Cancers do not save our pets! February 4, World Cancer Day, spotlight on my daily veterinary oncologist. Dogs, cats, ferrets, guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, fish and other reptiles can be affected by these diseases.

Our pets with cancer can be provided by oncology specialists from veterinarians …

Diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This was my goal from the very beginning of my study in veterinary medicine, where I wanted to specialize very quickly in oncology, cancer medicine, this area so exceptional.

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Veterinarian oncologist, was a long and hard journey to obtain a title of European specialist through a 5-year training program that complemented the 7 years of first veterinary studies and a recognition of this title at national level.

Diagnosis and treatment of cancer. This is my daily life today. Much more than specialized veterinary medicine, I supervise daily animal managers, families, in the fight against these diseases.

In recent years, enormous progress has been made in the management of cancers in our pets, which can also benefit from oncological surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiation treatments (radiotherapy).

Every day, dogs, cats and new pets visit the consultation room, accompanied by their leaders, in a department of oncology integrated in a real veterinary hospital center, to receive a diagnosis of certainty and, above all, to be informed of all possible treatment strategies. I am not here to choose, nor to judge. Just here to propose a treatment plan that is adapted to each situation, taking into account all restrictions related to the exercise. Every consultation has the same goal: to provide the best care for the disease, with absolute respect for the quality of life of each animal.

There are those who come for the first time, often surrounded by tangible stress. And then there are those who come back, for some every week, to perform a chemotherapy session or perform clinical and blood tests.

Chemotherapy in pets is very different from what is done in humans. Side effects are much less common. The quality of life has improved during treatment and each animal can have a "normal" life span.

Likewise the beautiful Io, a gigantic Schnauzer full of love, treated for a high-grade lymphoma, a cancer of the "ganglia", for more than 4 months. On this specific day when we reach the last session of his chemotherapy protocol, and where Io, true to his habits, cuddles, communicates with the care team and knows perfectly how to claim his delicacies. On this specific day when clinical remission is confirmed and treatment is always carried out between games and treats, room will give way to regular clinical follow-ups. Io, who met his "chemo friends" in the waiting room, Happy, Freud, Fanny, and all the other animals.

David Sayag Preparation of a chemotherapy session

As a vet oncologist means having no day that looks the same! Between a CT scan or an MRI I can perform bone biopsies, guided by radio technology, perform electrochemotherapy treatment, prepare an immunotherapy for the management of a lymphoma or melanoma (a mouth tumor), to ensure the comfort of the hospitalized animals by to pay attention to caresses and games to them.

David SayagIo, a charming giant Schnauzer, followed in the oncology department for the management of high-grade lymphoma, poses here during his last chemotherapy session.

Each animal is unique and treated as if we were treating our own animals. That is why a large part of my days is devoted to the preparation of personalized treatment plans, in multidisciplinary consultation with surgeons, radiotherapists, imagers ("veterinary radiologists") or neurologists.

Often, conventional care (chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, surgery …) is supplemented by an adjustment of the diet and the implementation of complementary medicines such as herbal medicines. This is called an integrative approach, which integrates all care that can help to fight the disease.

David SayagThe work of multidisciplinary consultation is essential for the veterinary oncologist, such as during the administration of chemotherapy led by ultrasound (first picture with the imagers), or during electrochemotherapy in the operating room (second picture, with the surgeon).

David SayagThe work of multidisciplinary consultation is essential for the veterinary oncologist, such as during the administration of chemotherapy led by ultrasound (first picture with the imagers), or during electrochemotherapy in the operating room (second picture, with the surgeon).

On the often asked question, if I would rather have been a medical oncologist in a hospital for people, my answer is always without hesitation. The daily human exchange, the care for animals that always flow with affection, and offer them a life of quality, are for me the driving force of my exciting days. I would leave my place for nothing in the world!

Of course I am aware of the limits of veterinary oncology, and progress is still needed to generalize access to care for animals with cancer.

But knowledge is evolving rapidly. Each year I consult hundreds of scientific articles to maintain a specialist level, to participate in clinical trials to offer innovative care and to participate in various conferences with colleagues and other European specialists.

Cancers do not save our pets, but every day important progress is made in the implementation of appropriate care. Nowadays we manage to obtain a large number of remissions. Undoubtedly, tomorrow we will cure more cancer!

This article is dedicated to our animals with cancer and their masters, who fight daily against the disease: Joulia, Guizmo, Freud, Happy, Io, Jumper, Alaska, Picchune, Fanny, Kyllie, Basil, Gjecky, Minette, Bali, Buggy, Rogue, Choupette, Fonzy, Darko, Aaron and everyone else …

David SayagGuizmo, an adorable and greedy boxer, during a game session for his chemotherapy session.

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