1. 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.

  2. How to Strengthen Your Creative Skills – Simon Sinek

    Very interesting video on how to be more creative and some very interesting thoughts on building upon your strengths.

  3. Top 5 things you should now about radiation therapy for your pet

    Finding out that your pet has cancer can often be a traumatic experience.  Most people have questions such as, “What can be done for my pets tumor?” or “Will treating my pets cancer cause a lot of pain and discomfort?”  In order to get the best possible treatment for your pet and for you, it is important to get as much good information as possible.  When it comes to radiation therapy for pets, many pet owners do not even know that radiation therapy is available.  In honor of May being Pet Cancer Awareness Month and in an effort to provide pet owners with as much information as possible we came up with these five important things that you should know about radiation therapy for your pet.

    1. Radiation is available for your pet, if their tumor is one that may respond.  In a recent survey (Farrelly, McEntee in press) we identified 66 facilities in the United States that have radiation therapy equipment to treat animals.  The VCC is happy to be the first facility to offer radiation in Connecticut using a state of the art linear accelerator, allowing us to provide the best possible treatment options for pets with cancer.
    2. Radiation can be used to control pain in some pets.  When your pet has a tumor involving bone or any tumor that is inflamed, radiation may be very effective in reducing the pain, sometimes within days.
    3. Radiation does require anesthesia, but it is generally very safe.  Most radiation treatments for pets require that the animal only be under anesthesia for less than 5 to 10 minutes.  Also, the radiation itself does not hurt.  If your animal is treated with radiation they cannot feel it, just like an x-ray used to check for broken bones.  This means we can use very short acting anesthesia, which is safe for almost all pets.
    4. Some tumors can be cured with radiation.  Many of the tumors that we treat with radiation therapy can be controlled with combinations of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  However, some tumors can also be controlled with radiation alone.  Nasal tumors, brain tumors and some oral tumors can be treated with radiation alone, often controlling the animal’s tumor for a year or more.
    5. Side effects from radiation are usually well tolerated.  When dogs (and some cats) are treated with radiation, they can develop significant side effects in the area that is treated.  These can include redness irritation and pain of the skin, the eyes the mouth among other areas.  Many pet owners have concerns about whether to put their pet through treatment because of this.  However, these side effects can be managed with medications.  With the current pain medications now available for animals most pets get through treatment with a good over all quality of life.  Also, these effects go away about one to two weeks after treatment.


    Dr. John Farrelly – 4/25/2013