Friday, September 14, 2012

Veterinary Oncology? ...Where’s the proof?

I always find it interesting when being introduced to people who have never heard of veterinary oncology or in layman's terms, “cancer treatment for animals”. Sure, one might say that my current occupation in the veterinary field may have something to do with my knowledge of the subject, but in any event, I’m still perplexed every time someone cocks their head to the side like a puppy after hearing about veterinary oncology.

Of course it’s natural for people to have differences in their appreciation for animals and therefore interest in any related subject, but i’d say 90% of the time I get one of the following responses; “I never knew that! Is it like human cancer treatment? How successful is it?”. I have come to realize that many people do not know about Veterinary Oncology or how it goes beyond the realm of dogs and cats, and few are aware of its effectiveness. That said, people need to be made more aware of the physiological similarities that exists between us humans and our four-legged friends. In fact, we so closely resemble each other physiologically that many of the current oncological advancements in human oncology began with the treatment of pets.

To a certain degree I can understand how some people may be skeptical of my prior statements, such as those individuals who find things hard to believe unless they’ve experienced it firsthand -- But it is difficult to provide visible proof of the relationship between the physiological response of man and “man’s best friend”. Although I must admit that, even working at The Veterinary Cancer Center, chemotherapy and radiation sometimes seem a bit like wishful magic.

For example, about one week ago I was inadvertently presented with the perfect testimonial -- a bold form of evidence that not even Houdini could replicate. Seven days earlier, Dr. Farrelly had asked me to take a picture of a rectal mass on one of The VCC patients he and Dr. Post are currently treating . A week later, he requested that I repeat the same exact thing to the very same patient, except this time he asked me to upload the images to the patients file.

It was then that my neurons started making the necessary connection, and I thought “this is the perfect testimonial.” In the original image the tumor was approximately the size of a golfball, but in only one week it had noticeably decreased in size to nothing more than a pea. The dog was happier, The VCC was proud, and I got my proof. Now, whenever I meet someone who needs to learn a thing or two about veterinary oncology, I begin by showing them a side-by-side view of the two images; the before and after pictures of a rectal mass. Isn’t irony great?

Give me paw,

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