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Additional Clinical Resources

In addition to core services such as medical oncology, surgery, radiation oncology, and interventional radiology, the Comprehensive Cancer Care service at Ryan Hospital offers additional cross-disciplinary resources.

Anesthesia

Penn Vet was one of the first veterinary hospitals to have anesthesia as a special department. Throughout the years, veterinary anesthesiology has followed human medicine with regard to providing the safest possible anesthetics, assisted ventilation and oxygen delivery, and constant monitoring and support of vital status. Penn Vet’s anesthesia staff members are responsible for understanding and monitoring EKG, blood pressure, pulse oximetry, and end tidal CO2 using state-of-the-art anesthesia machines, ventilators, and monitors.

The Anesthesia Service at Ryan Veterinary Hospital is a subsection of the Critical Care Service, along with the Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Service, and we collaborate with numerous clinical services at Penn Vet, including Comprehensive Cancer Care, Emergency/Critical Care, Dentistry & Oral Surgery, Neurology, Oncology, Radiology, and Surgery. Our faculty and clinical staff are all board-certified, and, over the past ten years, several of our nurses were instrumental in the development of the certification process for specialized veterinary nurse anesthetists. 

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Nutrition

Penn Vet is one of only a few veterinary schools in North America with board-certified small animal clinical nutrition specialists on staff. Nutrition is essential in managing any disease, either by providing nutrients to support a pet through illness and treatment, or by affecting the disease process directly. This is particularly true in pets with cancer. Nutritional assessment and intervention can result in changes in diet or feeding strategies that may improve quality of life or treatment outcomes. Penn Vet’s clinical nutritionists and oncologists are collaborating on research to determine the relationships between nutritional status and response to cancer treatment. Types and symptoms of cancer vary widely, and there is much conflicting advice available to pet owners regarding types of diets and particular supplements, ingredients, or nutrients. Nutritional counseling can help pet owners provide the best care possible to their pet.

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Radiology

Veterinary radiology at Penn Vet combines trailblazing research, outstanding education, and clinical excellence. Clinicians with specialty expertise provide clinical imaging and radiation therapy for Ryan Hospital patients. Our diagnostic imaging capabilities include digital radiography, fluoroscopy, ultrasonography, 16-slice helical computed tomography (CT Scan), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

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Intensive Care Unit

The Intensive Care Unit at Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital is dedicated to providing the highest quality care to critically ill patients. The unit is staffed 24 hours per day, 365 days per year by a team of board-certified faculty and specialty-trained technicians who work closely with residents, interns, and students. Sometimes cancer patients need stabilization in order to gain time to allow cancer treatments to work. The ICU team has particular expertise in managing frail cancer patients with problems such as difficulty breathing, bleeding from tumors, severe pain, or nutritional deficiencies. In addition, the team provides complete support to post-operative cancer patients during their recovery from life-saving cancer surgery, with a particular focus on cardiovascular stabilization, pain management, and heading off complications.

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Grief Support

In addition to offering comprehensive diagnostics and treatment options, the Ryan Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Care team is also committed to excellent communication and emotional support for owners of pets suffering with cancer. Founded in 2010 and led by Penn Vet’s highly valued grief counselor, Michele Pich, MA, MS, Cleo’s Caregivers Group is a support group aimed at helping those caring for chronically ill, terminally ill, or aging pets. Michele’s background in psychology and counseling, her experience in counseling people with cancer and their family members, and her expertise in the human-animal bond have influenced her work. The support group is named in memory of Michele’s loving dog, Cleo, who succumbed to cancer. Individual and family pet grief counseling services are also provided free of charge for clients via telephone or in person at the hospital.

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