Medical Oncology

Why does my animal need to see a Board-Certified Veterinary Oncologist?

 Oncologists focus on diagnosing and managing cancer, no matter wher the tumor might be located.



What should I expect during the visit with the Board-certified Veterinary Oncologist?

The Oncologist will perform a complete and thorough physical examination on your animal, and based on these initial findings, additional tests and treatment options will be discussed. Depending on your animal¡¯s condition, diagnostic testing or management may include:


When should you request a referral to an ACVIM Board-certified Veterinary Oncologist?


Medical oncologists commonly treat the following types of tumors: (not an all inclusive list)


Lymphoma (lymphosarcoma, LSA)
Lymphoma is a common tumor in dogs and cats. It is a malignant tumor of white blood cell origin. Normally, lymphocytes help fight infections by bacteria, viruses, and fungi as well as help our bodies prevent cancer. When the lymphocytes become cancerous, they are able to spread all over the body. Lymphoma commonly causes enlarged lymph nodes, and can be in all the major organ systems.

Mast cell tumors (MCTs)
Mast cell tumors are also fairly common tumors. They also originate from cells of the immune system. Mast cells are commonly found in allergic conditions. Evolutionarily, we suspect that mast cells were involved in immunity against parasites. These cells can become cancerous and make lumps or nodules in the skin, as well as occur in organs such as the spleen, liver, and bone marrow to name a few.

Melanoma is a malignant cancer of the pigment-containing cells (melanocytes) in the body. These tumors usually occur in the skin or mouth, and are often black in color. They can sometimes be other colors (amelanotic melanomas), so the color is not necessarily a conclusive diagnostic aid!

Hemangiosarcomas are tumors of blood vessel origin. These tumors are extremely aggressive and can result in severe bleeding and death before you even know a patient has one. They tend to occur in internal organs such as the spleen, liver, and heart, but can also grow on the skin.
Transitional cell carcinoma
These tumors occur in the urinary tract, where they often result in blood in the urine (hematuria) or difficulty urinating (stranguria). They can also result in inability to urinate due to blockage of the urethra.