Oncology FAQs

Initial Evaluation

  • What tests will be done during my pet’s appointment?

For your initial evaluation at our hospital, you will meet with one of our oncology clinicians. During this appointment, we will review your pet’s previous medical history and complete a physical examination. From there, we will recommend additional diagnostic tests. These are tailored to your pet’s condition, but in general, staging tests will be recommended to allow us to assess to extent of the tumor in your pet’s body.

  • How long will my appointment take?

When you arrive at our hospital, you will check in at our front desk. When your appointment is starting, you will be greeted by our client liaison and taken to an exam room. One of our junior or senior veterinary students will start your appointment by doing a brief physical examination and taking a history. From there a clinician will join you to discuss our findings and recommendations. This process takes about an hour. From here, we will make a plan with you and let you know how long additional tests will take.

  • Will my pet need to be fasted?

Some of the procedures that may be recommended require your pet to be fasted. This means no food after midnight the day before the appointment. Free access to water is fine.

  • Do I continue all of my pet’s medications?

Please do not change any of the medications that your pet is receiving. Please bring all medications and instructions from your family veterinarian with you to your appointment.

  • How fast can we start treatment after my initial appointment?

The diagnostic work up that is recommended for each case will vary, depending on the complexity of the case. In general, a complete work up will take between 1-3 days. Results for these tests are generally available within 24-48 hours, with the exception of tissue biopsy, which will take 5-7 days. Once we have completed your pet’s initial work up, we can start definitive therapy. We will discuss the costs and timeline with you during your appointment.

  • If my pet requires a general anesthetic for staging procedures, can they go home the same day?

We try our best to discharge patients the same day as their staging tests. However, this will depend to some extent on the time of day that the procedure was performed and on how your pet recovers from general anesthesia. As a rule of thumb, our patients will need to remain in hospital for a minimum of 2 hours after a general anesthetic is performed so that they can be monitored for any issues with their recovery. If procedures are performed late in the day, or if your pet has a slow recovery, overnight hospitalization may be required.

  • How much will my appointment cost?

The cost of an evaluation with our oncology service is $160. From there, we will make an estimate for you for the diagnostic tests and treatments that are recommended. We require 75% of the estimate to be paid at the time that we admit your pet and the balance to be paid when your pet is discharged.

  • Can I visit my pet if they are hospitalized?

We can definitely arrange for visiting times for you to see your pet. We will discuss the times that we are able to facilitate visiting with you during your pet’s stay.

Additional Questions

  • If I bring my pet in on an emergency basis, will it mean that I can be seen by an oncologist sooner?

We understand that is very stressful to have a pet with a cancer diagnosis and we will see your pet as soon as possible. If you feel that your pet can not wait for the next available appointment because they are sick or in pain, we have two options to help facilitate your appointment. If your veterinarian feels that your pet must be seen urgently, please have them contact our service, and we will do our best to accommodate your pet. If we do not have any appointments available and you and/or your veterinarian feel that your pet needs to be seen immediately, we have a 24-hour emergency and critical care service available to assess and triage your pet. The emergency service can receive and evaluate your pet on an emergency basis at any time. After initial evaluation, the critical care doctors will consult with our service. Urgent and emergency cases will be transferred to the oncology service the following day. Cases that are not considered urgent or emergency cases will have basic diagnostics performed by the emergency service and will be seen by oncology in the next available appointment.

  • I am coming from out of town, can you expedite things for me?

We appreciate all of the effort and time that it takes to come to Gainesville for cancer treatment for your pet and we understand the difficulties of pursuing treatment at a facility that is away from home. Most of our clients are in the same situation as you. We will do our best to expedite your pet’s care as much as possible. However, we triage the treatment schedule based on patient need and availability of services. We can provide you with a list of pet-friendly hotels in the area, or we can keep your pet in hospital during their diagnostics and treatment, and communicate with you by telephone if you are not able to stay in the Gainesville area during work up and treatment.

  • I am interested in pursuing holistic therapies for my pet’s cancer. Can you do this at UF?

We have an Integrative and Mobility Medicine Service that can provide these therapies for your pet. We work closely with these practitioners to create a truly integrated treatment plan. Please let us know if you are currently treating your pet with holistic therapies during your visit and if you would like to arrange for a consultation with Integrative Medicine.

  • Do you have a payment plan?

We do not have payment plans available. However, we do accept CareCredit. You can apply for CareCredit at home before you come for your appointment. If approved, print out the acceptance page, or write the number down and bring it with you to your appointment. Please note, the person using the card must be an authorized user. Using a spouse, family member, or friend’s card is only acceptable if the card holder has called CareCredit and added you to the account as an authorized user. CareCredit is not able to be used over the phone.

  • Will students be working on my pet?

Because we are a teaching hospital, students, interns and residents are an integral part of our hospital and patient care. Most of the treatments that are administered including chemotherapy, cancer surgery and radiation are advanced, specialist level treatments, and our students will have a primarily observational role for these procedures. However, they are an essential part of your pet’s care at our hospital and will be your main point of communication for daily updates on your pet.

  • Do you have any clinical trials that my pet might quality for?

We have several clinical trials through our oncology service. We will discuss these at your appointment if your pet may be a candidate for a clinical trial. Visit the clinical trials webpage for information about the current clinical trials at our hospital.

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