Approach to Care

We believe every patient deserves a comprehensive approach to fighting their disease and this means a broad spectrum evaluation of all potential treatment options. This is the surest way to give each family hope that their pet can enjoy an extended quality of life beyond diagnosis. No pet or family is the same, therefore, we tailor and personalize care to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

We Explore All Options

In an oncology consultation, after a thorough examination of your pet and a review of all diagnostic tests, we develop a customized care plan.

While chemotherapy is the treatment option most commonly utilized, we often recommend a combination of therapies. The extent and duration of therapeutic treatment is dependent on many factors, including the type of the cancer, stage of the disease, available therapies, and how our patients respond to treatment.

Of special interest to our pet parents, animals experience chemotherapy quite differently than humans—with minimal side effects, rare hair loss, and most importantly, no psychological effects from expectations of illness or treatment.

Our treatment plans may include one or more of the following options.

Advanced Diagnostics

Molecular and Immunologic Diagnostic Testing, Advanced Imaging

With advances in our understanding of cancer and our diagnostic abilities, knowing the type of cancer is often not enough. In order to better tailor therapy and to improve prognostic accuracy, we may recommend advanced diagnostic testing. Examples of this include:

  • Testing for genetic changes that predict the most effective therapy
  • Testing for specific mutations that drive the cancer
  • Testing to determine a cancer subtype (IHC, Flow cytometry)
  • Prognostic or proliferation panels on biopsy samples
  • Advanced diagnostic imaging including Magnetic Resonance (MR), Computed Tomography (CT), and Ultrasound imaging
Chemotherapy

From Adriamycin to Zofran

The mere word ‘chemotherapy’ can be very frightening, as most of us have known someone who has undergone this form of treatment for cancer and witnessed the resulting side effects. When considering cancer treatment for your pet, it is important to understand the differences between chemotherapy for humans and for our animal patients. Quality of life for our pet patients is always the number one priority. Therefore, we prescribe and treat animals differently. Our goal is to extend their quality of life and keep them in their loving homes for as long as possible.

Chemotherapy drugs are compounds that are toxic to cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given intravenously, by injection, or by mouth (as pills). Cancer cells generally multiply very rapidly. Most chemotherapy drugs work by damaging the ability of these rapidly growing cells to divide, eventually killing them.

Chemotherapy is typically administered through a standardized protocol. A chemotherapy protocol describes in detail the aim, modalities, complications, and the expected results of the medical treatment which is going to be prescribed. It is used as a reference throughout the treatment course. The protocol describes the drugs, dosages, duration of treatment, and any side effects of preventative drugs to be prescribed. It then outlines the intervals for treatment, number of cycles, and conditions to verify prior to commencing the next administration cycle.

List of Chemotherapy Terms

Adriamycin, also known as Doxorubicin, is commonly used in the treatment of a wide range of cancers, including hematological malignancies, many types of carcinoma, and soft tissue sarcomas.

Zofran, also known as Ondansetron, is used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.

Radiation Therapy

Conventional definitive and palliative radiation therapy are available in both our Leesburg and Springfield, VA location.

Stereotactic Radiation Therapy

We are excited to provide Stereotactic Radiation Therapy (SRT) at our new Comprehensive Veterinary Cancer Center in Leesburg, VA. SRT is typically completed in 1-5 treatments within a single week, instead of the standard 15-18 treatments given over 3 weeks needed with conventional radiation therapy.

SRT is most effective for the treatment of tumors that are difficult to reach with surgery alone. This level of precision requires specialized equipment for treatment and image guidance as well as highly accurate patient positioning and immobilization devices available.

Benefits of stereotactic radiation include:

  • Non-invasive painless procedure
  • Fewer treatments, shorter treatment time
  • Greater treatment accuracy
  • Improved sparing of normal tissues (fewer side effects)
  • Improved outcomes for certain tumor types

Board-certified in Veterinary Radiation Oncology, Dr. Ira Gordon looks forward to working with you and providing you the best in veterinary radiation therapy.

ClinicalTrials

The Forefront of Veterinary Cancer Research

The Oncology Service has a special relationship with Animal Clinical Investigation and always have several clinical trials running at any given time. A clinical trial may offer a treatment option that can potentially be cutting edge and utilizing the newest medical research available. Clinical trials are included as options as part of a comprehensive cancer care program and can be assessed before, during, or after conventional care, depending on the requirements of the trial.

View Current Clinical Trials

Nutrition Support

Integrated Nutritional Care for Cancer Patients

Recognizing the importance of nutrition in the integrated management of complex medical problems, The Oncology Service has partnered with Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine to provide nutritional consults for our patients.

Supportive Care from the Inside

One way to maintain a good quality of life for pets undergoing cancer treatment is to provide a variety of supportive care options. A customized nutrition plan can be used to support concurrent medical problems and compliment the recommended cancer treatments.

With the help of our staff, Cornell will develop individualized nutrition care plans for patients with a range of nutritional needs, from those with reduced appetites to others with more serious medical problems associated with cancer or other medical conditions.

We offer several nutrition consultation options through our Leesburg, VA, facility, and home-cooked meal preparation programs/menus. All nutritional plans developed by Cornell are reviewed and approved by our team of cancer specialists.

Supportive Care

Compassionately Improving Quality of Life

Prioritizing the quality of life of our patients is central to our practice of oncology. This involves treating or preventing the potential complications of a tumor or therapy. Even when anti-cancer therapies are not the treatment of choice, there are often many steps that can be taken to minimize discomfort, pain, or other symptoms. Our team of oncologists can work with you and your pet’s primary veterinarian to make sure that your pet is receiving the best supportive care. We are experienced in end-of-life palliative care and can assist and support you in challenging times.

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