Advances in the field of veterinary oncology are continuously being made with the most important goal being quality of life for our companion animals. The oncology service at Peak Veterinary Referral Center strives to educate clients and referring veterinarians about the biology of cancer, the staging process, treatment options, and prognosis for dogs and cats with various types of malignancies.
We understand that when a pet is diagnosed with cancer it can be a difficult and emotional journey for clients. With Dr. Knapik’s advanced knowledge, she is able to help clients make the best possible decisions regarding treatment. She understands that every case is unique, and works closely with referring veterinarians to provide the highest level of compassionate cancer care. Peak Veterinary Referral Center provides a unique collaborative effort between specialists to offer patients with cancer the most comprehensive and innovative care possible.
Oncology services provided at Peak Veterinary Referral Center include:
– Diagnosis and management of cancer in dogs and cats
– Cancer staging
– Chemotherapy administration
– Molecular targeted therapies
– Consultation and referral for radiation therapy
THE FIRST VISIT: WHAT TO EXPECT
oncology – what to expect at your first appointment
Most pets referred to the Oncology Service already have a diagnosis of cancer. Sometimes cases are referred when there is a high suspicion of a particular cancer, and we can help confirm that diagnosis with additional tests.
During the initial oncology evaluation, an oncologist will review your pet’s medical records, perform a physical examination and then discuss your pet’s medical condition with you. This discussion will include the specific diagnosis, treatment options, costs, and overall prognosis. You may only elect a consultation at the initial visit, but options for staging will likely be discussed with you as well.
The next step after a diagnosis of cancer is a “staging” evaluation. This involves performing tests to determine the extent of cancer in the patient. The tests required for staging are determined by the tumor type, physical examination, and previous medical record findings. These tests may consist of bloodwork, urinalysis, x-rays, ultrasound, 3-dimensional imaging (MRI or CT), and lymph node evaluation. Staging provides the oncologist with important prognostic information that will guide treatment recommendations for your pet. Some staging tests may have already been performed by your primary care veterinarian, and we will only repeat these tests if medically indicated. This initial evaluation typically takes a few hours; but in some cases it can require up to a full day or longer. Subsequent treatment visits generally require much less time depending on the particular treatment and testing required.
After the staging tests are complete, the oncologist will review the results with you, review the treatment options, and develop a treatment plan. Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, or a combination of cancer treatment options may be recommended. Treatment can oftentimes be started at the first visit.
Please be sure to have your pet’s medical records faxed over to Dr. Knapik before your first appointment, including your pet’s biopsy or cytology report, any recent blood work or other diagnostic tests, and medical notes. Please bring any x-rays or other imaging files for review if they cannot be sent electronically before the appointment.
Dr. Kendra Knapik obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and her DVM from Colorado State. Kendra then completed a one year general internship at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey. She completed her residency in oncology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2011.
Kendra’s roots in veterinary medicine and Vermont run deep. Kendra is originally from Colchester, Vermont. Dr. Jon Stokes (of Green Mountain Animal Hospital) is Kendra’s Uncle. Ansel Carnahan was Kendra’s great Uncle. He owned a mixed animal practice in Montpelier. Kendra lives with her husband, two children, 2 cats, 2 dogs, and 4 chickens in Waterbury, VT.
ABOUT THE ONCOLOGY NURSES
Kim has worked in veterinary medicine for over 15 years. She is a Certified Veterinary Technician who graduated from Vermont Technical College at the top of her class in 2001. She also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science from the University of Vermont. Before becoming an oncology nurse, Kim had extensive experience in biomedical research, as well as working as an emergency and overnight care veterinary technician. One of the reasons Kim loves her job as an oncology nurse is the opportunity to help educate clients about the many options available today for cancer patients.
Bethany is a Certified Veterinary Technician and graduated from Vermont Technical College in 2009. Before becoming an oncology nurse, Bethany worked in general practice in addition to emergency and critical care. Born and raised in beautiful Berkshire, Vermont she shares her home with her husband, daughter, and standard poodle Brie. What Bethany loves about being an oncology nurse is building strong relationships with patients and their owners.