The Oncology team at SASH is passionate about maintaining quality of life and tailoring a cancer care strategy for each individual patient. Unfortunately cancer is a common condition affecting many veterinary patients, however, the options available for treating and managing veterinary patients with cancer have progressed enormously in recent years. SASH offers a plethora of modern diagnostic technologies including molecular markers and advanced imaging techniques, which means cancer treatment can now be more personalized and tailored to the unique characteristics of the individual patient’s disease. This reduces unnecessary morbidity associated with many of the out dated and older cancer treatment protocols.
Four veterinarians run the busy SASH Oncology service: Dr. Veronika Langova, Dr. Sophia Tzannes, Dr. Sandra Nguyen and resident Dr. Penny Brown who are all keen to talk with referring veterinarians regarding new and existing management of cases. Following referral to the oncology team at SASH, the initial stages of assessment include a thorough review of the history and diagnostic work up from the referring veterinarian, which offers a valuable insight into the current state of the patient’s disease. As part of this, a second opinion on pathology can be arranged which research shows to result in reclassification of the patient’s tumour in 20-25% of veterinary patients.
At SASH, the dedicated chemotherapy suite is used to treat patients in hospital; however, many are managed as outpatients with follow up CBC and imaging being carried out by the referring veterinarian. SASH can offer targeted therapies in some cases, including small molecule inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies. SASH is also participating in an exciting clinical trial in collaboration with Australian Company Regeneus, who have developed a cancer vaccine, used to treat patients with B-cell lymphoma. For suitable cases, SASH can also offer radiation therapy, a service soon to be available in the hospital with a new linear accelerator currently being installed.
The oncology team is focused on ensuring their patients, (your patients) are comfortable for as long as possible, making palliative care an important aspect of the management strategy for some cases. Many patients with cancer have co-morbidity such as heart disease or arthritis, meaning communication between the SASH services and a team-based approach to care is a priority to ensure the best care for our patients.