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Veterinary Oncology

Oncology is the study of cancer. As with humans, cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases in companion animals. Receiving a diagnosis of cancer for your beloved pet can be frightening – fortunately, due to recent progress in the field of veterinary oncology, a cancer diagnosis doesn’t mean that there are no options.

Instead, cancer is currently viewed as a chronic disease that can be managed - much like how heart or kidney disease is managed - thanks to advances in the development of more effective treatments and decreased side effects for your pet.

 

If your pet has been diagnosed with cancer, your primary care veterinarian may refer you to see Pieper Veterinary's oncology department. Veterinarians who focus on oncology have graduated rigorous training programs and are experts in the study and treatment of cancer. Your veterinarian will focus on the treatment of your pet’s cancer and work together with your primary care veterinarian and other specialists for the complete management of all your pet’s conditions.

Common signs of cancer:

  • Lumps on the body
  • Limping
  • Behavior change or lethargy
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Increased thirst and urination

Cancer treatment approaches:

Traditional chemotherapy

Using drugs to kill cancer cells. Side effects from chemotherapy result when normal body cells that are rapidly dividing are also killed; this can be thought of as “collateral damage.”

Immunotherapy

Enhancing the body’s innate ability to fight cancer. A good example of the immunotherapy approach is the melanoma vaccination.

Biologic response modifiers

Modifying the behavior of cancer cells to slow or stop their growth. Several recently are “targeted” to have maximal effects on cancer cells, while sparing the normal body cells.

Metronomic chemotherapy

Also called low-dose continuous chemotherapy, the goal of this approach is to prevent angiogenesis, which is the growth of new blood vessels necessary to feed the tumor. Without an adequate blood supply, tumor growth slows or ceases.

Surgery

In many cases, surgery is an essential part of cancer management. We have experienced surgeons on-site that work to manage your pet’s cancer.

Your pet’s life after cancer therapy

Most patients continue to participate in all the same activities they did before the diagnosis and can lead their normal lifestyle. Veterinary cancer treatment protocols are designed to improve the quantity AND quality of life. Some pets do experience side effects during chemotherapy, but these are generally mild for most patients and can be managed at home. Unlike humans, less than 5% of chemotherapy patients need to be hospitalized because of severe chemotherapy side effects. Fatalities from complications are rare. If a protocol is not well tolerated by your pet, we will discuss adjusting or changing the protocol to ensure your pet's continued well-being. Our goal is to make the chemotherapy visits to Pieper Veterinary as pleasant and positive an experience as possible.

Oncology FAQs

Working with your primary care veterinarian

Your general practice veterinarian is an important part of your pet’s health and we work as an extension of their services when advanced or after-hours treatment is necessary. We will notify your veterinarian that your pet visited our oncology service, and provide them with treatment and follow-up information to continue your pet’s care once you leave our hospital.

What our clients say

"Dr. DeRegis and the techs were excellent, and I'm very fussy about my animals' care. Dr. DeRegis clearly knows what she's doing and was wonderful with Sophie. I feel very comfortable with her caring for Sophie, who has leukemia."

Hilary C.

"I absolute love the Oncology Team, Dr DeRegis is amazing and Kat goes above and beyond and demonstrates so much care with me and my pup. We just LOVE Kat!! All positive experiences with Oncology and Front Desk staff, always welcoming and supportive. "

Jennifer V.

“Dr. DeRegis was superb, explained everything and answered all my questions, and got us on a treatment plan right away. Our visit was as pleasant and stress-free (for both my dog AND me) as could be. All the staff I met were great. My thanks to all!!”

Leo R.

"I cannot understate the trust and confidence I have in Dr. DeRegis and her competent and compassionate staff including Amazing Trish, Caring Katt and Jessica who has been a friend and special all round human being. The care that my boy, Eddie has been given is unprecedented."

Nancy M.

“The staff for chemotherapy is absolutely amazing… they give [my dog] so much love and attention on her chemo days that she is excited to walk into the office. Dr. DeRegis and her staff are so patient with me and all my questions and supportive during this emotional time.”

Rebecca B.

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