Oncology Service Details

VRCC Oncology services include advanced diagnostic technologies (ultrasound, rhinoscopy, fluoroscopy, and ultrasound-guided biopsies, CT, MRI) to facilitate accurate diagnosis, disease staging and prognosis. Treatment options for cancer patients may include modalities such as surgery, cryosurgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Patients may also be eligible to participate in a variety of funded clinical trials to evaluate new therapies. These are discussed fully with the client so that the best possible decisions are reached.

VRCC’s Oncology Department is a progressive veterinary cancer center that provides comprehensive cancer diagnostic and treatment options. We are dedicated to ensuring the quality of life of our cancer patients by providing advanced diagnostic technologies including:

  • Digital radiography
  • Ultrasound
  • Cytology
  • Soft tissue and bone biopsies
  • Bone marrow cytology and biopsy
  • On-site laboratory analysis

Our advanced diagnostic tools ensure accurate diagnosis, disease staging and prognosis. Once a diagnosis has been made, our facility is equipped with the most advanced treatment options available including:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery
  • Treatment combinations and newer innovative therapies
  • Patients may also be eligible to participate in a variety of funded clinical trials to evaluate investigational therapies. These are discussed in depth with the pet owner so that the best possible decisions are reached.

The doctors and staff of VRCC Oncology will work with your family veterinarian to offer diagnostic and treatment options for all cancer patients.


Oncology Clinical Trials

We are excited to announce that the VRCC Oncology service is now able to treat osteosarcoma patients with a novel immunotherapy treatment. The osteosarcoma vaccine is available to all canine patients with osteosarcoma.  VRCC is also part of a nationwide data-tracking program to allow full licensure of the product with the USDA. The vaccine has been conditionally approved by the USDA and has shown greatly improved survival in treated dogs with osteosarcoma.

Frequently asked questions:

What is vaccine or immunotherapy?

Immunotherapy is an anti-cancer treatment that stimulates the patient’s immune system to fight the cancer. This is often part of a multi-modality treatment protocol including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.

Does my dog qualify for vaccine treatment? 

Any dog with a diagnosis of osteosarcoma, who is greater than 15 pounds, can be treated with the vaccine. Access to the vaccine does not require any specific treatment but we recommend amputation and at least 4 treatments of carboplatin chemotherapy prior treatment with the vaccine, as it is in these patients that the most dramatic benefit from the vaccine has been observed.

How well does the vaccine work?

The vaccine has been studied in a small number in dogs with appendicular osteosarcoma that were treated with amputation and 4 treatments of injectable carboplatin chemotherapy. Traditionally, this treatment provides an average 1 year survival time (330 to 423). When 3 doses of the vaccine is administered after amputation and 4 treatments of carboplatin, the median survival time was increased to 956 days and 50% of dogs survived past 3 years from diagnosis.

Is Aratana providing funding for treatment with the vaccine?

The vaccine is already conditionally approved and therefore commercially available. Aratana is tracking data in patients with appendicular osteosarcoma, who receive the vaccine after undergoing amputation and 4 doses of carboplatin, assuming chest x-rays are normal at the time of the first vaccine administration. For these patients, Aratana provides a $350 stipend to cover any supportive care that may be needed during vaccine treatment. In addition, Aratana will cover the costs of hospitalization needed in the event of severe side effects following treatment with the vaccine.

What is the cost?

Please call for cost estimates

What are the side effects?

Most dogs are going to have temporary mild side effects, “flu-like symptoms,” related to immune stimulation by the vaccine. This includes fever, lethargy, nausea/vomiting and diarrhea and possibly changes in heart rate or blood pressure. We recommend overnight hospitalization for the first treatment to assess and treat any side effects.