The Oncology Service is open to receive patients for new evaluations and rechecks from 9:30 am to 1:30 pm Monday-Thursday, Chemotherapy appointments 7:30 am – 9:00am Tuesday and Thursday, and on Friday and Saturday for discharges only.
For emergencies, the Small Animal Hospital is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are located within the UF Small Animal Hospital, 2015 SW 16th Avenue, Gainesville, Florida 32618. Our Main Hospital Phone: 352-392-2235, FAX : (352) 846-2445 Emergencies: 352-395-2235 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The oncology service at the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital offers a new level of care for veterinary cancer patients from Florida and throughout the Southeast. Although cancer treatment has been offered at the small animal hospital for many years, for over five years the service has been streamlined and expanded to take advantage of the wide range of faculty, staff and resident expertise and equipment available both here at the small animal hospital and at the UF College of Medicine. Our team members work closely together and are motivated by the sincere desire to make a difference in your pet’s quality of life. We understand how difficult, even traumatic, it can be when your pet has been diagnosed with cancer.
When you entrust your animal’s care to us, we in turn commit to you our very best assessments of treatment options. Our veterinary specialists will work with you every step of the way, from diagnosis to treatment to recovery. We want to make sure you are comfortable with any decisions you make regarding your pet’s treatment plan. In addition to offering state of the art treatment, our group is committed to finding new therapies so cancer is becoming more treatable every year, we can prolong life, and even cure cancer in some cases. At the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, we have the best tools possible available to maximize the chances for a good outcome in our patients. Our primary goal is to make a difference in the quality of life for your companion animal.
Our team consists of world-class, board-certified medical and surgical oncologists, technicians, adjunct faculty in radiation oncology, medical physicists, as well as a trained counselor with expertise in patient/ doctor/student communication and bereavement support. We are one of only two veterinary oncology facilities in the world that is able to offer surgical, medical, and radiation oncology specialists and facilities under the same roof. This provides more immediate care for our patients and offers the benefits of the entire team treating your companion’s health communicating and working together during every step of treatment. We are one of only two veterinary centers in the world to offer a surgical oncology fellowship, using the most innovative and state of the art equipment available to treat our patients and to train future animal cancer surgeons. In addition, we partner both in our clinical and our research efforts with physicians and world-renowned researchers at the UF’s McKnight Brain Institute. In this way, the small animal hospital is uniquely positioned to take advantage of advances in human oncology to benefit our animal patients whenever possible.
What to Expect With an Oncology Visit
After checking in with a receptionist member of our client service team, you and your pet will be taken to an examination room by our client liaison. The Oncology patient care team is composed of a veterinary student, a veterinary technician, a oncology resident and a boarded Veterinary Oncologist or Surgeon. Your pet’s history will be reviewed, followed by an initial examination. Because of the educational aspect of our hospital and the complexity of the many medical problems seen here, we emphasize thoroughness in the evaluation of each animal. We will discuss your pet’s condition, diagnostic and treatment options, and will provide you with an estimate of costs. Since our evaluations are so detailed, please prepare for a longer visit than a normal routine checkup.
We provide life-saving surgical procedures to remove a wide variety of tumors. Among the most common cancers we remove surgically with very positive results for improved quality of life are mast cell tumors, soft tissue sarcomas, cancers of the liver, lung, bladder, thyroid and adrenal gland, oral tumors and bone cancers, to name a few. Surgical options for saving the leg when bone cancer has been diagnosed (limb-sparing surgery) are also available and will be discussed at time of consultation if appropriate. We also offer minimally-invasive stenting of the urethra to alleviate urinary obstruction due to cancer in dogs. Our surgeons are not only board-certified in surgery, but also have performed fellowships in surgical oncology. They truly are experts in the field of veterinary oncology.
Chemotherapy is routinely provided to animal patients by our veterinary oncology specialists, our team of oncology residents, and our highly trained technical staff. The decision to give anti-cancer drugs, or chemotherapy to a pet is probably the most anxiety-laden aspect of treating cancers because of the human experience. However, in cats and dogs the effects of chemotherapy drugs are significantly decreased and our goal is always to focus on quality of life. Chemotherapy can be used as a primary treatment for diseases like lymphoma or leukemia or as an adjuvant to radiation or surgery in various other tumor types. Our medical oncology team works closely with our surgical and radiation oncologists to optimize the treatment plan for your pet and customize the treatment to your pet and your family needs. The expertise also exists to deliver chemotherapy directly to the cancer, called intra-arterial chemotherapy, and this may be considered for certain patients.
Our radiation oncology program moved in-house into the Small Animal Hospital in 2011. The new Linear Accelerator with on-board imaging allows us to offer our veterinary patients the widest range of radiation treatment options in the Southeast of the United States. Historically the service had access to the human stereotactic radiosurgery facility at the McKnight Brain Institute which treated well-defined tumors responsive to a single dose of radiation—including some osteosarcomas, nasal, and brain tumors. This program is now run through the Small Animal Hospital, with the assistance of on-site human radiation oncology technicians and medical physicists. Tumors we are now treating with stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) include brain tumors, nerve tumors, bone cancer, nasal tumors, prostate, urethra, and bladder cancer, and also large tumors inside the chest where surgery would be too risky for the patient. In addition to this world-class service, we are now treating more diffuse disease, such as incompletely removed solid tumors, where fractionated radiation is recommended. This is either by conventional radiation techniques, or by advanced techniques such as Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT). We can also deliver palliative doses of radiation to make our patients more comfortable, for example to help with pain from bone cancer, or extensive non-resectable oral cancer.