For Sepsie

While I love all animals, I’m known for being partial to cats. This wasn’t always the case – in fact, prior to having a cat, I really never understood their appeal. I questioned the redeeming value of owning something so aloof and independent. Dogs, with their unconditional love and constant want to please, were my … Continue reading For Sepsie

What to avoid when your pet is diagnosed with cancer

Learning that your pet has cancer is devastating. Deciding on which, if any, treatment path to take is confusing and it is normal to feel anxious as you are making decisions for your pet. Owners frequently struggle with feeling a lack of control and search for options to enhance their pet’s prognosis during their treatment … Continue reading What to avoid when your pet is diagnosed with cancer

I’m here to make cancer less scary…

A few weeks ago I was asked to be formally interviewed as a means to introduce me to the surrounding community. NC State takes an active role in promoting recently hired faculty and as the new kid on the block, it made sense it would be my turn to spend some time describing myself and my … Continue reading I’m here to make cancer less scary…

Why is my veterinarian NOT recommending chemotherapy?

The results of a study titled “Survey of UK-based veterinary surgeons’ opinions on the use of surgery and chemotherapy in the treatment of canine high-grade mast cell tumour, splenic haemangiosarcoma and appendicular osteosarcoma” were recently published. The study examined what percent of general veterinarians recommended chemotherapy for the three specific tumor types listed in the … Continue reading Why is my veterinarian NOT recommending chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy for Dogs: Everything you need to know!

I recently participated in an interview with a fellow writer for petmd.com on what pet owners need to know about chemotherapy in dogs.  You can find the link to the full text here and a transcription of the article below. By: Carol McCarthy “Your dog has cancer” might be the four scariest words a pet parent can … Continue reading Chemotherapy for Dogs: Everything you need to know!

Snake Oil or Cure All? How Can We Tell The Difference?

Have you ever heard of snake oil? It's an expression generally reserved for unproven remedies for various ailments or maladies, but is also often used to describe any product with questionable or unverifiable benefit. Chinese workers, building the First Transcontinental Railroad in the mid-19th century, used snake oil to treat the painful inflammatory joint conditions … Continue reading Snake Oil or Cure All? How Can We Tell The Difference?

Top 10 medical conditions affecting dogs and cats

Nationwide Insurance recently reported the top ten medical conditions affecting dogs and cats and their associated costs based on data from claims from over 1.3 million owners for more than 550,000 pets. I assumed cancer would be the top disease on the list for both species. It is the most frequently diagnosed illness in older … Continue reading Top 10 medical conditions affecting dogs and cats

Those that can do. Those that can do it better, teach.

This past September I was hired as an adjunct faculty member at a local community college, teaching several classes in the veterinary science technology program. As someone notoriously unable to say “no,” I agreed to tackle the responsibility on my days off from clinical work. I entered this endeavor thinking, “No big deal, I’ve got … Continue reading Those that can do. Those that can do it better, teach.

Is it too late to say I’m sorry now?

“I’m sorry.” Consider the magnitude of impact these two simple words can have. Apologies, when uttered from a place of sincerity, are remarkably meaningful. They are capable of erasing negativity, clarifying misconceptions, and easing hurt feelings. They also convey understanding, solidarity, and compassion. When we are sincerely sorry, we are also truly humbled. For medical … Continue reading Is it too late to say I’m sorry now?

When veterinarians care too much…

Compassion fatigue is known by many alternative terms: vicarious traumatization, secondary traumatic stress, secondary stress, and even second-hand shock. Most often, we associate compassion fatigue with the emotional residue or strain of exposure to working with those suffering from the consequences of traumatic events. Every person working in a “helping profession” is at risk for … Continue reading When veterinarians care too much…

You never forget your first…

His name was Ali, as in Mohammed Ali. He was a handsome 1½-year-old tan and white Boxer with a sweet and playful disposition and a ton of energy crammed into the tiny makeshift exam room. Though Ali was only one of dozens of dogs evaluated at the Southside Healthy Pet clinic that evening, I’d forever … Continue reading You never forget your first…

It won’t hurt to try? Or will it?

There are many gray areas in veterinary cancer care. Rarely am I certain that a particular treatment option or surgical strategy or chemotherapy protocol is “the absolute best” plan of action for any given patient. My uncertainty stems not from a lack of knowledge or experience; it arises from a dearth of evidence based information … Continue reading It won’t hurt to try? Or will it?

My vet did all these tests and we still don’t know anything…

Diagnostic tests are essential to my daily activities as a veterinary oncologist. For example: I require a complete blood count (CBC) test before every chemotherapy treatment. I analyze results from fine needle aspirates and biopsies in order to formulate therapeutic plans. I use radiographs (x-rays) to look for metastasis (spread) of cancer to internal organs. … Continue reading My vet did all these tests and we still don’t know anything…

Have you always wanted to be a veterinarian, but couldn’t because of this one thing???

When someone I’ve met for the first time discovers I’m a veterinarian, reactions vary from detached amusement to wild-eyed enthusiasm. The latter is far more common as there appears to be unexplainable mystique and awe surrounding veterinary medicine as a career choice. About one in five people I meet will exclaim, upon hearing what I … Continue reading Have you always wanted to be a veterinarian, but couldn’t because of this one thing???

What happens when you care too much?

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 What happens when you care too much?