We are committed to caring for your pet – while maintaining the highest level of safety for our Associates and pet owners. We thank you for your continued patience and support. Learn more about our COVID-19 response and guidelines.

Kate Taikowski

DVM (Practice limited to Oncology)
Kate Taikowski Staff Photo 2
Veterinary Specialist
Kate Taikowski Staff Photo 2
Dr. Kate Taikowski graduated from Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2016, and then completed a one year rotating internship here at VCA Shoreline and VREC. She then completed a residency in Medical Oncology at The Ohio State University. She is particularly interested in working collaboratively with surgeons, radiation oncologists, and family veterinarians in order to develop an integrated and personalized approach for each patient. Dr. Taikowski is originally from Fairfield County and is looking forward to returning to the area. In her spare time, she enjoys horseback riding and spending time outside with her dog, Ollie.
Plasma Cytokeratin 18 and Fecal Alpha‐1 Antitrypsin Concentrations in Dogs with Osteosarcoma Receiving Carboplatin Chemotherapy

Abstract: Gastrointestinal (GI) toxicosis is a common side effect of cytotoxic chemotherapy treatment in humans and dogs. Measurement of cytokeratin 18 (CK18), an intracellular structural protein released during epithelial apoptosis, and Alpha1‐Antitrypsin (A1AT) in faeces provides a mechanism for evaluating damage to the intestinal mucosa secondary to cytotoxic chemotherapy. Our goal was to evaluate the clinical utility of plasma CK18 and faecal A1‐AT levels as non‐invasive biomarkers of cytotoxic chemotherapy induced GI toxicity. We conducted a prospective cohort study in dogs (N = 10) with osteosarcoma undergoing amputation followed by carboplatin chemotherapy. We hypothesized that plasma CK18 and faecal A1‐AT levels would increase following carboplatin administration due to drug‐induced GI epithelial damage/apoptosis, and that plasma CK18 and faecal A1‐AT levels would correlate with severity of GI toxicity. Mean baseline plasma CK18 concentration was variable amongst patients; however, CK18 concentration prior to carboplatin chemotherapy treatment was not significantly different from CK18 levels after treatment. There was significant intra and inter‐patient variability in mean faecal A1‐AT levels at baseline. Mean A1‐AT concentration did not change significantly from day 0 to day 21. Gastrointestinal toxicity was minimal; therefore, we were unable to determine the association of plasma CK18 and faecal A1‐AT concentrations with development of GI toxicosis. In this study population, plasma CK18 and faecal A1‐AT concentration were not clinically useful biomarkers for the detection of GI toxicosis secondary to carboplatin administration. Further prospective evaluation of CK18 and A1‐AT as biomarkers of drug‐induced GI toxicity is warranted in a larger cohort of dogs receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy.
Authored: Taikowski, K; Rudinsky, AJ; Louke, DS; Warry, E; Fenger, JM.
Published: Vet Med Sci. 2020; 00: 1– 8. https://doi.org/10.1002/vms3.392

See our departments


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 of cancer, the staging of tumors, the development of treatment plans, and the administration of chemotherapy.

When your pet is faced with cancer, a veterinary oncologist will typically work in concert 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:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy

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.

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 also frequently serve as consultants to veterinarians in private practice to ensure that their patients receive the best treatment possible for their cancer.

You can be assured that a veterinarian who refers you and your pet to a veterinary oncologist is one who is caring and committed to ensuring that your pet receives the highest standard of medical care for his or her illness.

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 internists/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 does appear to be becoming more common in pets, most likely because they are simply living longer. The most important point to realize about this dreaded disease, however, 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 in many cases simply becomes 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.

Veterinary oncologists typically treat:

  • Common Cancers
  • Skin tumors
  • Mammary tumors
  • Lymphosarcoma
  • Endocrine tumors
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Hemangiosarcoma

ONCEPT Canine Melanoma Vaccine

There is ongoing research and clinical trials to develop new and effective treatment options for pets with cancer. Many veterinary medical advances have been made in recent years. One breakthrough treatment was the development of the ONCEPT Canine Melanoma Vaccine.

Developed by VCA Katonah-Bedford Veterinary Center (KBVC) Oncology Specialist Dr. Philip Bergman in partnership with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Merial, it is the first commercially available vaccine for the treatment of canine melanoma. Melanoma is one of the most common and aggressive forms of cancer in dogs and most often seen in the mouth or digits of dogs This innovative DNA-based cancer vaccine has demonstrated longer life spans for dogs with Stage I and Stage II canine melanoma.

Since receiving full USDA approval in 2009, thousands of dogs have been treated with ONCEPT and it has shown to be a safe, effective adjunct therapy that can prolong survival times in dogs with canine melanoma. The vaccine is administered via a Canine Transdermal Device, which delivers the vaccine without the use of a needle. ONCEPT is available through our hospital’s Oncology Department. 

Discuss with your oncologist if the Melanoma Vaccine is right for your pet.

Additional information may also be found at these links:

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, veterinary radiation 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 do humans. For example, dogs are 35 times more likely to get skin cancer than are 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

Our Oncology Team

Oncology Technician
VCA Shoreline Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center

895 Bridgeport Avenue

Shelton, CT 06484

Main: 203-929-8600

Fax: 203-944-9754

Hospital Hours:

    Mon-Sun: Open 24 hours

Are you a Primary Care Veterinarian? We have dedicated resources for you.

Loading... Please wait