Oncology

What Is A Veterinary Oncologist?

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 primary 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

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 a pet’s treatment program.

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. Veterinary oncologists may also have access to specialized diagnostic and/or treatment tools that your primary 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 of the types of cancers that afflict pets. From surgery to chemotherapy to radiation therapy, veterinary oncologists 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.

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 and many veterinary medical advances have been made in recent years. One breakthrough treatment has been the development of ONCEPT Canine Melanoma Vaccine.

Developed by 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, one of the most common and aggressive forms of cancer in dogs. This innovative DNA-based cancer vaccine has demonstrated significantly longer life spans, even in dogs with Stage II and Stage III canine melanoma.

Since receiving full USDA approval in 2009, thousands of dogs have been treated with ONCEPT and it has been shown to be a safe, effective adjunct therapy that can significantly 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.

Additional information may also be found at these links:

Will My Primary 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 do 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.

Advanced Care

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To schedule your pet’s visit with our hospital, select Request an Appointment below. In the event of a pet medical crisis, no appointment is needed. Simply select Emergency below to view emergency information.

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