200 Commerce Street | Williston, VT 05495
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 oncologist when hospitalized during these hours.
What is an oncologist?
A board-certified veterinary oncologist has completed extensive training after veterinary school that focuses in oncology (the way cancer develops and how to treat it). Most oncologists have completed 3 to 5 years of this focused training including an internship rotating through various medical and surgical specialties and a specialized residency on the subject of cancer. Throughout this training, an oncologist is required to pass comprehensive examinations and complete publication requirements to become board-certified in Medical Oncology by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).
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.
When should you see an oncologist?
Cancer can develop in our pets the same way it can develop in people. Our pets deserve and can receive the same caliber of care people receive through the care directed by a veterinary oncologist. However, our pets should also be able to maintain a good quality of life throughout their treatment. In fact, throughout treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery, quality of life is constantly monitored and should be preserved. Care directed by a veterinary oncologist can help tailor care specifically to your pet, their condition, and their response to treatment.
- Veterinary oncologists are specially trained to balance treatment of cancer with underlying conditions while maintaining a good quality of life
- Veterinary oncologists are trained to detect side effects early and can adjust therapy to try to avoid their recurrence.
- Veterinary oncologists keep up to date on the latest and greatest treatments to achieve maximum benefit with minimal effect on lifestyle.
- Veterinary oncologists are often in the best position to be able to coordinate care with specialized veterinary surgeons and radiation oncologists.
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 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.