatment for his or her disease. From pain management options to special nutritional recommendations to medications that can help lessen the nausea associated with chemotherapy, be assured that veterinary oncologists can keep most pets surprisingly comfortable during treatment. In fact, one of the biggest hurdles to treating pets with cancer is that many owners imagine their pet's treatment will be more difficult than it really is.