All companion animal practices will be presented with oncology cases on a regular basis, making diagnosis and treatment of cancer an essential part of comprehensive primary care. Because each oncology case is medically unique, these guidelines recommend a patient-specific approach consisting of the following components: diagnosis, staging, therapeutic intervention, provisions for patient and personnel safety in handling chemotherapy agents, referral to an oncology specialty practice when appropriate, and a strong emphasis on client support. Determination of tumor type by histologic examination of a biopsy sample should be the basis for all subsequent steps in oncology case management. Diagnostic staging determines the extent of local disease and presence or absence of regional or distant metastasis. The choice of therapeutic modalities is based on tumor type, histologic grade, and stage, and may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and adjunctive therapies, such as nutritional support and pain management. These guidelines discuss the strict safety precautions that should be observed in handling chemotherapy agents, which are now commonly used in veterinary oncology. Because cancer is often a disease of older pets, the time of life when the pet–owner relationship is usually strongest, a satisfying outcome for all parties involved is highly dependent on good communication between the entire healthcare team and the client, particularly when death or euthanasia of the patient is being considered. These guidelines include comprehensive tables of common canine and feline cancers as a resource for case management and a sample case history.

You do not currently have access to this content.