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Department Information – Oncology


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What is Cancer?

Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells on or within the body. They are either localized to one part of the body as a visible mass (tumor) or spread throughout (metastasis). Cancer is common in pet animals like dogs and cats and its prevalence increases with age. Dogs get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans, while cats tend to get fewer cancers. Cancer is the number one disease-related cause of death in dogs and cats. Because the cause of cancer is not known, prevention is difficult. The exception, mammary cancer, also known as breast cancer, is largely preventable with early spaying.

Medical Oncology

Medical oncology involves the diagnosis and, more specifically, the management of the treatment of cancer.

A medical oncologist has knowledge of all aspects regarding the treatment of cancer, including biological therapy, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. It is the medical oncologist who determines the proper choice, dosage, and schedule of cancer treatment drugs to be given. Medical oncologists frequently combine chemotherapy with consultations from radiation therapists and veterinary surgeons to give each patient the best possible outcome.

The medical oncologist is usually the manager of care received by a cancer patient. Expertise in pain management, treatment of chemotherapy side effects, psychological care, and social needs all are considered by the medical oncologist. Although medical oncologist may have a special interest in a certain type of cancer or cancer therapies, he/she is also equipped with the skills to work with all forms of the disease and the therapies associated within.

Radiation Oncology

The GCVS Oncology was the first veterinary radiation oncology practice in the Gulf Coast region. This practice is one of the few veterinary radiation oncology facilities in the United States with a Halcyon linear accelerator for radiation therapy which allows for local, precise radiation therapy delivery to a tumor.

  • Image guidance through on board computed tomography scanner to precisely deliver radiation to the tumor within 1mm accuracy, avoiding normal tissue
  • Reduced anesthesia time with rapid radiation delivery
  • Ability to address bulky tumors, microscopic disease, to reduce tumors and even cure some types of cancer
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy/stereotactic radiosurgery (SBRT/SRS): A non-surgical approach for treatment of select cancer performed in as few as 1-5 treatments

In conjunction with advanced imaging (computed tomography scan), we are able to maximize our radiation dose to the tumor and minimize the radiation to normal surrounding tissues. In keeping with this commitment to provide quality cancer therapy, we also utilize a radiation physicist and a cutting-edge computer-based therapy planning software.