Animal Cancer Centre

Specialist oncology teams supporting pets and their families through cancer.

Vet Oncologists providing cancer treatment for dogs, cats and small animals.

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer in a beloved pet can be a difficult and emotional experience.

Our first priority when a pet comes to the Animal Cancer Centre is to understand the concerns of the people who love them, and to support families through the process of making decisions that are best for their treasured companion and for themselves.

Much can be done to help pets with cancer feel comfortable and happy, and sometimes a long-term cure is possible.

We believe it is just as important for families to feel empowered about the choices they make as it is to provide the best possible veterinary care for their pet.

Rosemary recovering from Radiation Therapy
SASH Dog Bruce

Communication with referring veterinarians is another important part of the care plan for patients treated at the Animal Cancer Centre.

This ideally begins before a pet comes to SASH; we encourage referring veterinarians to contact us to discuss diagnostic approaches and treatment options, so that we can work together, from the very beginning, towards the best possible outcomes for patients and their families.


Veterinary Oncology

The term oncology refers to the branch of science concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. It may provide some degree of comfort that the word diagnosis – “to know thoroughly” – is particularly meaningful for cancer. Due to advances in understanding, much more is known about different types of cancer and how to treat them to help pets live their best life. It is also reassuring that the experience of cancer treatment in pets is typically quite different to that of people. Many forms of treatment are tolerated well, with pets experiencing relatively few side effects.

SASH doctor holding a dog

The SASH Animal Cancer Centre

In our Animal Cancer Centre, we bring together teams of locally and internationally trained experts to provide a comprehensive, integrated oncology service incorporating:

Medical oncology
(interpretation of diagnostic information and treatment of cancer with medical therapies)
Radiation oncology
(treatment of cancer with radiation) and
Surgical oncology
(tumour removal and reconstructive procedures).

Importantly, these services do not operate in isolation. To provide the best possible patient care, our specialist teams work closely together, combining their expertise to assess each individual pet’s needs and determine the most appropriate treatment, or combination of treatments. In our state-of-the-art facility, all treatment options can be provided on-site, by our own highly qualified team members. As the Animal Cancer Centre is part of the Small Animal Specialist Hospital, we can also call on the services of other expert veterinarians and support teams that may be required for a pet’s care. These include specialists in pathology, veterinary radiology and anaesthesia, and 24 hour critical care services for patients requiring intensive support.

This complete suite of in-house oncology and complementary services, the first of its kind In Australia, is the result of a vision to provide everything that a pet might need for its cancer treatment, in the one supportive and caring environment. We believe that this integrated, multi-disciplinary approach to cancer treatment leads to the best possible outcomes for pets with cancer, and for the families who love them.

The field of cancer management is constantly evolving, and our expert veterinarians are highly motivated to stay at the forefront of understanding.

As well as being involved in research programs and communicating regularly with local and international colleagues, they meet regularly as teams to discuss and learn from the findings of others.

Veterinarians undergoing specialist training in our Animal Cancer Centre are also required to produce scientific publications as part of their professional development.

So as well as actively helping to develop innovative treatment options for pets with cancer, we ensure that our patients can benefit from discoveries made by colleagues in Australia and around the world.

SASH Dog Gabby

What happens when a pet comes to SASH for cancer management?

The key to developing the most suitable treatment plan for an individual pet is to have an accurate diagnosis and a detailed understanding of the degree to which cancer has developed.

For this reason, when a pet first comes to us, we may need to do further testing, even if diagnostic procedures have been conducted prior to referral. These tests include cell or tissue sampling, specialised tissue analysis (e.g. immunohistochemistry) and DNA-based testing (PCR).

The next step is to assess the degree of the cancer (e.g. the size and extent of a tumour) and to determine whether the cancer has ‘metastasised’, or spread to other parts of the body. This process is known as ‘staging’.

Once the type and stage of cancer have been carefully identified, we make recommendations for treatment and discuss these with the pet’s family, taking into account their personal wishes and individual situation.

Depending on the circumstances, the goals for treatment can include cure, ensuring that pets are comfortable and happy for as long as possible, and palliation.

In all situations, we strive to ensure that families feel supported and cared for, and to do all we can for the well-being of their beloved companion.

A summary of each of the three specialist services that make up the Animal Cancer Centre is provided below. A separate page providing more detailed information is available for each service.

Anyone wishing to know more about the Animal Cancer Centre at SASH is very welcome to give us a call.

Surgical Oncology

Specialist Surgeon
Specialist Surgeon
Specialist Surgeon

Radiation Oncology