We understand that a diagnosis of cancer in a pet can be devastating for owners. Our oncology service aims to support clients in reaching an informed decision on how best to manage their pet’s condition. It is our view as a team that a pet’s quality of life is the most important factor in the care we provide.
The service is overseen by Tom Cave. Tom undertook a residency training program at University of Glasgow and holds an MSc in Clinical Oncology from University of Birmingham. Cancer management is a team effort and requires support from colleagues in surgery, anaesthesia, diagnostic imaging, nursing, and physiotherapy. The multi-disciplinary team at Cave Veterinary Specialists is well placed to provide this. We are the largest dedicated oncology referral service in the South West but still believe that every client and every pet is an individual and needs our individual care, love, and attention.
During our standard 60 minute consultation we will review the clinical information available and results of diagnostic tests (laboratory work and imaging studies) performed prior to referral (from the referring practice), take a detailed history, perform a physical examination, and listen to the owner’s priorities for their pet. In some cases further diagnostics are necessary to confirm a provisional diagnosis or to clinically stage a tumour by identifying whether it has spread from its initial site. Diagnostic imaging, particularly CT and ultrasound, can be crucial to this process.
Traditionally cancer can be treated with combinations of surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Our recognised Specialists in surgery operate in outstanding facilities. They are supported by colleagues who are recognised Specialists in anaesthesia who help care for patients both during and after a procedure.
Currently we refer pets on for radiotherapy and have good working relationships with the closest radiotherapy centres which are located in South-East England. This allows us to discuss if radiotherapy is a consideration in the treatment plan and to streamline the process by performing initial imaging and assessments here prior to travel on for radiotherapy. We have regular outpatient chemotherapy clinics here at the hospital and, in some cases, can also support your primary care vet in providing some chemotherapy treatments closer to home.
We can also undertake treatments designed to improve the ability of the pet’s own immune system to combat a tumour and have a wide range of palliative care options including pain management, bisphosphonates to improve bone strength and manage hypercalcaemia, and interventional radiology stenting. We are actively involved in developing new treatment options and regularly attend and present at international oncology meetings.
We believe owners and primary care vets are part of our team in treating pets with cancer and keep them informed and involved in all decisions. We are happy to see any cat or dog with an oncology problem, referred to us by veterinary surgeons. We endeavour to avoid ‘waiting lists’ and will make additional appointments as required.
We are very well equipped to deal with patients presenting with a wide variety of problems including (but not limited to):
- Lymphoma and leukaemia
- Mast cell tumours
- Soft tissue sarcomas
- Histiocytic sarcoma