If you have decided to opt into some type of treatment, or you are considering treatment, you’ll want to look for a veterinary oncologist. If you don’t have one near you or you are unsure, you can still request a consultation.
What is a Veterinary Oncologist?
Veterinary oncologists are extremely knowledgeable in conventional veterinary medicine. The oncologist can discuss surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation in-depth. The average family veterinarian has some knowledge regarding cancer, but oncologists spend all day, every day in this field, and with science constantly changing, having a canine oncologist on your team can greatly benefit your dog.
You can think about it from your perspective to understand this better. You have a family doctor. They do wellness checks, draw blood, review your case file, and is deeply involved in your medical care. But, if your family doctor sees anything abnormal, they will usually refer you out to a specialist.
For example, my doctor noticed I had a cyst in my sinus cavity when results from an ER visit came back. He referred me out to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist) to look into it further. Luckily, it was just a growth that stays there, but it needed to be checked by someone who specialized in this area.
It would be the same if your white blood cell count was high along with several other factors being abnormal. Your family doctor may then refer you to an oncologist or other specialist they felt necessary to further investigate.
It’s the same here. We want someone who handles cancer cases all day, every day, so the expertise and specialization is there.
Now, the money involved. That’s a huge concern when it comes to canine cancer. Contrary to popular belief, the canine oncologist can actually save you money by immediately providing the best treatment option(s).
Finding a Holistic Veterinarian
Even conventional veterinarians are beginning to dive into the world of holistic medicine. Veterinarians are looking into herbal medicine, Chinese acupuncture, changes in diet, nutraceuticals, cannabis options, and supplements. Most conventional veterinarians, though, are still focused in western medicine (surgery, chemo, radiation).
If you’re searching for an approach that often doesn’t utilize conventional treatment, you’ll want to look for a holistic veterinarian. Sometimes western approaches are decided against, but dog lovers will still decide to pursue holistic approaches. Many holistic veterinarians have often worked alongside canine oncologists, too, so there is experience in the field there as well.
Time for the Consult Call
We hope through your search, you found at least one veterinary oncologist, alternative, or holistic veterinarian. If you are unsure about whether or not to proceed, or which veterinarian to visit, you can request a consult call. Explain you just have a few questions before you come in and would greatly appreciate ten to thirty minutes of their time (some offer different time amounts).
This introductory consult call will help you decide which veterinarian aligns best with your cancer journey plan.
Questions you may want to ask on your consult call include the following:
- My dog has “X” cancer. Do you treat this type of cancer at your clinic?
- What is your opinion regarding nutritional requirements?
- What do you think about supplements?
- What special training or certifications do you have?
- Do you offer any type of payment plan?
- When do you go over the options with the costs associated?
- What are your hours of operation? Are you on call if necessary?
- Do you charge for additional questions outside of our appointments?
- What type of equipment do you have (if applicable)?
- Do you provide emergency services?
- Do you provide hospice care?