Veterinary Oncology is a specialty within animal health care that focuses on treating pets with cancer. After finishing veterinary school, veterinary oncologists receive additional training through a 1-year internship and a 3-year residency program. During these years of study, they receive advanced instruction in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in animals.
Our goal is to help pets with cancer live the best life possible. We work with pet owners to find a treatment plan that fits the needs of each individual patient.
Your pet’s health, comfort, and quality of life are of the utmost importance to us. Mission Veterinary Emergency & Specialty offers the following tests, procedures, and treatment options to pets in the Mission and Kansas City areas.
State-of-the-art diagnostic tools: Our facilities have the ability to use radiographs, ultrasound, endoscopy, and CT (computed tomography) to assess and diagnose cancer.
Coordination with surgeons: The oncology team works closely with our surgery team to determine if surgery is the best course of action for your pet. Often a combination of surgery and medical therapy is recommended, and our doctors work together daily to find the best approach.
Chemotherapy and immunotherapy treatments: If chemotherapy is right for your pet, we can perform these procedures at our hospital. Most chemotherapy treatments are performed on an outpatient basis. Sometimes chemotherapy requires an injection or can be administered as an oral pill.
Medical and supportive therapies: Throughout cancer treatments, medications and supportive measures can be used to ensure the highest quality of life possible for your pet. The oncology team is able to provide assistance with palliative, hospice, and end of life decisions.
Emergency services: Although we aim to keep our pets with cancer out of the hospital as much as possible, sometimes emergencies happen. Our hospital is open 24:7 and our emergency doctors can diagnose and treat any after-hours emergencies that may arise.
What should I do to prepare for my appointment?
Compile any records you have at home including recent lab results, testing and medication history. We can call your primary veterinarian for referral information if needed.
If your pet is medically able, we recommend withholding food for 12 hours prior to your appointment. Many diagnostics are more accurate if a patient has an empty stomach. If your pet has a medical condition such as diabetes, or if you have concerns about fasting your pet, please ask your primary veterinarian for advice first.
What should I expect for my initial appointment?
During the initial consultation you will meet with our oncology nurses and veterinarian. We will obtain a medical history and perform a physical examination on your pet. The veterinarian will then review with you the diagnostic and treatment options available to your pet. Many diagnostics can be performed the same day, but others may require a follow-up appointment. The results of any initial diagnostic testing may require a few days to complete. If possible, we may recommend waiting to start treatment until all initial diagnostic results are obtained.
What are the side effects of chemotherapy?
Dogs and cats actually tolerate chemotherapy very well. We do not expect the same severity of side effects that are seen in humans. Most pets will have minimal to no side effects during treatment. The most common potential side effects include nausea or diarrhea. These are often easily treated with medications that can be given at home. Hair loss can occur in specific dog breeds such as Poodles, Portuguese Water Dogs, Maltese and other breeds with continuously growing hair. Other dog breeds may experience a thinning of their hair coat and may shed more, but complete hair loss does not occur. Labs are checked regularly while a pet receives chemotherapy to monitor for signs of bone marrow suppression or other organ toxicity. Individual chemotherapy drugs can have other potential side effects which will be discussed with you prior to making the decision to start chemotherapy.
Can you perform radiation therapy at MVES?
We do not currently have the capabilities to perform radiation therapy at MVES. However, we do work closely with oncologists at K-State, Iowa State and the University of Missouri, all of which have the ability to perform radiation therapy. Although we would need to refer your pet to these hospitals for treatment, we can perform any necessary follow-up at MVES.
What is the prognosis for dogs and cats with cancer?
The prognosis for dogs and cats with cancer can vary widely, depending on the tumor type present and what treatments are pursued. We can rely on statistics to give us an idea of how the average dog or cat will do with certain forms of treatment, but this cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen with your pet. No two patients or forms of cancer are exactly alike. We will work with you to decide which option is best for your pet. When a cure is not possible, our goal will be to preserve a good quality of life for as long as we can.
Will you communicate with my primary veterinarian?
The oncology team will routinely communicate with your primary care veterinarian so that we can work together to provide complete and effective medical care.
Are payment plans available?
MVES accepts CareCredit, which is a medical credit card that you can apply for online. This option will give you several months to pay for treatment without interest.
How do I schedule an appointment?
You may speak to your primary veterinarian about a referral to MVES, or you may call us directly to schedule an appointment.