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What You Can Do When Your Pet is Suspected of Having Cancer

You looked up the telltale signs and symptoms online. You took your pet in to their veterinarian. Now you’ve gotten the diagnosis… and it seems like your pet has cancer.

It’s something no pet owner wants to hear, but unfortunately, our dogs and cats are just as susceptible to this disease as we are. Pets are such a large part of their owners’ lives, that our reactions to hearing the news can be similar to when we hear about a human friend with cancer… people experience grief, panic, confusion. We here at VRC understand this unfortunate part of pet guardianship, and we also understand that you’ll have questions—up to and including the biggest, scariest question of all: “what should I do next?”

Get A Consult with a Veterinary Oncologist

The best thing to do when you hear your pet has cancer is to get a consult with a veterinary oncologist. Sometimes, this can take the form of a biopsy, but not all cancers are able to be biopsied. There are other ways to determine the nature of your pet’s cancer other than biopsies, such as x-rays, MRIs, and so on. Not all veterinarians have access to such things, and it may be that you need to find one with access to advanced cancer assessment technologies. Pet oncology is crucial, when it seems like your pet might have cancer, and take it from us—a multidisciplinary approach will help you treat your pet’s cancer comprehensively.

Develop A Cancer Treatment Plan For Your Pet

Once you and your vet understand the extent of the cancer, then it’s time to determine a treatment plan. There are often multiple ways of approaching treating pet cancer, including surgical removal, chemotherapy, or radiation. Sometimes we use a combination of these treatments.  Rest assured, at VRC we strive to offer a multi-disciplinary approach to ease your pet’s discomfort and promote their healing.

With pet cancer, the goal is of course to cure it, if possible, but sometimes slowing the progression of the illness is all we can do, prolonging your pet’s life while making sure quality of life is not compromised. That’s why it’s so essential to develop a treatment plan tailored to your pet and your pet’s disease.

We here at VRC Specialty Hospital are committed to developing treatment plans for pets to help treat cancer in pets. We’re specialists who utilize a host of technologies and approaches to cancer in pets, such as diagnostic imaging, medical and radiation oncology, and surgical oncology. Additionally VRC can provide holistic medical approaches such as acupuncture and herbal remedies. Just because your pet has been diagnosed with cancer doesn’t mean it’s a death sentence—cancer in pets can be successfully treated, and that’s what we specialize in at our center in Malvern, PA.

If you’re looking for help regarding your pet’s cancer diagnosis, call VRC in Malvern, PA today at 610.647.2950 for a comprehensive, specialty approach to your questions.

Summer Pet Safety Tips

It’s that time of the year where we all love being outside enjoying the summer, including our furry friends. But just like you, they feel the heat and it’s important to make sure they’re taken care of in the hot summer sun.

Here are some tips to ensure your pet’s safety and comfort:

1. Understand your breed

Although all dogs should follow these guidelines in the summer heat, some breeds are more susceptible to heat induced problems than others.

  • English Bulldogs
  • French Bulldogs
  • Pekingese
  • Boxers
  • Pugs
  • Shih Tzu’s
  • Boston Terriers
  • Any brachycephalic dogs (dogs with flat faces)

2. Be cool, drink plenty of water

When planning a trip to the park with your pet, pack plenty of fresh, clean water. Although different breeds tolerate heat differently, pets can dehydrate very easily!

It’s important to take time out in the shade and cool down. We recommend spending at least 15 minutes in the shade cooling down for every hour that you’re out in the sun.

3.  Stay alert, understand the symptoms of overheating

Be careful to not over-exercise your pets and keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot or humid. It is safest to exercise with your pet in the cooler hours of the day, either early morning or in the evening.

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Drooling
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting

4. Never leave your pet in the car alone!

Please never leave your pet alone in the car. On a 78-degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can reach over 120 degrees in less than 10 minutes. On a 90 degree day, temperatures can reach over 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes.

5. Party Smart!

We all love our summer pool parties and barbecues, just try to remember some of the dangers these parties can bring to your pet. Some of these tips seem like common sense, but it never hurts to have a little reminder!

  • Not all dogs are good swimmers, do not leave pets unattended by the pool
  • Keep your pet away from the grilling supplies. Charcoal, lighter fluid, matches etc.
  • Keep all food and beverages out of reach. Corn on the cob and ribs seem to be the main culprits in these emergency situations.
  • Make sure all garbage cans are secure and stowed away. Your curious and hungry furry friend does not care that all the corn is off the cob, he or she will still make a dashing attempt at these tasty garbage snacks.


We hope these tips allow you and your pet to have a safe and enjoyable rest of summer!

Preventing orthopedic injuries by Gayle Jaeger, DVM, MSpVM, DACVS

Tips for avoiding canine orthopedic injuries

By Gayle Jaeger, DVM, MSpVM, DACVS

As a veterinary orthopedic surgeon, I treat a range of canine injuries including soft tissue strains, sprains, and most frequently, cranial cruciate ligament disease, or ACL tears. By adding some simple activities, pet owners can prevent many of these injuries from occurring—and enhance the quality of their pets’ lives.

The biggest contributor to orthopedic injuries in dogs is obesity. Those extra pounds put stress on the joints and ligaments and put your pet at risk for a host of health problems. Controlling portions and taking your dog for regular walks will help your pet maintain a healthy weight and keep muscles, joints and ligaments in good condition.

Preconditioning is another way to help your pet stay limber. If you suddenly decided to take up jogging, starting with a 10-mile run on Saturday, by Monday morning you would still feel the pain. It’s the same with pets—weekend warriors are more prone to injuries. To help your dog enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle, take a tip from athletic trainers and incorporate the following into your routine:

  • Warm up and cool down—start with an easy walk before breaking into a run, and end workouts with a gentle cool down. Gradually increase the length of your walks and make sure not to overdo it in the heat.
  • Stretches and massages—gently flex and extend your pet’s limbs to keep them flexible and increase range of motion. Massage your dog (or cat) to loosen any tightness in the joints and muscles. Stretch your pet’s hips by “dancing” — supporting the front paws while your dog takes a few steps on his hind legs.
  • Seasonal activities—summertime provides fantastic opportunities to exercise outside with your dog. Swimming or walking in water, and walking on sand are great workouts for you and your pet. Just remember that these activities can be tiring, and your pet needs time to rest and recover.
  • Playful movements—if your dog or cat is recovering from an injury, or if you want to increase your pet’s agility, stretching and conditioning can be worked into everyday activities. Set up a simple obstacle course, such as a pillow in front of the food bowl or an object in front of the litter box. Scratch your pet’s hindquarters so she’ll shift her weight from one side to the other. Try a gentle tug-of-war. Climb stairs together or walk your dog in figure eights or uphill.


Maintaining a healthy weight, stretching before exercising, and staying playfully active are the simplest and most enjoyable ways to keep your dog happy and injury-free—and it’s good advice for you, too!