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What Does a Dog Oncologist Do?

Have you ever heard of a dog oncologist? Has your veterinarian recommended you take your dog to one of these specialists? Are you considering looking one up on your own?

If you find yourself wondering about what dog oncologists do and how they might be able to help your dog, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the basic information you need to know so you can better understand the way oncology works for dogs. Read through this information and see if you have any further questions for your vet or specialist after that. If you do, call AVIM in Annapolis at (410) 224-0121, Columbia at (410) 441-3304 or Towson at (410) 828-0911.

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Training and Experience

Veterinary oncologists have had a lot of education. They usually go to school first to become a veterinarian and then for an additional four years to learn about veterinary oncology.

Additionally, a veterinary oncologist has written and published papers and studies on the topic, proving that they know the subject matter and are prepared to work with patients in this important field.

Finally, veterinary oncologists must also pass a very difficult exam to gain their license in this field. The exam proves that they understand the complicated knowledge required to perform their job correctly and make the right decisions for each pet patient they see.

Check for the acronym DACVIM after the name of a vet to see if they have passed this exam. This acronym means the vet is board certified in veterinary oncology and is a great choice for you to work with.

Basic Tasks

Diagnosis of Cancer

Veterinary oncologists utilize a variety of tests and medical technology to diagnose pets with cancer. They can tell what type of cancer your pet might have, how advanced it is, and how treatable it is, among other features.

Treatment of Cancer

If your veterinary oncologist believes your pet’s cancer may be treatable, they will help you choose the best plan of action for your pet’s health moving forward. They can provide a variety of treatment methods, including chemotherapy, for pets who are diagnosed with cancer.

Management of Cancer

If your pet’s cancer is untreatable, but you choose not to euthanize your pet at this stage, the oncologist will help you figure out the best way to manage your pet’s health throughout the rest of her life. This may include pain medication and other comfort measures.

Specific Tasks

One-Time Diagnostic Tests

Veterinary oncologists strive to ensure that your pet doesn’t have to undergo the same diagnostic test over and over again.

Educating Pet Owners About Treatments and Management Options

Veterinary oncologists spend a lot of time talking to pet owners and helping them understand the diagnosis, management, and treatment for their individual pets. They are ready to answer questions and help you learn.

Administration of Treatments

Veterinary oncologists and their staff work to administer the type of treatment you choose for your pet. These treatments may occur as often as weekly for some pets.

Follow-Up on Treatments

Your veterinary oncologist will follow up with you and your pet immediately after the treatments are administered as well as a couple of days after in most cases.

Frequent Monitoring

Your pet will need to go to the oncologist frequently for monitoring of their condition. The oncologist will notice if something has changed for better or worse in your pet’s health situation.

Monitoring During Remission

If your pet’s cancer is treated and your pet goes into remission, the veterinary oncologist will continue monitoring your pet at regular checkups to ensure the cancer does not return in the future.

Purpose for Your Pet

Veterinary oncologists help your pet get the treatment or management required to deal with cancer. Cancer in pets is very serious, just like it is in humans, and it’s important to work with a professional if you plan to help your pet fight this diagnosis.

Veterinary oncologists also help pets receive the management they need to deal with pain, nausea, and other symptoms that come with both cancer and cancer treatments. By working with a professional specialist like a veterinary oncologist, you can easily have your pet’s medication or treatment adjusted as needed to meet her needs throughout the disease progression.

Additionally, veterinary oncologists can help you understand just how likely any treatment is to work for your pet’s cancer. They will be honest and open with you and let you know if the treatment options are worth trying or may not be able to do anything for your pet. These specialists are trained to recognize the potential of cancer treatments but also to recognize times when treatments won’t work. They can then deliver this information to you in a compassionate way, making it easier for you to make the right decision for your pet.

Making the Decision

Note that taking your pet to a veterinary oncologist for a consultation does not mean you are automatically committing to cancer treatments. It just means you’re looking for more information or a second opinion. The veterinary oncologist can give you all the information you need and answer every question you have as you work to make the right decision for your pet.

If you choose not to proceed with treatment, the veterinary oncologist can then help you determine the right management solutions for your pet through the rest of her life. They can also provide information that may help you choose when euthanasia is the right decision.

Now that you’ve had a chance to learn more about what dog oncologists do, you can figure out whether or not you think this is the best solution for your dog. Working with a specialist like an oncologist is never an easy choice when it comes to pets, but it can sometimes be the right decision for your furry friend.

You can always talk with your dog’s regular vet if you have any questions, concerns, or reservations about the process. By working with a trusted vet, you can provide the best possible care for your dog and make the right choices about their health, too.