Medical Oncology for Dogs and Cats
You may have been referred to see a veterinary medical oncologist by your regular veterinarian if they have diagnosed or suspect cancer in your pet. A board-certified medical oncologist is a veterinarian that has gone through extensive additional schooling and training to specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in dogs, cats and other companion animals.
Veterinary oncology, or cancer treatment for dogs and cats, has come a long way over the past few decades. Once thought to provide little hope, we now know that there are many things that can be done to help our furry loved ones live longer lives of very good quality.
With medical oncology and radiation oncology working side-by-side at every PetCure Oncology location, your pet will benefit from comprehensive cancer care from a team of specialists – under one roof.
Introducing Dr. Michelle Morges!
PetCure Oncology is proud to welcome board-certified medical oncologist Dr. Michelle Morges to the treatment team in Clifton, New Jersey! Dr. Morges graduated from the University of Delaware before earning her veterinary degree at Colorado State in 2009. She then completed multiple specialty internships before completing her residency in oncology at Colorado State and achieving board certification in 2014. She has been practicing in New Jersey ever since.
Dr. Morges is well-trained in chemotherapy and immunotherapy. She is a member of PetCure Radiation Oncology Specialists, a collaborative team of 13 veterinary specialists with board certifications in medical oncology, radiation oncology, internal medicine, and nutrition. Dr. Morges is also certified in veterinary acupuncture and happily accepts acupuncture cases with or without cancer.
In her free time, Dr. Morges is an avid equestrian, enjoys yoga, traveling and spending time with her two dogs and two cats!
What To Expect At Your Pet’s Medical Oncology Appointment
Initial Appointment (30-60 minutes)
The first priority of the medical oncology department is to confirm or diagnose your pet’s cancer. At the initial consultation, Dr. Morges will review your pet’s medical records, take a thorough history, and perform a physical examination. Once the initial workup and diagnostics are complete, she will discuss. This conversation will include insight into the biologic behavior of that particular cancer, treatment options (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy) and various prognoses.
Sometimes further testing will be recommended in an attempt to assess the full extent of the disease and also to help dictate which treatment options are best. Ultimately, it is your decision if you choose to go forward with further tests or treatments. And, as always, the oncologist will be in close contact with your primary care veterinarian to work collaboratively about your pet.
Chemotherapy Treatment (typically 30 minutes per treatment)
Dogs and cats often do very well with chemotherapy, typically experiencing minimal to no side effects. Chemotherapy is considered a systemic treatment because it treats the entire body, as opposed to radiation therapy or surgery which are intended to treat a specific part of the body. Chemotherapy is often given as an intravenous injection, though it can sometimes be given in a pill form.
An average of approximately 10%-15% of dogs and cats will experience some type of side effects. In general, side effects can occur in the gastrointestinal area, causing a decreased appetite, vomiting, or diarrhea. If any of these occur, they will typically subside within four days. Medications to aid with the adverse reaction and/or dose reductions can be provided. It is rare for a dog to lose fur with chemotherapy. Fur loss can be seen in dogs that have more “hair-like” qualities (Poodles, Bichon Frises, terriers). Cats will not usually lose fur though some may lose their whiskers.
Comprehensive Cancer Care Under One Roof
Treating cancer is not always a straight-forward endeavor, and no two cancers – or pets – are the same. That is why PetCure Oncology approaches every new patient as an individual that deserves their own customized treatment plan. For some, only one treatment modality (chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy) may be recommended. For many others, a multidisciplinary approach involving a combination of treatments may be recommended to achieve the best possible outcome.
With medical oncology and radiation oncology working together, we are proud to offer a full complement of cancer therapies under one roof at every PetCure-affiliated location. This ensures access to the best possible treatment options for your pet, all in one place.