A significant part of the work in the Internal Medicine and Oncology service is to diagnose and treat various types of cancers. Our Oncology team is made up of Vets and Nurses that are dedicated to caring for each individual case.
Here Elsa, Frances and Kathryn give an insight into working in Oncology.
Elsa Edery DEDV CEAV IntMed MSc (ClinOnc) DipEVCIM MRCVS European Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine
Elsa graduated in France and moved to the UK in 2006. After working in general practice for a few years, where she was given the opportunity to practice solely in Internal Medicine, Elsa decided she wanted to focus on Oncology. She particularly enjoyed treating cancer patients and to increase her knowledge she enrolled in a UK Cancer Research-sponsored Master of Science in human clinical oncology at the University of Birmingham.
In parallel, she completed a Residency in Internal Medicine at Pride Veterinary Centre which allowed her to achieve the status of European Specialist in Internal Medicine in 2018. A large portion of her time during the residency was dedicated to medical oncology as she was sole oncology clinician at Pride Veterinary Centre at the time.
Elsa describes a case that stands out to her: “Many of our patients will succumb from their disease. Nevertheless, occasionally we encounter some dogs and cats with very advanced disease which have an exceptional outcome, like this 7-year-old Bloodhound I treated with metastatic oral melanoma, who recently celebrated her 11th birthday or a 12-year-old cat diagnosed with a nasal lymphoma that was treated with chemotherapy and went on to develop an intestinal adenocarcinoma two years later and continued to do well following surgery and chemotherapy one year later.”
Frances Taylor BVSc Dip ECVIM-CA (Oncology) MRCVS European and RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Oncology
Frances graduated from the University of Bristol in 1998 and worked in general practice for six years before undertaking an internship and then specialist training at University of Cambridge. She stayed at University of Cambridge for five years in all, as she continued to work there after completing her Residency. Following this Frances has worked in private referral practice and joined Pride Veterinary Centre in November 2017.
Frances chose to work in Oncology for a number of reasons; when she became interested in veterinary oncology there were very few oncologists, and overall there seemed to be a need for more specialists
in this field than were available at that time. It is a very interesting and quickly developing field, with exciting parallels with human medicine. Frances thinks overall the reason that she like it the most is that our main focus is always the quality of life of the patient, and always trying the best way possible to make sure that this is maximised.
Kathryn Robertson RVN, A1, CertVNES
Kathryn believes her role as an Oncology Nurse is extremely rewarding and challenging. Working closely with our Oncologists she gets to learn a lot about the care and treatments available for various cancers such Lymphoma, Mast Cell Tumour and Carcinoma. She is involved with ensuring Oncology patients have suitable imaging such as CT, Ultrasound or X-rays to complete a diagnosis. Kathryn also monitors the patient’s sedation or general anaesthesia for these procedures.
Kathryn enjoys the close contact and relationships built with pets and their owners during an emotional and challenging time. She says: “It is nice get to know our patients very well including things like the quirks and habits they have as well as treats they enjoy from our little snack cupboard after their treatment.”
Referring A Veterinary Oncology Case To Pride Veterinary Centre
Here at Pride Veterinary Centre we can do so much more for our patients when we work as part of a multidisciplinary team. Many of our patients need multimodality treatment, often involving surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and sometimes radiotherapy too.
Our Oncology department works very closely with the Soft Tissue department as a lot of our patients require specialist surgery to remove their tumour. The team particularly enjoy sharing experiences with colleagues as two brains are always better than one! As everyone has different backgrounds these exchanges are very beneficial and allow teams to make the best decision possible for each patient they see. The medical oncology team work closely with the surgery and interventional radiology team to deliver brand new treatments, such as tumour embolisation, which means we can treat patients who previously we had very limited options for.
Care For Veterinary Oncology Patients
We also have specific wards for Oncology patients to ensure that cytotoxic patients are cared for with great caution, as these patients are often very susceptible to infection we wear gloves and full-length gowns to protect each patient as well as ourselves.
Our chemotherapy drugs are also prepared in specialist room within a fume hood using a closed, needless system to ensure none of the drug is spilt. Drugs are carefully administered whilst wearing appropriate PPE to ensure everything is as safe as possible.