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Oncology FAQ

If received in advance, the oncologist will have already reviewed the information provided by your family veterinarian. During your appointment, a complete physical will be performed to assess your pet’s condition. Further testing or treatment will be recommended based on the doctor’s assessment of your pet’s exam and history. A detailed estimate of the potential treatment plan will be reviewed with you and your consent received prior to beginning any diagnostics or treatments.

We ask that you do not feed your pet the day of his/her appointment in case an additional test or procedure is recommended.  Please remove all food by 10:00 pm the night and all water by 6:00 am the day of your scheduled appointment. All medications should be continued as instructed unless you are told otherwise. For patients with special needs (i.e., diabetic), please contact your doctor prior to your appointment for specific instructions.

Staging is the interpretation of several diagnostic tests to determine whether and where a cancer has spread in the body. Staging may include sampling lymph nodes, chest radiographs, abdominal radiographs, abdominal ultrasound, CT scan, MRI scan, blood work, special stains, or bone marrow aspiration. Staging is important in determining the prognosis of a cancer and what treatment options are recommended.

Tumors are graded on a scale of low, intermediate, and high. These grades correlate to how fast growing and aggressive a malignant cancer is behaving. Low-grade cancers are more slow growing and have a lower risk for spread than high-grade cancers. This is important in determining prognosis and developing a treatment plan.

The conventional treatments for cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Novel treatments are being developed all the time to help treat cancer.

Each pet can experience different side effects and some may not experience any at all. However, some effects could include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and decreased appetite. Most of these side effects usually only last for a couple of days and the pet recovers well. Many medications are available that we prescribe to help manage these side effects.

Some pets will lose hair or experience thinning of the hair. It usually depends on the type of chemotherapy and the breed of the dog.