The Gaylords got Betty, their twelve year-old cat, when she was just a kitten. Over the past decade, Betty has become an important member of their family. So when Blake Gaylord noticed a mass on the side of Betty’s mouth while petting her one day, she and her mother Leslie quickly called their vet. He told them to immediately take Betty to VCA West Coast Specialty and Emergency Animal Hospital.

Luckily for the Gaylords, VCA West Coast is not only close to their home, it offers a variety of state-of-the-art specialty care, including advanced oncology services. Betty was treated by a team of oncologists, each an expert in a different type of cancer care.

“We're the only VCA specialty hospital and, to my knowledge, very few specialty hospitals out in private practice that actually have surgical oncology, medical oncology, and radiation oncology,” says Arathi Vinayak,  DVM, DACVS-SA ACVS,  the hospital’s surgical oncology specialist.

“We're unique in that we work together in one space and see our appointments every day, so the client and our patient get the best of all three modalities at every consult.”

Doctors at VCA West Coast discovered that Betty had a tumor called a salivary gland adenocarcinoma, which had unfortunately spread to a nearby lymph node. The first step in Betty’s care was surgery, where Dr. Vinayak removed both growths.

“So Betty's cancer originally was from her upper canine teeth, going all the way around to the bottom lower front teeth, so that whole area was full of cancer,” explains Dr. Vinayak. “We actually removed all the tissue from underneath her eye, all the way around, and then took skin and did an advancement flap from the neck to reconstruct her lip area.”

Since Betty would need additional cancer treatment, being able to access all of the services she needed at one convenient location meant a lot to the Gaylords.

“Betty is a member of their family, so they came to see us because I truly believe this is the best veterinary care in this area,” says Mary Kay Blake, DVM, DACVIM, part of the oncology team at VCA West Coast.  “We have all the modalities to treat Betty with exactly what she needed.”

Beatrix Jenei, DVM, MS, DACVR, a radiation oncologist, was the next member of the team to treat Betty. She irradiated the area where the surgery was, making sure no cancer cells were left behind. 

The final step in Betty’s treatment was with Dr. Blake. 

“Then I administered the chemotherapy,” she says. “She's tolerated chemotherapy like a trooper, really no side effects whatsoever. She got what she needed, and she's doing great.”

Today Betty is cancer free and enjoying her life. Her quality of life is back to normal, and the Gaylords are extremely happy.

“I can't say enough thank yous and how grateful we are,” says Leslie.

“We couldn't have asked for a better, more supportive, loving environment for Betty,” adds Blake.

Many serious diseases and conditions are now possible to treat, which results in pets living their best lives, longer. We invite you to visit the website of your closest specialty hospital. You can read about the specialists and teams of people who are always there for you and your pet should the need arise. You will find doctor and team member bios, helpful descriptions of the specialty departments at each hospital and a wealth of information related to the conditions and diseases our specialists treat.

Are you concerned about your pet’s lumps?

“Today Betty is cancer free and enjoying her life. Her quality of life is back to normal.”