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Oncology
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Oncology at Willows
Willows is one the UKs only referral centres to have full-time Specialists in both Medical and Surgical Oncology. This, combined with a multi-disciplinary approach to the management of pets with cancer, enables Willows to provide the best possible levels of care for your pet. Clinical care for cancer patients is provided by Specialists in Oncology, Soft Tissue Surgery and Internal Medicine. All of whom are fully supported by Specialists in Diagnostic Imaging, Anaesthesia, Emergency and Critical Care, Clinical Nutrition and by our dedicated Interns, Nurses and Clinical support staff who provide 24 hour care, 365 days of the year. Patients with cancer often need intensive Veterinary and Nursing care. Willows’ Intensive Care Unit is equipped to the highest levels providing the best possible monitoring and treatment, enabling us to optimise the management and outcome for each patient.
Patients with cancer or cancer-associated diseases often need prompt investigation and treatment, at Willows urgent and emergency cases will be seen on the same day. Our Specialists are also happy to provide telephone advice to Veterinary Surgeons on the management of patients with cancer. All patients will have a detailed consultation and examination, which will include a thorough discussion with the owner. Additional investigations and tests are often required and may include blood tests, biopsies and diagnostic imaging in order to form an appropriate and tailored treatment plan.
At Willows we aim to provide a sympathetic and caring approach which takes full account of the owner’s wishes.
Improving the patient’s quality of life is our most important concern at every stage. From the first consultation our Specialists will remain in close contact with the referring Vet, both while the patient is hospitalised and following discharge. Follow-up care may be provided at Willows or it may be arranged for the referring practice to do this.
willows-cardiology-icon
Oncology at Willows
Willows is one the UKs only referral centres to have full-time Specialists in both Medical and Surgical Oncology. This, combined with a multi-disciplinary approach to the management of pets with cancer, enables Willows to provide the best possible levels of care for your pet. Clinical care for cancer patients is provided by Specialists in Oncology, Soft Tissue Surgery and Internal Medicine. All of whom are fully supported by Specialists in Diagnostic Imaging, Anaesthesia, Emergency and Critical Care, Clinical Nutrition and by our dedicated Interns, Nurses and Clinical support staff who provide 24 hour care, 365 days of the year. Patients with cancer often need intensive Veterinary and Nursing care. Willows’ Intensive Care Unit is equipped to the highest levels providing the best possible monitoring and treatment, enabling us to optimise the management and outcome for each patient.
Patients with cancer or cancer-associated diseases often need prompt investigation and treatment, at Willows urgent and emergency cases will be seen on the same day. Our Specialists are also happy to provide telephone advice to Veterinary Surgeons on the management of patients with cancer. All patients will have a detailed consultation and examination, which will include a thorough discussion with the owner. Additional investigations and tests are often required and may include blood tests, biopsies and diagnostic imaging in order to form an appropriate and tailored treatment plan.
At Willows we aim to provide a sympathetic and caring approach which takes full account of the owner’s wishes.
Improving the patient’s quality of life is our most important concern at every stage. From the first consultation our Specialists will remain in close contact with the referring Vet, both while the patient is hospitalised and following discharge. Follow-up care may be provided at Willows or it may be arranged for the referring practice to do this.
At Willows we aim to provide a sympathetic and caring approach which takes full account of the owner’s wishes.
Improving the patient’s quality of life is our most important concern at every stage. From the first consultation our Specialists will remain in close contact with the referring Vet, both while the patient is hospitalised and following discharge. Follow-up care may be provided at Willows or it may be arranged for the referring practice to do this.
Surgical Oncology
Our Specialist surgeons are experienced in the management of all forms of solid tumours and reconstructive surgery. Particular areas of interest include the management of mast cell tumours, soft tissue sarcomas, tumours inside the mouth (oral tumours), chest (thoracic) tumours, and tumours in the abdomen.

Fig 1: Soft Tissue Specialists performing key-hole surgery
Surgical Oncology
Our Specialist surgeons are experienced in the management of all forms of solid tumours and reconstructive surgery. Particular areas of interest include the management of mast cell tumours, soft tissue sarcomas, tumours inside the mouth (oral tumours), chest (thoracic) tumours, and tumours in the abdomen.

Fig 1: Soft Tissue Specialists performing key-hole surgery
Medical Oncology
Our Specialist Medicine clinicians can provide a range of chemotherapy (anti-cancer drug treatment) protocols for the management of cancer, tailored to each patient. Chemotherapy in humans often causes significant side effects. The drug combinations used in pets however are generally very well tolerated, offering a good quality of life whilst managing the underlying cancer. Our Medicine Specialists have expertise in managing a wide range of cancers including lymphoma, mast cell disease and bladder tumours, and in giving supplementary medical treatment for patients with osteosarcoma and haemangiosarcoma.

Fig 2: A patient undergoing chemotherapy
Medical Oncology
Our Specialist Medicine clinicians can provide a range of chemotherapy (anti-cancer drug treatment) protocols for the management of cancer, tailored to each patient. Chemotherapy in humans often causes significant side effects. The drug combinations used in pets however are generally very well tolerated, offering a good quality of life whilst managing the underlying cancer. Our Medicine Specialists have expertise in managing a wide range of cancers including lymphoma, mast cell disease and bladder tumours, and in giving supplementary medical treatment for patients with osteosarcoma and haemangiosarcoma.

Fig 2: A patient undergoing chemotherapy

Leading Edge Therapy

Our clinicians are involved in the use of some of the most up to date treatments including:

  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors; for the treatment of various types of cancer including mast cell tumours
  • Metronomic (low-dose) chemotherapy; for various tumours such as nasal tumours and sarcomas
  • Therapeutic melanoma vaccine; for treatment of certain melanomas
  • Electrochemotherapy
  • Stelfonta
  • Intra-cavitary chemotherapy; an anti-cancer drug delivered into a cavity such as the chest or the abdomen to maximise the concentration of drug where it is needed, reducing side effects on the rest of the body where it is not required.

Fig 3: Willows’ cutting edge Diagnostic Imaging equipment

Cutting Edge Therapy

Our clinicians are involved in the use of some of the most up to date treatments including:

  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors; for the treatment of various types of cancer including mast cell tumours
  • Metronomic (low-dose) chemotherapy; for various tumours such as nasal tumours and sarcomas
  • Therapeutic melanoma vaccine; for treatment of certain melanomas
  • Intra-cavitary chemotherapy; an anti-cancer drug delivered into a cavity such as the chest or the abdomen to maximise the concentration of drug where it is needed, reducing side effects on the rest of the body where it is not required.

Fig 3: Willows’ cutting edge Diagnostic Imaging equipment

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Facilities and Expertise at Willows?
Diagnostic Imaging: Willows’ cutting edge Diagnostic Imaging equipment combined with the Specialist expertise of the Clinicians and Radiographer are critical in making an accurate diagnosis and performing a thorough assessment of cancer patients. The information provided is invaluable in determining the outlook for each patient and the optimal means of managing the condition. All scans and imaging investigations performed are tailored to each individual patient.

Specialist-led Anaesthesia: Willows’ dedicated team of Specialist Anaesthetists are involved in the assessment of patients prior to sedation or anaesthesia and tailor anaesthetic protocols for each patient. This is very important in minimising the risk of the procedure, particularly in patients that are already ill and who may be undergoing lengthy and major surgery. Our Anaesthetists are also involved in pain management. Their expert help aims to make all patients as comfortable as possible, be it at the time of surgery or when managing any pain that might result from the underlying cancerous condition. In addition, our Anaesthesia team work closely with our multi-disciplinary Specialists in providing critical care to seriously ill patients in our Intensive Care Unit.

Nutritional Support: Willows is one of a handful of Specialist centres in Europe to have a board-certified Specialist in Clinical Nutrition who can provide advice on nutritional support of cancer patients. This may involve changes to diet (including tube feeding for patients that cannot eat), whilst in some poorly patients it may involve giving nutritional support intravenously.

Multi-disciplinary Specialists: Specialists from across our Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic and Neurology teams will also see patients with cancers in, for example, the eye, eye socket, bones, joints, spine and brain. Wherever required, they will seek the assistance of members of the Oncology teams to assist in the diagnosis and management of these patients, providing a true 360 degree approach to care of all patients.
willows-paw-vet-icon

Facilities and Expertise at Willows?

Diagnostic Imaging: Willows’ cutting edge Diagnostic Imaging equipment combined with the Specialist expertise of the Clinicians and Radiographer are critical in making an accurate diagnosis and performing a thorough assessment of cancer patients. The information provided is invaluable in determining the outlook for each patient and the optimal means of managing the condition. All scans and imaging investigations performed are tailored to each individual patient.

Specialist-led Anaesthesia: Willows’ dedicated team of Specialist Anaesthetists are involved in the assessment of patients prior to sedation or anaesthesia and tailor anaesthetic protocols for each patient. This is very important in minimising the risk of the procedure, particularly in patients that are already ill and who may be undergoing lengthy and major surgery. Our Anaesthetists are also involved in pain management. Their expert help aims to make all patients as comfortable as possible, be it at the time of surgery or when managing any pain that might result from the underlying cancerous condition. In addition, our Anaesthesia team work closely with our multi-disciplinary Specialists in providing critical care to seriously ill patients in our Intensive Care Unit.

Nutritional Support: Willows is one of a handful of Specialist centres in Europe to have a board-certified Specialist in Clinical Nutrition who can provide advice on nutritional support of cancer patients. This may involve changes to diet (including tube feeding for patients that cannot eat), whilst in some poorly patients it may involve giving nutritional support intravenously.

Multi-disciplinary Specialists: Specialists from across our Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic and Neurology teams will also see patients with cancers in, for example, the eye, eye socket, bones, joints, spine and brain. Wherever required, they will seek the assistance of members of the Oncology teams to assist in the diagnosis and management of these patients, providing a true 360 degree approach to care of all patients.

Meet Our Specialists

Dr Stephen Baines

MA VetMB PhD CertVR CertSAS DipECVS DipClinOnc MRCVS

Head of Oncology

RCVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery
European Specialist in Small Animal Surgery
RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Oncology

Chiara Penzo

DVM PhD Dip.ECVIM-CA (Oncology) MRCVS

RCVS Specialist in Veterinary Oncology
EBVS® European Veterinary Specialist in Small Animal Oncology

Claire Williams

BVetMed MRCVS

Veterinary Oncologist