Blog

  1. Helping You Make an Informed Decision

    One of the most important things to know about chemotherapy and radiation therapy in dogs and cats is that it is NOT the same as in people; 90% of the pets we treat handle therapy incredibly well with little to no toxicity. In addition, most pets are treated as outpatients with visits typically lasting 30-60 minutes, so the time spent away from you is minimized as much as possible. It’s also important to remember despite what you are going through; there is always a tremendous amount of HOPE! So much has changed in the last 5 years and there has been a rapid and significant progress in cancer diagnostics and therapies. Because of this we wanted to ensure that you have the most current information in regards to the treatment options, including clinical trials, available for your pet’s cancer. We understand that hearing the word “cancer” stirs up many emotions (fear, anxiety, and depression) and we want to address those feelings by providing important information that will allow you to make the decision that is right for you, as well as for your pet.

    Toxicity – Chemotherapy and radiation therapy in dogs and cats are very different from these treatments in people. Veterinary oncologists and pet owners have made the conscious choice NOT to put our pets through what people go through. We have designed protocols to maximize BOTH quality and quantity of life. In addition, there are wonderful new ways to prevent side effects of therapy from ever occurring in the first place. When side effects are anticipated, we make sure the right medications are used to alleviate discomfort.

    Efficacy – Cancer is NOT a death sentence. Cancer is much more treatable now than ever before as we have far more options. New therapies have been developed for the most common types of cancers that have increased life expectancy by over 100% in some cases. With combination therapy, many animals are living with cancer for years and have a wonderful quality of life.

    Cost – Cancer therapy does not have to be expensive–in terms of finances or time. With the advent of oral chemotherapies, metronomic chemotherapies and clinical trials, the cost of treatment is less likely to be a factor for most people. Metronomic chemotherapy is the use of very low dose oral chemotherapy and other medications given daily. This combination of drugs causes almost no side effects and works to slow down the growth of almost all cancers. Again, remember that over 95% of our patients are treated as outpatients and your clinic visits typically last less than an hour (http://www.vcchope.com/petowners/costofcare).

    The Median is NOT the Message – Despite what you may read on the internet or in many scientific papers, the outcome of an individual pet is not known. Statistics are wonderful for comparing groups – either people or animals. However, they have far less meaning to the individual patient. Every pet, just like every person, is an individual, and may respond far better than the average. We will never treat your pet as a statistic and always strive for the best outcome. Helping You Make an Informed Decision Quality of life is extremely important to us. We strive to maximize both quality and quantity of life for your pet.

  2. Research of Anti-Tumor Drug May Lead to First Feline Cancer Treatment

    Chemotherapy, targeted chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and surgery—these have been the standards for the last 5 years. There soon may be an additional type-Vitamin B12 based therapy.

    Researchers at the Bauer Research Foundation (BRF) have designed a vitamin B12-based anti- cancer drug, nitrosylcobalamin (NO- Cbl), and they are evaluating whether it can be used to treat a variety of tumors in both cats and dogs. Vitamin B12 is necessary for all cells to grow and tumor cells have more vitamin B12 receptors than normal cells.

    The researchers at BRF are exploiting this difference and essentially have fashioned a safe “smart bomb” –NO (nitric acid) attached to vitamin B12 (cobalamin) –so that tumor cells are preferentially targeted by this therapy. The doctors and staff at The Veterinary Cancer Center participated in some of the very early trials and we are very excited about this new therapy coming to the market. “No-cbl is a potential game changer in the field of veterinary oncology. This therapy would be an entirely new class of compounds that veterinary oncologists could use to help treat many different types of cancers in both cats and dogs.”

     

  3. National Cancer Survivor’s Day

    June is the time of year we celebrate National Cancer Survivor’s Day

    We have all been touched by cancer–whether it be personally, through a family member or pet. June is the time of year that we celebrate the tremendous advances we have and continue to make in cancer therapy. June is the time we celebrate those individuals, people and pets, that are cancer survivors.

    I am reminded of one of our patients, a wonderful dog that just celebrated 18 months of being cancer free. This alone is reason enough for celebration, but her owner is also a cancer survivor–almost 18 years cancer free.

    These two individuals epitomize what veterinary and medical oncologists are all working for–the end of cancer. But until we achieve that goal, we need to celebrate every day that both people and pets who have cancer live and thrive; every day that they enjoy their precious lives.

    These days we are often overwhelmed with bad news on TV, in the newspapers; bad news seems to follow us every where. The sobering statistic that cancer is still the number one health threat to pets is ever-present. For this month, try and celebrate those courageous pets and people that are cancer survivors. Remember, more and more pets are not only being treated for their cancer, but are surviving for longer and longer periods of time.

    Having only a day designated as National Cancer Survivor’s Day does not seem to be enough–we really should celebrate every day that every cancer survivor lives to beat this horrible disease.

    Please remember that Animal Cancer Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for cancer (in both pets and people) by funding research in and increasing public awareness of comparative oncology, the study of naturally occurring cancer in humans and in companion animals.

    The best advice I can give you, and likely the most important piece of advice any veterinarian will ever give you is to enjoy your pet. Enjoy and love them EVERY day. For those pets in our lives that are affected with cancer, every day is Pet Cancer Survivor’s Day.