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Scottsdale: 480-320-3119

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Pet Cancer Treatments

Cancer Treatment in dogs and cats is an ever-evolving science. Just as in humans, new discoveries, techniques and treatments become available every day. At Arizona Veterinary Oncology, we are proud to offer more options and locations than anyone in the Southwest for your special friend and are prepared to help you make sense of all those options, so you can decide what is best for your family.
When we first hear that a loved one has cancer, it is really hard to focus on much else. The internet can be a wonderful resource but can also be very confusing and often contains information that is just not true.  We will help you to understand what the various options are, what the potential side effects of each one of those treatments will be and what the prognosis is for each option.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery for dogs and cats in the Southwest is only available at Arizona Veterinary Oncology. This very precise delivery of radiation can be used to treat many tumors, often before they are removed by a surgeon. It can be used to treat tumors deep inside the body in places that a scalpel just can’t reach (inside the brain for example).
 Patient Getting Radiation Therapy Using Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Conventionally Fractionated Radiation TherapyConventionally Fractionated Radiation Therapy is also available. This radiation involves multiple treatments for many different tumor types. This type of radiation has been around for many years and has a proven track record for many tumor types and can achieve a cure in some tumors.

Palliative Radiation can be performed for some tumors when they are causing pain or discomfort to your pet. This radiation is not associated with many side effects and can increase comfort within days in many cases.


Chemotherapy in pets
is a really wide topic that includes both oral and injectable medications that intend to stop the spread of many tumors and in some cases, get rid of the tumor all together. Dogs and cats tend to tolerate chemotherapy far better than people for a number of reasons. It is unusual for our pets to get sick from chemotherapy and they rarely lose their hair. Just as in our human counterparts, we are constantly improving on the types of drugs we have available and their effectiveness.


Immunotherapy is probably the most talked about topic in cancer treatment today. The body doesn’t recognize cancer cells as anything but our own and as such, does not do anything to stop them. The basic idea behind immunotherapy is to help the body identify these abnormal cells so that its own defense mechanisms can fight the cancer. While quickly growing, to date we only have a small number of cancers where this is useful so far.

Cryotherapy is used to freeze certain tumors. This type of therapy is often used for skin tumors that are caused by the sun or other small tumors.

Strontium-90 radiation is used to administer large doses of radiation to very superficial tumors. This treatment, like cryotherapy, is often used for tumors caused by the sun.

Radioactive Iodine-131 (I-131) is the safest and most common treatment for cats with hyperthyroidism. Other than surgery, it is the only treatment that actually addresses the problem (an abnormal growth of thyroid cells). Other treatments like methimazole and iodine-restricted diets are mere Band-Aids that serve only to eliminate the signs and symptoms but do not solve the problem. Arizona Veterinary Oncology is the only provider in Phoenix to treat these cats based on imaging of the disease (as opposed to a common dose given to all cats).

Radioactive Iodine 131 Treatment For Cats 
Besides having multiple board-certified doctors specializing in the treatment of cancer, we work closely with other specialists. We have ready access within our locations to board-certified surgeons, internal medicine specialists, radiologists, cardiologists, dermatologist, dentists, critical care specialists and ophthalmologists. We also work with other specialists including neurologists and nutritionists that are just a phone call away. Because of this, Arizona Veterinary Oncology offers the most complete selection of options available to treat cancer in dogs and cats in the Southwest.

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Client Recommendation

Dr. Venable and her staff were mentioned in a local magazine, Troon Living, when a client's dogs were selected as Troon's Pet of the Month

Congratulations to AVO for Winning Mid-Size Business of the Year

The Gilbert Chamber of Commerce announced yesterday the recipients of the 2019 Annual Business Awards and recognized Chamber leaders at a luncheon.

Individual nominees were eligible for categories including Chamber Volunteer of the Year, Foundation Volunteer of the Year, Gilbert Leadership Award, and Businessman or Businesswoman of the Year. Business nominees were eligible for categories including Employer of Choice and Large, Mid-Size, or Small Business of the Year.  


As we continue to live with COVID-19, we have an obligation to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
At each of our hospitals we have implemented additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures that meets or exceeds CDC recommendations, to include disinfecting all surfaces more frequently, especially surfaces touched by the public, such as door handles, pens, clip boards, etc. Our staff are frequently washing hands, using gloves and face masks and are avoiding touching our faces, and we encourage you to do the same. We will also not be shaking hands or hugging to prevent viral transmission.

Please do not personally come to our hospital with your pet if you or a member of your family have a fever, cough, or cold-like symptoms. Please stay home, tend to yourself and send your pet with another person who does not live in the same house to be treated. If you are ill and cannot find another person to bring in your pet, please inform us so that we can take special precautions. 

To limit exposure, call us to inform us you are here. You can also text us at that same number (480.327.6690). You can remain in your vehicle or you can exit your vehicle but stay at least 6 feet from any other persons. A technician will call you to complete the admission questions in regards to your pet and once complete, will come out to get your pet. After the doctor completes the exam, you will get another call to discuss findings or you may be asked to join via Zoom. You will need to upload that app onto your phone. We realize that this is not ideal, but we are following recommendation from the CDC. 

Our hope is to allow clients back into the facility starting June 1 at a limited compacity. And, clients will only be allowed in if wearing a face mask. If you do not have a mask, you will need to remain outside. 

We may ask you to remove the pet’s collar and leash and we will use one of ours. You will need to bring your cat in a carrier and we may ask you to transfer to a temporary one. We will not accept toys, bedding, or other personal items for your pet.

These and other protocols are in place for the safety of you, your family, and our veterinary colleagues.

Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

Featured Reviews

- Dan C.

I can't recommend Dr. Boshoven and his wonderful staff highly enough. I am extremely grateful for the outstanding care my skittish ten year old cat Sandy received throughout the process of curing his hyperthyroidism via administration of radioactive iodine. Dr. Boshoven's credentials, training, and expertise are impressive. He is a good communicator and he explained Sandy's treatment plan in a clear, concise manner. His veterinary clinic is the only one in the Phoenix area that features a technetium scan which enables Dr. Boshoven to calculate a custom-tailored dosage of I-131 for each patient, ensuring optimal outcomes. I was particularly happy that Dr. Boshoven and his team were able to manage Sandy gently and very well even though he suffers from fear-based aggression related to the significant hardships he'd encountered before I adopted him. Dr. Boshoven's staff, notably Rudy and Allie, reflect the same high level of patience, professionalism, and compassion which he demonstrates. It was difficult for me to be separated from Sandy for five days, but I was comforted by the knowledge that I had left him in very good, kind hands. He came home cheerful and well, not in any way traumatized by his experiences at Arizona Vet Oncology. I am so happy that I can look forward to many more good and happy years with Sandy now that his hyperthyroidism has been cured. Dr. Boshoven and his staff are my heroes!

- Gayle A.

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