Proper Pet Cancer Diagnosis Provides for Appropriate Treatment

Diagnosis involves several steps to attain a number of goals. It not only must be determined whether an animal has cancer, but also the type, the location(s) of the cancer, whether it is benign or malignant, and if it is slow or fast growing. The type of cancer, stage, and grade of cancer, along with other biological behavior factors, will allow the oncologist to predict clinical outcome with or without treatment. This will be critical in the decision-making process for the owner. There are many ways to meet these criteria. In fact, the wide range of tests and methods involved can be somewhat intimidating. While each test helps to reach a definitive diagnosis, at VOSRC, cost effectiveness is always considered in diagnostic planning and how the procedure(s) and its cost will impact the choice of treatment. Not all academic questions need to be answered in order to deliver effective and well-tolerated therapy. Practicality has its role in today’s world and the owner’s ability to proceed from the diagnostic phase to treatment is taken into consideration.

How that is accomplished can be simple or complex, depending on where the suspect tissue is located. Fortunately, the tools and techniques available to assist in diagnosing cancer continue to multiply and improve. They range from familiar tools such as radiographs (X-rays) and blood tests (complete blood counts and blood chemistries) to bone marrow examination to ultrasound, CT, and MRI scans. A definitive diagnosis, rather than presumptive, will ultimately depend on the examination of cells from the affected tissues under the microscope. This may involve a surgical biopsy for histopathology or needle aspiration for cytology.

At VOSRC, we are able to use all of these techniques to establish the most accurate diagnosis and staging of the disease. This allows us to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for each individual pet, resulting in the most effective therapy possible.