The future of veterinary oncology treatment, not just for animals…

The future of veterinary oncology treatment, not just for animals…

Sometimes I get very lucky, and this week is one of them times (much needed after the past 2 months) as I was invited to the grand opening of the new Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue Hospital in Surrey.

One of the things that I hate most about medicine is when the words “There is nothing we can do” come into play. Personally I don’t think these should ever exist, and yet when it comes to pets and animals they commonly are used. This was the start of change for the veterinary profession when after changing the face of orthopaedics Noel Fitzpatrick decided that something needed to be done about cancer.

Fitzpatrick opening - cutting the ribbon

As it was very well put today by Noel I’ll stick with it…

“Cancer doesn’t care if it is in your child or your Labrador; it is still a cancer cell!”

Yet though this is true, and many of the tumours seen between humans and animals are the same, animals do not get the same care that humans do. Whilst a animal shouldn’t be stuck in bed hooked up to tubes, it should still get the best treatment and chance of a cure as possible. And being different is where Noel has brought in one of the leading medical oncologists Dr Kevin Kow alongside two of the worlds best veterinary oncologists.

Fitzpatrick referrals reception
Fitzpatrick referrals cat ward

The building itself is amazing, and I really am jealous of the Surrey Vet School students that will get to learn and practice there. Everything is the most modern design using the latest in research to make it as relaxed experience for animals and owners as possible. From the cat wards where you can see every cat for monitoring but the cats cannot see each other through to a central prep area where everything is accessible from one easy space.

Fitzpatrick Oncology Prep Area

The last stop on the tour today was where the future is going to happen which is planned for 2016 when the UK’s most powerful animal linear generator will be installed. This will allow for high power radiation to be delivered accurate to very small areas within the body to help treat cancers of the brain, liver, spleen and kidneys.

The passion behind medicine

Last exam and the end of the vet school year…

I’ve never worked so hard in my life, had so many sleepless nights, and felt so utterly lost and without hope in my life. Someone once said that it was the getting in that was the easy part of vet school. After spending the past week fighting the massive urge to curl up in the corner, sleep and forget about everything today I managed to pass parasitology.

This subject has been hell for me, with the Latin species names, the sizes and the pure quantity of information it has been a never ending cycle of learning one thing to forget it after studying the next thing going round completely in circles.

My brain is mushed, my legs don’t seem to be connected to it anymore, and I can’t remember the last time I had a proper meal…

Upside is the year is over, 5th year starts on the 21st September and I am so excited, just about another 700 days of this vet school lark to go!

With that I am going find food…

Tearing the tips of a cat’s claws off…

Just imaging letting a doctor cut the end bones in your fingers and toes off… I found this story on Facebook today and just had to share. Blue Boots is doing fine now as far as I am aware…

Blue Boots. In 2013 Blue Boots was surrendered for behavioral issues including litter box avoision and extreme aggression. Fortunately, someone stepped in and Blue Boots went to a Specialty Purebred CAT Rescue foster. The vet through SPCR found the cause that explained everything, though most people would not have connected the dots, as Blue Boots’ original owner did not. See, years earlier, Blue Boots had undergone a 4-paw declaw procedure. It’s quite routine and widely accepted in the US and even vehemently defended. What you see in these photos are the deformed claws that were growing WITHIN and THROUGH Blue Boots’ paw pads.


In one study of declawed cats in a particular shelter, one vet found that 66% had left over P3 fragments from the declaw being performed improperly. 33% of them had more than 5 fragments. Of those with fragments, 45% had at least one fragment larger than 5 mm. 28% had a 100% fully BOTCHED declaw procedure, meaning they had bone fragments larger than 5 mm left in each declawed toe.

In the case of Blue Boots, he was 100% botched, meaning those bone fragments left behind in each toe also included a part of each nail bed. Over the space of time after his declaw, the ingrown claws caused constant pain and resulted in his litter box issues and his aggression. Again, his owners weren’t able to connected the behavior with the cause and he would have been killed.

If an individual MUST have a declawed cat, either due to the potential health risks of a possible scratch or due to the rules of their living arrangement, please consider adopting an adult feline from a rescue or shelter that has already been declawed. If a child colors on a wall, you do not cut off their fingers. You teach them not to. The same applies to kittens and training them to use an appropriate scratching surface. There are so many alternatives and humane solutions. This is not merely my opinion, but a truth based upon the research of countless veterinary professionals, proven statistics and studies done throughout the world. Declawing is now banned in at least 22 countries.

Personally this is a surgery that I consider cruel, we should not be modifying animals to fit our needs.