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Oncology

Cancer can be a terrifying diagnosis. Dr. Joanna Schmit is here to help provide treatment options and quality of life care when facing such a diagnosis. Together, you and our oncology team will find the best options for treatment for you and your pet. At BEVS we are devoted to improving the health and well-being of their patients. To ensure your pet receives the best care, a certified technician will be dedicated to your pet during their appointment and procedure. In most cases, chemotherapy patients are treated on an outpatient basis to provide as much time at home as possible. While at BEVS, Dr. Schmit will update your primary veterinarian on your pet’s treatment and progress. If weekend or overnight hospitalization is necessary, your pet will be monitored by our team of emergency veterinarians and technicians. Our emergency team will be in regular contact with your pet’s internist when hospitalized during these hours.

What is an oncologist?

Small animal oncologists are specialists who focus on cancer treatment with chemotherapy, molecular and targeted therapy. They also work in conjunction with radiation oncologists to incorporate radiation therapy when indicated. They have completed basic veterinary education, an internship and residency in their specialty, and passed rigorous testing to achieve board certification from the ACVIM. They have a greater knowledge of management of cancer patients and supportive care to provide quality of life.

What is the ACVIM?

The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) is the non-profit international certifying organization for veterinary specialists in small animal internal medicine, cardiology, oncology, neurology, and large animal internal medicine. ACVIM has more than 1,800 active members, called ACVIM Diplomates (DACVIM), who are board-certified veterinary specialists. Visit ACVIM.org

When should you see an oncologist?

  • Skin tumors
  • Lymphoma and cancers of the blood
  • Bone and muscle tumors
  • Tumor of the mouth, nose and face
  • Specialized removal of large tumor (benign or malignant) that require advanced imaging such as CT for removal
  • Tumors of internal organs such a liver, spleen, kidney, lung and stomach/intestine
  • Supportive care for the cancer patient including pain management, nutritional support and end of life care

What to expect during your visit?

Oncology is available Tuesday–Friday from 8am–5pm. Upon arrival, you will be asked to complete our Client/Patient Form by one of our front desk staff members. The doctor and his/her nurse will meet with you to discuss your pet’s medical history, condition and evaluate your pet with a thorough exam. At this point, our medical team will have a better idea on how to proceed with diagnostics, treatment plan options and costs. The appointment time is for the consultation and examination. If we recommend a procedure (i.e. ultrasound, fine needle aspirate, x-rays, etc…), we will make every effort to perform the procedure in a timely manner. However, your pet may need to be admitted to the hospital for the day to allow time for the procedure to occur in the afternoon. In some cases it may be necessary to schedule the procedure for the next possible business day. Many patients can receive chemotherapy treatment the same day as their appointment. When chemotherapy is pursued, most patients are treated on an outpatient basis where they drop off in the morning and spend a few hours here in hospital with the oncology team for their treatment.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a scary word to many. Chemotherapy in pets is different from people. Most pets have no side effects from their chemotherapy. Those that do experience mild side effects may have a decreased appetite or mild vomiting/diarrhea, all of which can be managed with at home medications. They do not lose all of their hair, though some patients have mild thinning of the hair. The goal is minimal to no side effects and providing a great quality of life while on chemotherapy.

Our chemo patients are very special to us. During the course of your pet’s treatment our oncology team work closely with your family to ensure your pets comfort and well-being. Dr. Schmit has been treating animals with cancer for over eight years and is able to treat a variety of cancers with chemotherapy. We commonly treat patients with lymphoma, mast cell tumor, melanoma, osteosarcoma, and other cancers of dogs and cats. Pets generally tolerate cancer chemotherapy better than humans and experience a good quality of life.

Advanced Laboratory Testing

Our in-house diagnostic laboratory allows us to run tests and get immediate results. Blood tests are used to look for signs of infection, evaluate organ function, and detect effects of some toxins. Our laboratory machines check blood cell counts, metabolic profiles, and clotting times and aid in the diagnosis of diseases and ailments including: feline leukemia, feline heartworm, feline immunodeficiency virus, canine heartworm, Lyme Disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, feline hyperthyroidism, canine pancreatitis, canine Addison’s and Cushing’s Disease, as well as portosystemic liver shunts. We can also evaluate urine, fecal and other samples to look for infection, cancer and evaluate organ function. In some cases it may be necessary to submit samples to outside labs for further diagnostics. These outside laboratories are able to perform a wider range of testing for more complicated cases.