It’s been a minute…

A phrase I'd never encountered before moving to the South. The first time I heard it was in the midst of a case presentation by one of my senior residents. I was only a few short weeks into my new position as a clinical professor and struggling with reconciling a fierce case of imposter syndrome … Continue reading It’s been a minute…

What is a board-certified veterinary oncologist?

My goal for this website is to provide pet owners with factual information regarding the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in pets and to delve into the complicated emotional aspects surrounding cancer care in animals. While this will always be my main focus, I wanted to revisit the basics of veterinary specialty care and help … Continue reading What is a board-certified veterinary oncologist?

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?

Can’t you just give me the “chemo pill?”

I’ve been a major slacker lately when it comes to writing articles. I blame the fact that a few months back, the staff at PetMD cut back on asking me for contributions, therefore reducing my incentive (read: deadlines) for completing my tasks. My absence doesn’t stem from a lack of thought. I still possess a … Continue reading Can’t you just give me the “chemo pill?”

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?

Out of the mouths of animals…

Dogs and cats are frequently diagnosed with tumors of the oral cavity. This diverse group of cancers includes growths along the gingiva (gum), lips, tongue, tonsils, the bones and cartilage of the upper and lower jaws, and the structural components holding the teeth in place. The most common oral tumors in dogs are melanoma, squamous … Continue reading Out of the mouths of animals…

All about Prognostic Factors

Prognostic factors are characteristics possessed by a patient, its tumor, or both. They predict the likely course of the cancer, and ultimately, your pet's prognosis, or final outcome. Prognostic factors could help estimate a patient’s survival time, chance of success with a particular treatment plan, or risk for recurrence of disease following surgery, radiation, or … Continue reading All about Prognostic Factors

Brain tumors in dogs and cats

One of the less common cancers I’m asked to consult on are brain tumors. Though such tumors occur with fair frequency in both cats and dogs, optimal diagnostic and treatment plans are not well established. Thus brain tumors are considered a challenging disease for both veterinary neurologists and oncologists. Brain tumors are either primary or … Continue reading Brain tumors in dogs and cats

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…

When the remedy is the poison…

There’s a specific routine we follow for each pet arriving for a chemotherapy appointment. Owners arrive and are greeted by a technician, who will ask several questions about how their pet is doing and if any complications from a previous treatment arose. If all is “status quo,” the patient will be taken to our treatment … Continue reading When the remedy is the poison…

Why does my vet take my dog to the back?

You’ve arrived for your appointment with your veterinarian and you’re nervous as to how the visit will go. Your dog started vomiting last night, and is unusually quiet at home. You know he needs to be seen by a doctor, but are worried about his anxiety level as he isn’t a huge fan of visiting … Continue reading Why does my vet take my dog to the back?

When both the owner and their pet have cancer…

A surprisingly large number of owners of the pets I see with cancer are cancer survivors themselves. Aside from how unusual I find it when people are willing to share their personal medical histories with me, I usually also feel a particular pang of sadness for their situation. My expertise lies in diagnosing and treating … Continue reading When both the owner and their pet have cancer…

A letter to myself as a first year resident in medical oncology

Dear me (you), I’m writing to you from the future—approximately ten years from where you are now. You’re a few months into your medical oncology residency, just beginning to assimilate to the flow of your daily responsibilities as a doctor committed to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. You hate living in upstate New York, … Continue reading A letter to myself as a first year resident in medical oncology