Receiving a cancer diagnosis for your pet can be incredibly frightening and stressful.
It can seem like each new piece of information brings more questions than answers. At IVC, our primary focus is to get your pet as comfortable as possible, and to develop a personalized, effective treatment plan that is centered on your pet and your family’s specific treatment needs. Since every pet is different, every treatment plan is personalized and tailored to the individual receiving it.
How I approach oncology
In most spaces (both human and veterinary), the language of oncology is the language of war.
We refer to new therapies as “new weapons in the war on cancer,” celebrate patients as “cancer fighters” or “cancer warriors,” and say things like, “she’s too strong to let cancer beat her,” “he’s never going to stop fighting,” and “cancer started this fight, but I will finish it”. We’re not wrong with this. For many patients, a cancer diagnosis represents the start of an internal war, and many draw comfort and hope from this analogy.
I have often considered what this analogy implies to patients who die of their cancer. For patients who “lose their fight”- could they have won if they were stronger or better soldiers? Are patients who enter palliative care “surrendering”? While of course the answer to these questions is no, they show the limitations of this cultural analogy. Any type of war has winning and losing sides, and significant pain and destruction occur along the way.
I practice oncology with the language of negotiation (or mediation) instead of war. My patients are not soldiers in a larger battle—they are individuals. They are Charlie, Harley, Blue, Andrew, Rupert, Honey, Kip, Plumpkin, and many others. Together, we negotiate for optimal comfort and time. We talk about what trade-offs feel right and safe, and what are the most important factors to protect. Everyone’s paths and choices are different.
We will be offering full in-person medical oncology services by the end of 2022. In the meantime, Dr. MaloneyHuss is offering oncology tele-advice services.
Tele-advice services involve a one-on-one video call with Dr. MaloneyHuss. These calls have a question and answer format. During the call, Dr. MaloneyHuss can discuss general information about particular types of cancer, general negative and positive prognostic factors, and different potential treatment options.
This is a useful way to learn more about oncology care for different kinds of cancer. It can help owners decide whether to visit an in-person medical oncologist for definitive treatment, or whether to pursue palliative care with their primary care veterinarian.
Without a physical exam, Dr. MaloneyHuss will not become a treating member of a pet’s health care team, and will not form a veterinarian-patient-client-relationship (VPCR). This means she cannot diagnose, prognose, or treat specific diseases without first meeting the pet in person. Tele-advice services are intended for general information purposes only. Any treatment plans must be designed and implemented by each pet’s treating medical oncologist or primary care veterinarian.
- Answer questions and provide general information about a type of cancer (such as lymphoma, osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, others).
- Provide general information about treatment options that can be considered and potentially pursued with the patient’s treating medical oncologist or primary care veterinarian.
- Answer questions owners have about general components of cancer treatment (staging, grading, definitive care, palliative care, chemotherapy, humane euthanasia, others).
- Design specific treatment plans for individual pets, provide treatment, prescribe medications.
- Provide specific prognostic information about an individual pet.
- Replace ongoing care by a veterinarian with an existing VPCR.
For pet owners, tele-advice services with Dr. MaloneyHuss can be scheduled here:
Schedule an appointment
Tele-advice calls are up to an hour in length, and are priced on a sliding scale. We will not request medical records from your veterinarian—owners are encouraged to submit any relevant documents and images through the above portal when scheduling. No formal recommendations or paperwork will be provided after the session. Owners are encouraged to take notes during the session, and prepare questions ahead of time.
For owners who pursue tele-advice services, Dr. MaloneyHuss is available to speak directly with each patient’s primary care veterinarian. Please be sure to include your primary care veterinarian’s name and contact information in the intake form when scheduling a session, and Dr. MaloneyHuss will reach out after the call.
Dr. MaloneyHuss is also available to consult directly with veterinarians about any oncology patients under their care. This is free of charge. To set up a time for this, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.