At CARE, we offer advanced medicine, compassionate care, expert advice, and well-being for pets with cancer. Just as in humans, a pet with cancer typically requires the aid of an oncologist to diagnose and treat the disease. CARE’s veterinary oncologists determine the appropriate course of treatment, and in consultation with your referring veterinarian and that partnership provides your pet the highest standard of care.
We understand that a cancer diagnosis for your pet is devastating. Our primary goal is to maintain the best quality of life for your pet. As pet owners ourselves, we understand that each pet and his or her family’s needs are unique, which is why we approach each case individually. After a thorough examination, review of diagnostic tests and consultation with the family, we develop a customized approach to care and educate patient owners to ensure that you are comfortable with your pet’s treatment plans. Specialized treatments offered by the Oncology Team at Care include:
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy comes in many forms and is much better tolerated in dogs and cats than in people. Depending on the type of treatment, chemotherapy might be given as a quick IV injection, a slower IV infusion or an injection into a lesion or scar. Some options for chemotherapy are given orally, either in the hospital or at home. Regardless of the type of treatment our patients rarely need to be sedated for these procedures. To control certain types of cancer in pets, chemotherapy may be employed alone or in addition to other treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy. Veterinary oncologists use low doses of drugs, do not combine as many drugs as in human protocols, and often administer drugs at less frequent intervals. The goal of chemotherapy is to control or eliminate the cancer while providing the highest quality of life for your pet.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is a new way to treat cancer. It involves training your pet’s own immune system to fight the disease. We use treatments like the Melanoma Vaccine and the Torigen Vaccine to treat certain cancers when chemotherapy may not be possible or may not be as effective.
- New, investigational therapies: Our team attends annual continuing education conferences to stay at the forefront of veterinary oncology. We use Tanovea, a new drug used to treat canine lymphoma. We are also aware of regional clinical trials and may recommend enrollment if you are interested and if your pet meets inclusion criteria.
- Holistic consultations: Cancer treatment often involves a multimodal approach. Our oncologists work closely with veterinarians who specialize in holistic and integrative medicine. Further, we carry many supplements that may help battle cancer and that do not cause adverse reactions when given in conjunction with chemotherapy.
- Palliative or supportive care: Your pet’s quality of life is our primary concern. If cancer treatment is not possible or not elected, our oncologists can formulate a palliative care plan aimed at providing pain relief, optimizing quality of life and even end life planning.
Our oncologists work closely with the other specialists at CARE as many of our patients to assure that all of your pet’s healthcare needs are addressed. Same day in house consultations are available with our surgeons, internists, neurologists, cardiologists, and ophthalmologist if needed. Our oncologists also have strong relationships with radiation oncologists and nutritionists who are able to provide consultation when needed.
Some of the most common cancers we treat include:
- Lymphoma (enlarged lymph nodes)
- Hemangiosarcoma (commonly a mass found in the spleen)
- Osteosarcoma (the most common bone cancer)
- Soft tissue sarcoma (growth/tumor under the skin)
- Mast cell tumors (growth/tumor on the skin)
- Malignant melanoma (the most common oral mass/tumor in dogs
- Squamous cell carcinoma (the most common oral mass/tumor in cats)
- And many others
Our oncologists will always work with you, your veterinarian and other specialists to determine the best course of treatment for your beloved pet. If your family veterinarian has diagnosed your pet with cancer, ask for a referral to CARE’s Oncology Team or call 704-457-2300 to schedule an appointment.
Our Oncology Doctors
Boo Boo and his cancer-free life
To celebrate CARE Charlotte’s 7th anniversary, we are sharing seven stories of thriving patients. Dr. Wesley Campbell, an Oncology specialist, created a non-surgical treatment plan that helped Boo Boo survive a bout with cancer.
Boo Boo’s favorite thing is lying on his parents’ bed and asking for cuddles and food, says Raul Iglesias. “So much so that he will come into our home office and demand my wife follow him, though he would settle for me if needed.”
The Iglesias family brought Boo Boo to CARE in September 2020 to find out why he had been vomiting frequently and losing weight (he was down to 11 pounds at the time). An abdominal ultrasound showed a substantial mid-abdominal mass, and Boo Boo’s lung radiographs showed a large mass encompassing the cranial third of the thorax.
Unfortunately, the masses were found to be metastatic cancer, most consistent with a mast cell tumor. “The cancer was not surgically removeable because of the size and locations of the tumors and the fact that it had already spread,” says Dr. Campbell.
Fortunately, Boo Boo started chemotherapy and has been in remission for nearly two years. His weight’s back to 14 pounds, and he receives his screenings every 6 to 8 weeks.
Raul says the CARE experience has been nothing short of amazing. “From day one, Dr. Campbell has shown tremendous compassion and dedication to Boo Boo’s care. Our initial prognosis was not a good one (6 to 9 months),” he says. “Dr. Campbell was honest and delicate when delivering the news. Almost two years later, she continues to be as attentive as always.”
Day or night, the family is very thankful CARE is there. “We know our fur babies will be well taken care of when they need it.”
Follow the adventures of Boo Boo, his siblings, and their mom, Halloween, on Instagram.
Zacky and his second-time around
CARE Charlotte is celebrating its 7th anniversary by sharing seven stories of thriving patients. Zacky, our oldest thriver at 13, is a Boston Terrier mix. Dr. Amy Fauber, who specializes in Neurology and Neurosurgery, treated him in 2016, and Dr. Wesley Campbell, an Oncology specialist, treated him in early 2020.
Zacky first came to CARE in 2016 when, at age 7, the Boston Terrier was suddenly unable to move his back legs. Dr. Amy Fauber and the Neurology team found that he had a slipped disc that required urgent spinal decompression surgery. Zacky regained the full function of his legs and recovered very well. A good thing since a walk tops the list of his (and nearly every dog we know) favorite activities.
Fast forward to February 2020, Zacky developed blood in his stools, and a malignant tumor was removed from his colon. Dr. Wesley Campbell and the Oncology team developed a successful treatment plan, including chemotherapy. “Our beloved Zacky was treated at CARE during the height of the pandemic,” Julie Weeks says. “Everyone there treated him lovingly.”
The excellent news: Zacky remains cancer-free today!
While walks are still a favorite activity, he also enjoys exploring his backyard “and the neighbor’s yard if left to his own devices,” says Michael Weeks. “Going for rides and, of course, napping.”
Recent Oncology Blog Posts
Just as cancer cells continually change in the ways they affect animals, veterinarians’ responses to the disease continually change, too. The new Vidium SearchLight DNA tumor testing is one of the most accurate and powerful tools vets have for evaluating cancer in...
Responsible pet owners know young and adult animals need a yearly checkup by a veterinarian. They may also realize senior pets should see a vet twice a year. But owners can’t depend only on checkups to catch problems: They need to look for changes in pets’ bodies and...
Have you ever felt a lump under your dog’s skin? Quite commonly, masses develop in dogs. While the mass may be a benign fatty tumor, it may also be a cancerous lump. Less frequently, cats grow masses under the skin. However, if you discover one, it is much more likely...
2020 has been a year, to say the least. In trying times, it’s important to remember the good. And what’s better than beating cancer? As oncology specialists, we have dedicated our lives to treating pets who are battling this disease. Naturally, we love nothing more...
Cancer is hands-down one of the scariest diagnoses a pet parent can receive. However, one in four dogs will be diagnosed in their lifetime (and half of dogs past the age of 10). While this data is less known in cats, it is likely similar. Advances in veterinary...
I often get asked why I practice Oncology and how I do what I do day after day. There are many reasons I’m passionate about Veterinary Oncology, but three really stand out. First and foremost, I’m often able to preserve a cancer patients’ quality of life for longer...