Advanced Cancer Care & Treatment for Pets in Denver
Both humans and animals can be diagnosed with cancer, a disease that can affect even the healthiest people and pets. The good news is that we have a number of advanced treatment methods at our disposal.
VRCC's pet oncology department is a progressive veterinary cancer center that provides comprehensive cancer diagnostic and treatment options. Our board-certified veterinary oncologists are committed to providing care and treatment for pets, as well as support for the people who love them.
Working closely with other specialists and your primary care veterinarian, we'll ensure your pet receives the best possible care.
After reviewing your pet’s medical history and diagnosis we will sit down with you and your pet to discuss the disease, staging (additional diagnostics), treatment options, and prognosis.
Board-Certified Veterinary Oncologists
After graduating veterinary school, a board-certified veterinary oncologist undergoes extensive training focused on oncology (the development of cancer and how to treat it). Training entails an internship and specialized residency, comprehensive exams, and publication requirements to become board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).
What to Expect at Your Pet’s Appointment
Knowing how to prepare for and what to expect at your pet's oncological appointment will help to calm both you and your animal, making the process easier. Here are a few things to remember:
- Medical Records & Registration Forms
It is critical that our veterinary oncologists have all relevant medical records at your initial appointment.
Your family veterinarian can provide you with a copy of your pet's medical records and X-rays to bring with you. All of these can be returned to you at the end of your appointment if requested.
Please fill out the Oncology & Radiation Form prior to arriving. You'll also be asked to fill out the Patient Intake Form when you arrive. If you are unable to complete this intake form please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before your appointment time to allow time to complete the form.
- Initial Evaluation
Plan to spend up to 1 hour for your pet's initial evaluation and discussion of diagnostic and treatment options.
The purpose of the initial evaluation is to give the doctor the opportunity to completely examine the patient, review patient history, review X-rays, laboratory test results, and other pertinent information.
- Diagnostic Tests
Any required diagnostic tests will be completed in our diagnostic lab, to help determine the extent of cancer in the body. this allows us to optimize treatment options and better predict prognosis.
At VRCC, we offer in-house, state-of-the-art MRI and ultrasound services for the most accurate diagnosis and treatment possible.
- Treatment Plan
Your veterinary oncologist will review your pet's diagnosis with you, along with their proposed treatment plan.
Cancer can be treated by several different therapies or combinations of treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapies, or palliative care when appropriate.
Our team can address any questions or concerns you may have.
Is this your first oncological appointment with your pet? Here are some commonly asked questions we've received from clients about appointments at VRCC Oncology:
- How are oncology appointments booked?
To schedule an appointment with one of the VRCC Oncologists, please call the Oncology department directly at (303) 874-2054.
Oncology appointment hours are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm with limited hours available on Saturdays.
- What if my pet requires overnight care?
If your pet needs to stay with us in the hospital, we will be happy to show you the accommodations once your pet gets settled. During your pet’s stay, we provide fresh, comfortable bedding, along with food and water as medically appropriate. We monitor temperature and provide blankets or fans to keep your pet comfortable.
We recommend against leaving any personal belongings with your pet during their stay, as it is possible these items may get misplaced.
If you wish to provide a specific diet for your pet during their stay, please bring it in a sealed, leak-proof container (no plastic baggies of any kind will be accepted), and make sure its contents are clearly labeled with: type of food, your pet’s name, and the date.
- What are your patient visiting hours and guidelines?
We understand that pets are a part of the family. Being separated from your pet can be extremely difficult and stressful for everyone. Although we do not have set visiting hours at our hospital, you are able to visit your pet during their stay in the hospital.
Please observe the following guidelines for visiting with your pet:
- To set up a time to visit with your pet, call to speak with your pet's care team.
- We request that you limit your visit to 15 minutes – consideration will be given on a case-by-case basis to allow for extended visitation time.
- If you visit your pet after-hours, keep in mind that your pet's primary care team will not be available for questions. Any questions you have will be addressed the following day when the primary care team is back in the hospital.
- All necessary safety protocols must be followed in cases when your pet is being hospitalized in our isolation unit.
- In some situations, our Patient Care staff may request that you return to the lobby. We will reunite you with your pet as soon as possible.
- Although you will not be allowed to stay overnight with your pet, we welcome you to call and check in with our patient care staff at any time to learn the status of your pet.
- For privacy purposes, patient status for pets other than your own cannot be shared.
- How do I pick up my pet's prescription?
Prescriptions may be refilled by simply leaving a message on the Oncology department's voice mail at (303) 874-2054.
Messages that are received before 4:00 pm Monday through Friday will be addressed the same day. Messages that are placed on voice mail after 4:00 pm may not be addressed until the next working day.
Prescriptions are only refilled during regular business hours, not on weekends, so be sure to request refills early enough that you will not run out.
By law, prescriptions can only be made for one year. After a year another appointment must be made to refill your pet's medications.
- When should I book my checkup/recheck appointment?
After one year, a recheck appointment must be scheduled to continue the doctor/patient relationship with our oncologist, or with your primary care veterinarian who can then refill your medications if they feel comfortable doing so.
Diagnostics & Tools
We are dedicated to supporting quality of life and longevity for veterinary cancer patients by using advanced diagnostic technologies. Our comprehensive diagnostics include:
- Digital Radiography
Digital radiography capture high-quality images of your pet's internal systems and store them on a computer system. Traditional x-rays cannot provide the same level of resolution and contrast as digital x-rays. Digital x-ray technology also significantly reduces radiation exposure, making your pet safer.
When a pet has a tumor, an ultrasound can assist us in locating and identifying it. To do so, our veterinarians must examine the architecture of the animal's organ. To create an image, they use ultrasound to transmit sound waves into your pet's body.
The examination and study of blood or tissue cells under a microscope in pets is cytology. Inflammation, infection, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and cancer can all be detected using cytology. The examination of a tissue or fluid sample is known as cytology.
- Soft Tissue & Bone Biopsies
One of the more common diagnostic procedures in pets is a biopsy. Skin biopsies can reveal the type of cells in an abnormal area of skin or skin growth. For bone biopsies, under general anesthesia, small pieces of the affected bone are removed during a surgical procedure.
- Bone Marrow Cytology & Biopsy
Bone marrow biopsy techniques are used to diagnose bone marrow disorders. Anemia, myelofibrosis, and leukemia are among them. Dogs undergoing bone marrow aspiration must be sedated, while those undergoing core biopsy must be anesthetized.
- Onsite Laboratory Analysis
In our in-house vet lab, our Englewood veterinarians use diagnostic tests and tools to accurately diagnose your pet's medical conditions and tailor treatment plans to your pet's specific needs.
Vet Oncology & Radiation Services
Our cancer center is equipped with advanced treatment options, from surgery to various therapies. We look forward to exploring these and reviewing all options with you:
Chemotherapy is a type of drug therapy that is used to either kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. Some drugs have a broad range of activity, whereas others are more focused.
- Radiation Therapy
Radiation therapy can be used on its own or in conjunction with surgery and/or chemotherapy. Our treatment goal is to deliver the optimal doses of radiation required to kill cancer cells while causing no harm to healthy tissue.
VRCC provides surgical services, including, oncological, surgeries. We provide cutting-edge technology and unrivaled surgical expertise while collaborating with other specialists in our veterinary hospital to provide exceptional service at every level.
- Treatment Combinations & Innovative Therapies
Combination therapy is a type of therapy that employs more than one medication or modality. Typically, the term refers to the use of multiple therapies to treat a single disease, with all of the therapies being pharmaceutical (although it can also involve non-medical therapy).
- Clinical Trials
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.