Oncology

Cancer in pets can occur in many different forms just as it can with humans. Although humans and animals are biologically similar there is a difference in the goals of the treatment of cancer.    For pets, while remission is often sought, the overriding goal of treatment is to preserve quality of life at the highest possible level.

We will work with you and your primary care veterinarian to develop a treatment plan that is best for your pet and the type of cancer involved. A treatment plan will depend on the specific diagnosis, grade, and stage of the cancer.  To determine this, we will discuss performing tests that may include cytology, biopsy, radiographs, ultrasound, CT or MRI scans to determine the aggressiveness of the tumor which we call the "grade" and the extent of the tumor in the body which we refer to as the "stage".

Surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are our main weapons in the fight against cancer in pets. At VSH we provide all three.

Our medical and radiation oncologists work closely with our surgeons and other specialists to provide the best treatment recommendations for your pet, which may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of the three.

Surgery and chemotherapy can be provided at each of our three locations.  Radiation therapy is available at our Cary hospital.

The most common cancers we see are lymphoma, mast cell tumors, soft tissue sarcomas and osteosarcomas.

What is a board-certified oncologist?

An oncology specialist has undergone additional training after veterinary school including an internship and residency in oncology. This additional training takes between 3 and 5 years to complete.  The specialist must also pass rigorous examinations to achieve board certification from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).

Meet our oncologists:

Dr. Rebecca George

Dr. Karri Miller

Dr. David Ruslander

Dr. Jerry Waddle

Dr. Laurel Williams

What to expect at your first visit:

When you arrive, you will be asked to fill out a new patient form if you have not already submitted one through our website.

A veterinary technician will then escort you and your pet to an examination room. The veterinary technician will review the reason for your visit and your primary concerns.

One of our board certified specialists will review your pet's history with you, look over any prior medical records including laboratory work and radiographs and perform a complete physical examination. During the consultation we will discuss all aspects of your pet's medical condition, address your concerns and work with you to determine the right course of treatment based on our initial assessment and conversations with your primary care veterinarian. We want to provide the best treatment possible for your pet and respect your wishes and goals.

Expect this initial consultation to take 30-60 minutes, although you may be asked to leave your pet for the duration of the day so that additional tests may be performed if needed.  Follow-up visits may also be scheduled for a later date.  This process is aimed at providing you with the most accurate information about your pet's medical condition, diagnostic and treatment options and anticipated prognosis as well as potential costs of diagnostics and treatment.