Our board certified oncology specialists provide the latest and highest quality of care, treatment, and support for pets who have been diagnosed with cancer. Our oncology specialists are members of the Veterinary Cancer Society and the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, which ensures that we are able to use the most recent treatments and diagnostics available, and also provides opportunities for patients to participate in ongoing clinical trials.
We use a team approach to optimize and personalize your pet’s treatment. Our oncology service nursing staff is experienced and well qualified to administer treatments and provide compassionate care to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort. The radiology, internal medicine, surgery, and clinical pathology services also work together to play integral roles in our patients’ care.
Services We Perform
Comfort Care Options
At CARES, we are concerned about the “whole pet” and not just about your pet’s cancer. Your pet’s wellbeing is our biggest priority. We provide best recommendations for therapies that can relieve pain or distress, improve appetite, and optimize quality of life. We will discuss exercise, nutrition, daily care, and the prevention of adverse effects associated with either the cancer or with treatment. We also help with decision making associated with end of life care.
Surgery can cure more cancer patients than any other form of treatment. However, not every case is a candidate for surgery. Some tumors are too invasive or have spread to distant sites.
For surgery to be effective, it must be well planned and appropriately performed. At CARES, we have an onsite clinical pathologist, inhouse IDEXX reference lab, fast CT scan, MRI, ultrasound and radiology suite available for our patients. These diagnostic services make surgical planning both quick and thorough. Our surgeons are experienced with oncological cases, and we have a boardcertified anesthesiologist to monitor our patients during surgery and boardcertified criticalists to monitor your pet’s postoperative care.
Chemotherapy is the treatment of cancer with drugs, and while most people associate chemotherapy treatment with illness and suffering, in veterinary medicine we alter dosing and focus first on a patient’s quality of life both during and after treatment. Chemotherapy is not recommended for all tumor types, but for many cancers, it is the main option. With these patients, we work hard to make sure there are minimal side effects. We do this by providing medications to prevent or treat potential adverse effects. We also reduce risks by tweaking doses, changing protocols, offering additional immunotherapeutic treatments, and using novel “low dose” treatment strategies. Treatment plans are always tailored to the individual patient and designed to optimize your pet’s quality of life and comfort.
Clinical Trials and Novel Treatment Approaches
At CARES, we are involved in clinical trials to test promising new treatments for our patients. These clinical trials have included evaluation of the novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor drugs, Palladia, a new chemotherapy agent, novel immune therapies, and “quality of life” treatments. We are here to help you and your veterinarian understand the risks and benefits of clinical trials and novel treatment options. We actively participate in research and are members of a variety of trial organizations, including the Veterinary Cancer Society (VCS), American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), Veterinary Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (VECOG), and the Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center (VCIC) at the University of Pennsylvania. Our involvement with research and our collaborations in the oncology community allows us to provide personalized, state-of-the-art cancer treatment for your pet.
Radiation is one of three traditional treatments for cancer. Radiation treatment uses high energy waves to kill cancer cells. It is sometimes used as the sole treatment, but more often, it is used in addition to other treatments. For example, it may be recommended after surgery if a tumor cannot be completely removed, or it can be used as an additional form of pain control for certain tumor types. At CARES, we work hand -in-hand with a board certified radiation oncologist to provide the best and most uptodate treatment recommendations for your pet. Though CARES does not offer radiation on site, we are fortunate to have both traditional and CyberKnife® treatment options regionally available for our patients if needed.
Targeted therapy is an exciting approach to cancer treatment that is becoming more available in veterinary medicine. More of these treatments will become available as we learn more about what makes cancer cells different than other cells and as we discover what allows them to proliferate and grow. These treatments are often orally administered and are designed to “target” molecular differences between normal and cancer cells to stop or slow cancer cell growth. These treatments, while still considered chemotherapy, often have fewer side effects than traditional treatments. However, they are not completely free of side effects and still should be given under the guidance of a boardcertified veterinary oncologist.
While many cancer patients can go on to live long, active lives even after diagnosis, we are always vigilant to provide monitoring recommendations in conjunction with your veterinarian so that we can try to catch any possible recurrence of disease early when it is in a treatable state.
CARES Cancer Support and Awareness
Making your pet’s life as good as it can be is our primary concern. We’re also pet owners, and your pet becomes part of our family. We treat and make recommendations for you and your pet with the utmost consideration, compassion, and care. We also recommend support from Day By Day Pet Caregiver Support. Their counseling team provides a safe, secure, nonjudgmental environment where you can share your feelings and struggles regarding your pet caregiving experience.
In addition to their work at CARES, our oncologists lecture at conferences, participate in research, and are active members and collaborators with a variety of organizations, including the Veterinary Cancer Society, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Veterinary Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group, and the Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center at the University of Pennsylvania. We also support and donate to a variety of organizations dedicated to finding better treatments and improving the lives of veterinary cancer patients everywhere.