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The cancer specialists at Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center are able to provide your pet with many advanced treatment options. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or any combination of modalities.

Care is provided by a team of doctors and technicians led by board certified veterinarian Mary Kay Klein, DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVR, who has dedicated her medical career to the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in animals. In addition to her work with the Southern Arizona Veterinary Specialty & Emergency Center, she is a clinical lecturer and researcher at the University of Arizona Cancer Center.

The oncology department is here to provide;

  • Diagnostic medical services to evaluate and stage cancer include cytologic evaluation, biopsy, digital radiography, CT scans, ultrasound, and full laboratory services.
  • Medical treatment options include; combination and single agent chemotherapy, antiangiogenic and metronomic therapy, immunotherapy, nutritional counseling and innovative and novel therapeutics.
  • External beam radiation therapy is available on site at the Fort Lowell location.
  • Clinical trials for cancer patients.
  • I-131 radioisotope treatment for safe and effective therapy for hyperthyroidism in cats.

Is my pet at risk?
Though pets of any age can develop cancer, it is generally more common in adult and older animals. Certain breeds of cats and dogs have a greater risk of developing some types of cancers. It is important to talk to your veterinarian about risk factors that may affect your pet. Early detection is critical for successful treatment and recovery.

Cancer is a general term for diseases characterized by uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells. The resulting mass or tumor may invade and destroy surrounding normal tissues, and can spread through the bloodstream or lymphatic system to start new types of cancers in other parts of the body (metastasis).

Cancer is now the leading cause of death in companion animals. In today's society, pets can be protected by vaccinations, healthy diets and careful supervision - they've become members of our families. But because they too are mammals, who are built upon DNA and are continuously exposed to the same physical, chemical, viral, and environmental pressures we are, cancer remains a real risk for our companion animals.

What should you look for?
◦Lumps, bumps, and abnormal swellings that persist or continue to grow
◦Sores that do not heal
◦Limping, persistent lameness, or stiffness
◦Bad breath and/or offensive odors
◦Nasal discharge
◦Bleeding problems and/ or abnormal discharges
◦Difficulty breathing, eating, and/or swallowing
◦Persistent vomiting and/or diarrhea or difficulty urinating or defecation
◦Loss of appetite and/ or weight loss
◦Decrease in activity and hesitation to play or exercise
◦Lymph node enlargement

What is a board-certified veterinary oncologist?
Board-certified veterinary oncologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in animals. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has developed a system of specialty colleges that certify specialty trained veterinarians. A board-certified veterinary specialist has completed extensive post-graduate study and training, has demonstrated clinical competency under close supervision and has passed a comprehensive examination in the specialty. Board-certified specialists are referred to as "Diplomates" of their specialty college.

How is cancer diagnosed?
It is not possible to diagnose cancer based solely on physical examination findings and rarely is cancer detectable on blood tests. A tissue sample almost always must be taken for an accurate diagnosis. Sometimes this is as simple as taking some cells with a needle and syringe and placing them on a slide for examination. This procedure is termed a fine needle aspirate and cytology. At other times we need to surgically remove a larger sample and submit it to a laboratory, referred to as a biopsy and histopathology.

Biopsies can be taken with small, less invasive biopsy needles, via endoscopic equipment, or with the traditional scalpel techniques. At Southwest Veterinary Oncology, our oncologists carefully evaluate your pet's medical condition prior to aspiration or biopsy and choose the technique that is most likely to provide a diagnosis with the least amount of trauma to your pet.

What treatments are available?
The cancer seen in animals is very similar to that which develops in people, and the same treatment modalities are available. The primary methods of treatment include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Immunotherapy and complementary medicine may also be helpful. Soon gene therapy and targeted molecular therapeutics will also play a role. Although the treatment modalities are the same as those used in people, it is important to realize that animals usually tolerate the treatments better than people and relatively few side effects are seen. For more detailed information, please see our Therapies Page.

Funded studies Available at Southwest Veterianry Oncology;

  • There are currently no studies


Please do not submit any Protected Health Information (PHI).

Questions or Comments?
We encourage you to contact us whenever you have an interest about our services.

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