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Tumors in Animals: A Comprehensive Approach

Published on May 16, 2024

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Alessandro Rottoli – Medical Director

Introduction to Veterinary Oncology

Oncology is the branch of medicine that deals with the management of patients suffering from cancer. The tumor is simply a mass of cells which, following irreversible gene mutations, proliferates in an autonomous, purposeless and progressive manner to the detriment of the organism. 

Classification and Impact of Tumors in Animals

Tumors are divided into benign and malignant: the former tend to grow slowly and remain confined to an anatomical district, while the latter grow quickly and try, sooner or later, to spread beyond their site of origin. Cancer is the leading cause of death in geriatric dogs and cats; therefore, an increase in cancer patients has been observed in recent years. It is not yet clear whether this is the result of exposure to environmental factors or of increased life expectancy. 

Oncology assistance and treatment for dogs and cats

Cancer patients often require adequate assistance with complex and continuous treatment that not all facilities are able to provide. In recent years, enormous progress has been made in the oncology field and the patient, if adequately treated, does not inevitably have a poor prognosis. In the past, the diagnosis of cancer was immediately accompanied by euthanasia, while currently there is a great variety of therapeutic options which in most cases allow survival to be prolonged, guaranteeing an excellent quality of life and, in some cases, defeating cancer. disease itself. 

Diagnosis of Tumors in Animals: Factors to Consider

Accurately diagnosing a tumor is only the first step, after which you need to think about how to deal with it. To achieve this, several factors must be taken into consideration: biological behavior of the tumor and degree of invasiveness (grading), extension of the tumor (staging), presence of other concomitant medical conditions, willingness and predisposition of the owner in treating the sick animal, and own skills, competences and experience in managing a cancer patient. 

Advanced Veterinary Oncology Treatment Techniques

Immunotherapy represents the new frontier for the treatment of tumors and has the aim of stimulating the body's immune system against the tumor, exploiting some of its specific genetic characteristics as weaknesses. Naturally, although we try to target only diseased cells, unfortunately portions of healthy cells can also be irradiated, causing secondary effects which, together with the general anesthesia required by the procedure, represent the major contraindications to radiotherapy. 

Conclusions and Best Practices in Veterinary Oncology

In conclusion, the fundamental message is to avoid unnecessary waste of time in the diagnostic process, while on the therapeutic front we should try to offer the best option to cancer patients without sacrificing their dignity of life for any reason, because every good oncologist is always against therapeutic obstinacy. 

Veterinary Oncology Capacity of La Trinità

At La Trinità Hospital, our commitment is to provide world-class cancer care. Our advanced medical facilities, combined with a team of experts, allow us to offer personalized treatments that maximize our patients' chances of recovery, while always keeping the well-being and quality of life of each animal at the center. With a holistic and compassionate approach, we are committed to fighting cancer with the most innovative technologies and the most effective therapeutic strategies. 

To find out more about our advanced oncology treatments and the treatment options available, visit our dedicated page.

For Alessandro Rottoli – Medical Director

Written by:

Alessandro Rottoli

Health director

Veterinarian member of the specialist Society of Italian Veterinary Oncology (SIONCOV).
Graduated in Veterinary Medicine from the State University of Milan, Italy in 2008.
II level Master in Diagnostic imaging of dogs and cats at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Camerino (MC), Italy in 2013.

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