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Cecilia Robat

DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)
Veterinary Specialist
Availability: Friday

At a Glance

Practicing Since:


Board Certified:


My Pets:

Ivy & Harry - Dogs

In the Field Since:

Professional Affiliations: 
Veterinary Cancer Society
American Veterinary Medical Association
Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association
Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Dane County Veterinary Medical Association
American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Credentials Committee

Board Certification: 
American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Oncology) Diplomate, 2011

Docteur en Medecine Veterinaire (DVM equivalent), University of Liege, Belgium

Medicine and Surgery, University of Liege, Belgium, 2006
Oncology and clinical research, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2008

Medical Oncology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2011

Dr. Robat has been caring for oncology patients in Wisconsin and beyond since 2007. She was a clinical instructor in Medical Oncology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison UW Veterinary Care until she joined the team at VCA-VES/VSC in April 2016. She is known for her compassion and dedication to clients, patients, and referring veterinarians. She is very passionate about her job and cares deeply for her patients. She always strives to provide pet-parents with all options, from the most aggressive to the least aggressive and strongly believes that there is no right answer, just the right answer for each individual patient. Quality of life is always the priority when treating pets with cancer. 

Dr. Robat's research has been widely published in the field of veterinary oncology. She has been invited to present at many national and international conferences and won an award for her research. She continues to be actively involved in clinical research and collaborates with other oncologists on a variety of studies.

Dr. Robat lives with her husband (a zoo and exotic animal veterinarian), 2 children, and 2 rescue dogs.

Papers Authored
Apocrine Gland Anal Sac Adenocarcinoma in Cats: 30 Cases (1994–2015)
Objective: To describe the signalment, clinical signs, biological behavior, and outcome for cats with apocrine gland anal sac adenocarcinoma (AGASACA) that underwent surgical excision.
Authored: Amsellem PM, Cavanaugh RP, Chou PY, Bacon NJ, Schallberger SP, Farese JP, Kuntz CA, Liptak JM, Culp WTN, Robat CS, Powers B
Published: J Am Vet Med Assoc 2019 Mar 15; 254(6):7 16-722
Paraganglioma, Pituitary Adenoma, and Osteosarcoma in a Dog

Abstract: An 11-year-old neutered male Alaskan Malamute mixed-breed dog was presented with a complaint of polyuria/polydipsia (PU/PD), weight loss, tachypnea, regurgitation, and a previous history of nontreated osteosarcoma of the right distal radius, diagnosed 21 months prior. On physical examination, an abdominal mass was palpated. The abdominal mass was aspirated and cytologically diagnosed as a neuroendocrine tumor, suspected to be a pheochromocytoma. Laboratory examination revealed a mild anemia and thrombocytopenia, markedly elevated ATP and ALP activities, and moderate hypercalcemia. A low-dose dexamethasone suppression test and endogenous adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) concentration were compatible with pituitary hyperadrenocorticism. On urinalysis, proteinuria was noted as well as a high urine metanephrine/creatinine ratio, consistent with a diagnosis of pheochromocytoma. The dog was treated with supportive care and euthanized 6 months later due to decreasing quality of life. On necropsy, an extra-adrenal pheochromocytoma (paraganglioma) was diagnosed in the caudal abdomen, and a pituitary adenoma and an osteosarcoma of the right distal radius were confirmed.
Robat C, Houseright R, Murphey J, Sample S, Pinkerton ME
Published: Vet. Clin. Path. 2016 Sep 45 (3):484-9

Vinblastine as a Second Rescue for the Treatment of Canine Multicentric Lymphoma in 39 Cases (2005 to 2014)

Objective: The objective of this study was to retrospectively evaluate response and outcome of dogs with multicentric lymphoma treated with single-agent vinblastine as a second rescue.
Lenz JA, Robat C, Stein TJ
Published: J Small Anim Pract 2016 Jun 1

Adjuvant Therapy With Carboplatin and Pamidronate for Canine Appendicular Osteosarcoma

Abstract: Amputation and chemotherapy are the mainstay of treatment for canine appendicular osteosarcoma (OSA). In vitro studies have demonstrated anti-tumour activity of pamidronate against canine OSA. The purpose of this study was to assess the safety of adding pamidronate to standard post-operative carboplatin chemotherapy in 17 dogs with appendicular OSA treated with limb amputation. Median disease-free interval (DFI) and median survival time (MST) were evaluated as secondary endpoints. Incidence of side effects and treatment outcomes were compared to 14 contemporary control patients treated with carboplatin alone. There were no identified side effects to the pamidronate treatment. The median DFI for the study group was 185 days compared to 172 days for the control group (P = 0.90). The MST of the study group was 311 days compared to 294 days for the control group (P = 0.89). Addition of pamidronate to carboplatin chemotherapy for the treatment of canine appendicular OSA is safe and does not impair efficacy of standard carboplatin treatment.
Kozicki AR, Robat C, Chun R
Published: Vet Comp Oncol. 2015;13:229-36

Retrobulbar Lymphoma Associated With a Ballistic Foreign Body in a Cat

Abstract: A seven-year-old domestic shorthair cat, adopted 5 years previously with a corneal perforation of the left eye, was presented for investigation of a left orbital mass. Computed tomography revealed a metallic foreign body within a contrast-enhancing, heterogeneous orbital mass. Large cell lymphoma was diagnosed from a fine needle aspirate. The cat staged negatively and was treated with L-asparaginase, prednisolone and three fractions of radiation therapy. A rapid clinical remission was obtained and the cat remained in remission for 3 years after therapy. This is the first report of large cell lymphoma likely occurring secondary to a foreign body.
Robat C, Bemelmans I, Marescaux L
Published: J Small Anim Pract. 2015

Diagnosis and Surgical Treatment of a Malignant Trichoepithelioma of the Ear Canal in a Pet Rabbit

Abstract: A 10-year-old spayed female Holland Lop-mix pet rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) was evaluated because of purulent-hemorrhagic discharge from the right ear canal and a suspected mass within that ear canal.
Budgeon C, Mans C, Chamberlin T, Stein J, Drees R, Robat C, et al
Published: J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2014;245:227-31

Retrospective Evaluation of 116 Cases of Canine Thymoma

Authored: Robat C, Cesario L, Gaeta R, Schrempp D, Miller M, Chun R
Published: J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2013;24:1448-54

Retrospective Evaluation of Doxorubicin-Piroxicam Combination for the Treatment of Transitional Cell Carcinoma in Dogs

Objective: To determine whether doxorubicin-piroxicam combination is safe and has activity against transitional cell carcinoma in dogs.
Authored: Robat C, Burton J, Thamm D, Vail D,
Published: J Small Anim Pract. 2013;54:67-74

Safety Evaluation of Combination Vinblastine and Toceranib Phosphate (Palladia®) in Dogs: A Phase I Dose-Finding Study

Abstract: Combining drugs with known single-agent activity that lack overlapping dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) and exert antitumour activity through different mechanisms could improve clinical outcome. As toceranib and vinblastine meet these requisites, a phase I trial was performed in combination in dogs with mast cell tumours. The DLT for the simultaneous combination was neutropenia and the maximally tolerated dose was vinblastine (1.6 mg m(-2) every other week) concurrent with toceranib (3.25 mg kg(-1) PO, every other day). This represents greater than a 50% reduction in dose intensity for vinblastine (compared with single-agent use) and as such does not support this combination based on current drug combination paradigms. Although a strict adherence to dose paradigms speaks against the combination, evidence of significant activity (71% objective response) and enhanced myelosuppression suggest additive or synergistic activity. A prospective randomized evaluation comparing this combination with standard single-agent treatments would seem prudent to interrogate this potential.
Authored: Robat C, London C, Bunting L, et al
Published: Vet Comp Oncol. 2012;10:174-83

What Is Your Diagnosis? Peritoneal Fluid From a Dog With Epistaxis. Plasma Cell Neoplasia With Giant Myeloma Cells

Authored: Webb JL, Robat C
Published: Vet Clin Pathol. 2010;39:253-4

Assessment of GS-9219 in a Pet Dog Model of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Objective:  To assess, in dogs with naturally occurring non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, pharmacokinetics, safety, and activity of GS-9219, a prodrug of the nucleotide analogue 9-(2-phosphonylmethoxyethyl) guanine (PMEG), which delivers PMEG and its phosphorylated metabolites to lymphoid cells with preferential cytotoxicity in cells with a high proliferation index such as lymphoid malignancies.
Authored: Vail DM, Thamm DH, Reiser H, Ray AS, Wolfgang GH, Watkins WJ, Robat C, et al
Published: Clin Cancer Res 2009;15(10):3503-10

Primary Pulmonary Histiocytic Sarcoma in Dogs: A Retrospective Analysis of 37 Cases (2000-2015)

Objective: Primary pulmonary histiocytic sarcoma (PHS) has been reported, but is not well characterized. The aim of this retrospective study was to describe clinical characteristics, characterize prognostic factors and report the outcome of a larger group of dogs with primary PHS. 
Authored: Marlowe KW, Robat CS, Clarke DM, Taylor A, Touret M, Husbands BD, Vail DM
Published: Vet Comp Oncol 2018 Dec; 16(4): 658-663

Post-Surgical Outcome and Prognostic Factors in Canine Malignant Melanomas of the Haired Skin: 87 Cases (2003-2015)
Abstract: The medical records of 87 dogs treated with surgery for cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) of the haired skin were retrospectively reviewed for overall survival time (OST), progression-free survival time (PFS), and prognostic factors. The post-surgery median PFS and median OST were 1282 days and 1363 days, respectively. The post-surgery metastatic rate was 21.8% with a local recurrence rate of 8%. Increasing mitotic index (MI) was predictive of a significantly decreased OST and PFS on multivariable analysis [hazard ratio (HR): 1.05, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02 to 1.07 and HR: 1.04, 95% CI: 1.02 to 1.06, respectively]. Increasing age was likewise predictive of a significantly decreased OST and PFS on multivariable analysis (HR: 1.39, 95% CI: 1.17 to 1.65 and HR: 1.33, 95% CI: 1.14 to 1.54, respectively). These results confirm clinical impressions that long survival times are likely in dogs diagnosed with malignant melanoma of the haired skin when treated with surgery alone.
Authored: Laver T, Feldhaeusser BR, Robat CS, Baez JL, Cronin KL, Buracco P, Annoni M, Regan RC, McMillan SK, Curran KM, Selmic LE, Shiu KB, Clark K, Fagan E, Thamm DH
Published: Canadian Veterinary Journal 2018
Primary Appendicular Hemangiosarcoma and Telangiectatic Osteosarcoma in 70 Dogs: A Veterinary Society of Surgical Oncology Retrospective Study

Objective: To define and compare clinical characteristics of canine primary appendicular hemangiosarcoma (HSA) and telangiectatic osteosarcoma (tOSA), including signalment, presentation, response to treatment, and prognosis.
Authored: Giuffrida MA, Kamstock DA, Selmic LE, Pass W, Szivek A, Mison MB, Boston SE, Fox LE, Robat C, Grimes JA, Maritato KC, Bacon NJ
Published: Vet Surg. 2018 Aug; 47(6):774-783

Potency and Stability of Compounded Cyclophosphamide: A Pilot Study

Abstract: Compounding of drugs for use in veterinary oncology is becoming increasingly common. We obtained 15 mg cyclophosphamide capsules from five different compounding pharmacies and performed potency analyses at two time points, as well as stability at 60 days. Potency results for four out of five and zero out of five (4/10) samples analysed were inadequate. Stability at 60 days was acceptable for all but one sample. This pilot study raises several important points of concern when compounding chemotherapy in dogs and cats. Further studies are necessary to solidify this data. Collaboration between pharmacists, veterinarians and regulatory bodies is needed to ensure safe and accurate delivery of compounded drugs to client-owned animals.
Authored: Robat C, Budde J
Published: Vet Comp Oncol. 2017 Se; 15(3):706-709

The Use, Publication and Future Directions of Immunocytochemistry in Veterinary Medicine: A Consensus of the Oncology-Pathology Working Group

Abstract: One of the primary objectives of the Oncology Pathology Working Group (OPWG), a joint initiative of the Veterinary Cancer Society and the American College of Veterinary Pathologists, is for oncologists and pathologists to collaboratively generate consensus documents to standardize aspects of and provide guidelines for oncologic pathology. Consensus is established through review of relevant peer-reviewed literature relative to a subgroup's particular focus. In this document, the authors provide descriptions of the literature reviewed, the review process, and a summary of the information gathered on immunocytochemistry. The intent of this publication is to help educate practitioners and pathologists on the process of immunocytochemistry and to provide a guide for the use of this technique in veterinary medicine. This document represents the opinions of the working group and the authors and does not constitute a formal endorsement by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists or the Veterinary Cancer Society.
Authored: Priest HL, Hume KR, Killick D, Kozicki A, Rizzo VL, Seelig D, Snyder LA, Springer NL, Wright ZM, Robat C
Published: Vet Comp Oncol. 2017 Sep; 15(3):868-880

Canine Cutaneous Plasmacytosis: 21 Cases (2005–2015)

Objective: To describe clinical presentation, determine treatment response rates and duration, and report overall survival of dogs with CP.
Authored: Boostrom BO, Moore AS, DeRegis CJ, Robat C, Freeman K, Thamm DH
Published:  J Vet Intern Med. 2017 Jul 31(4):1074-1080

Avian Oncology: Diseases, Diagnostics, and Therapeutics

Abstract: Companion birds are increasingly living longer due to improved husbandry, nutrition, and veterinary care. As a consequence, a growing number of geriatric disease conditions are diagnosed and managed by veterinarians. Awareness of bird owners of diagnostic and treatment options for neoplastic diseases in humans and domestic animals has led to increasing demand to provide advanced diagnostic and treatment modalities for companion birds diagnosed with neoplasia. Treatment remains challenging in many companion birds due to the lack of information regarding prognosis and efficacy of antineoplastic treatments in these species. There is no established standard of care for most tumors in companion birds.
Authored: Robat CS, Ammersbach M, Mans C
Published: Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract.2017 Jan 20(1):57-86

What Is Your Diagnosis? Pulmonary Mass in a Dog

Authored: Young NL, Houseright RA, Robat CS
Published: Vet Clin Pathol 2016 Dec 45(4):717-718

See our departments


Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs and cats. Advances in our understanding of cancer biology have helped pets live longer, with an excellent, dignified quality of life. Our goal is to give you all the information you need to make the right decision for you and your pet. We may offer additional diagnostics such as aspirates, biopsies or staging to refine a treatment plan that may include chemotherapy, surgery or radiotherapy; all with the goal if improving your pet's quality of life. At Veterinary Specialty Center, you'll have the peace of mind knowing you will see the same board certified oncologist at every visit.

We perform advanced diagnostic procedures; including ultrasound and biopsy procedures; or interpret tests already performed by your veterinarian to identify the type, location, and behavior of a tumor. After collecting this information and consulting with your veterinarian, our cancer specialist will describe the behavior and stage of the cancer, as well as the likely outcomes and treatment options to the pet owner. These options are tailored to the animal's particular cancer, prognosis and lifestyle and will be consistent with the owner's goals for the pet. Cancer treatments that may be recommended can include medical treatments (vaccines, chemotherapy, anti-vascular drugs), surgery and/or radiotherapy.

Some types of cancer are very responsive to chemotherapy. The approach for using chemotherapy in dogs and cats is very different from that in humans; our lower doses of chemotherapy often result in quick improvement in quality of life during treatment, rather than the approach in human oncology of using much larger doses of chemotherapy resulting in severe side effects but higher cure rates. Many chemotherapy protocols can often be covered by pet insurance.

Why See An Oncologist?

When owners are faced with cancer in their pets, veterinarians will recommend or offer a consultation with a veterinary oncologist. An Assessment of the pet's history and physical examination is then done by an oncologist and will sometimes recommend a staging and treatment regimen. This regimen can be performed locally with their own veterinarian or at a specialist center depending on the pet’s treatment plan.

VCA Veterinary Emergency Service & Veterinary Specialty Center

4902 East Broadway

Madison, WI 53716

Main: 608-222-2455

Fax: 608-467-6014

Hospital Hours:

    Mon-Sun: Open 24 hours

Specialty Services Hours:

Mon-Fri: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

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