Our surgical team provides special surgical expertise in all aspects of cancer surgery, from minor tumor removal to limb-sparing surgery to cancer neurosurgery.
Surgery is the oldest form of cancer therapy in human and canine medicine and has been responsible for the cure of more patients than any other treatment. This great success is mainly due to the development of new surgical techniques. One of the most significant advantages of surgery, other than that it can be used to cure some cancers, is that it can make other treatments work better. Indeed, surgery plays a significant role in the prevention, diagnosis, definitive treatment and rehabilitation of the canine cancer patient.
Curative Surgery for Primary Cancer
For the best chance of achieving a cure, a tumor must be removed with a properly executed surgical procedure the very first time the tumor is being treated with definitive surgery. The curative surgery for primary cancer is the most common use of surgery for the pet with cancer.
Surgery for Tumor Left after a Prior Surgery
The best opportunity to cure a pet with a malignant disease is with the first surgery. However, tumors are sometimes incompletely removed with a first surgery requiring subsequent therapy. “Debulking” surgery alone (i.e., surgery to reduce the size of a tumor rather than completely remove it) is rarely an acceptable form of therapy unless it is used simply as a method to improve a quality of life.
Surgery for Metastatic Disease
Surgical removal of metastases (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) should be considered in select cases when it is obvious that the original cancer is not progressing rapidly and that the metastatic disease is restricted to a single site or a few sites that can be surgically excised. This is especially true when the surgery for the metastatic disease will improve the quality of life or serve as a diagnostic tool for the management of your pet’s disease.
Surgery for Emergencies
The most common applications for oncologic surgery in an emergency setting include the
treatment of bleeding, perforation by a stomach ulcer, blockage of organs, or the drainage of an infected abscess.
Surgery to Improve Quality of Life (Palliation)
When a tumor or its metastasis results in significant discomfort for your pet, surgery can be employed to improve or maintain the quality of life. In these patients, surgery should be used only if you are clearly aware that this procedure will not be curative.
What is a Veterinary Specialist?
A board-certified specialist’s expertise complements the care provided by your primary care veterinarian. In addition to completing a veterinary degree (Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, DVM), a board-certified veterinary specialist must complete an internship, a two to four-year specialized residency, and publish a paper in a peer-reviewed journal. Specialists must also undergo a series of exams based on knowledge and skill in the given specialty.
I am proud of the fact that I can see a new client in the morning, perform diagnostics 1 hour later, seek secondary opinions from other specialists, perform surgery, and follow-up with a personal phone call in the evening. This level of integration and communication is unprecedented in both the veterinary and human medical field.