I do it for the 5 percent. What about you?

I’m reaching the end of my hour-long initial consultation with Princess’ owners and for the most part, I feel as though everything is going well.   I’ve discussed her diagnosis of lymphoma, went through the recommended staging tests, and outlined multiple treatment options for her disease. Her owners seem engaged, and asked insightful questions along the … Continue reading I do it for the 5 percent. What about you?

What is my pet’s cancer stage? What does that even mean anyway?

Veterinary oncology is raft with confusing terminology. We toss around intricate multi-syllable words such as metronomic chemotherapy, radiosensitizer, and remission with little regard for their complexity of definition. I constantly need to remind myself to remember to simplify the language and take the time to explain the details thoroughly.   As an example, owners will … Continue reading What is my pet’s cancer stage? What does that even mean anyway?

“Doctor, what would you do if this were your pet?”

One of the most difficult questions I am asked by owners is “What would you do if this were your own pet?” Though intellectually I understand why my answer would be perceived as meaningful, I find it challenging to respond and feel as though I’m speaking truthfully because the time it would take to answer … Continue reading “Doctor, what would you do if this were your pet?”

Winners never quit. Or do they?

  A discussion circulated on our veterinary oncology list serve last week about potential further treatment options for a pet with obvious end-stage cancer. The patient previously failed numerous standard of care chemotherapy protocols, as well as a few I would consider “not so standard of care”.   The oncologist posting on the list serve … Continue reading Winners never quit. Or do they?

When compassion leads to fatigue…

There is a quote from a prominent veterinary oncology text taped above the computer monitor in my office stating: “True oncological emergencies are rare. Emergencies of emotion, however, are quite common.” I realize this expression may not resonate well with an owner of a pet with cancer, and could even be misconstrued in an offensive … Continue reading When compassion leads to fatigue…

When the doctor becomes the client: My experiences as the owner of a sick pet…

I recently attended a continuing education event on feline cardiac disease. The presenters were two cardiologists who work in the same building where I practice.   During the lecture, we were introduced to a “cageside” test called the Cardiopet feline pro-BNP assay. This is a blood test designed to screen cats for occult heart disease. … Continue reading When the doctor becomes the client: My experiences as the owner of a sick pet…

Can you REALLY boost your immune system? Why this might not be such a great idea anyway…

Owners often ask me what can be done to help “strengthen” their pet’s immune system following a diagnosis of cancer. Whether it’s a result of clever Internet advertising, heeding the advice of friends or family members, or any number of personal motivations, I find this often posed question both challenging and humbling.   In veterinary … Continue reading Can you REALLY boost your immune system? Why this might not be such a great idea anyway…

But first, do no harm…

Primum non nocere is a Latin phrase that translates to "first do no harm." This is the fundamental belief ingrained into doctors that, no matter the situation, our primary responsibility is to the patient.   The origin of the saying is uncertain. Examining the Hippocratic oath, the words uttered by physicians as they are sworn … Continue reading But first, do no harm…