“People are always so surprised or shocked when we see it so frequently. If we can increase the awareness of it, even just those two tests can get an animal much closer to a healthy diagnosis.”
— Dr. Kim Radway, of Rocky Mountain Veterinary Ultrasound, about utilizing ultrasound and blood work for early detection of cancer in pets
They spend their lives as the ultimate companions, often times becoming like a member of the family.
November is pet cancer awareness month, shedding light on a disease that commonly affects even our furry friends.
Dr. Kim Radway, owner of Rocky Mountain Veterinary Ultrasound, serves the Yampa Valley with her advanced training ultrasound for animals, in the hopes of early detection of cancer and other diseases.
“It allows you to see all of the organs on the inside," Radway said. "Most of the time it doesn’t involve sedation or pain, you put the ultrasound right on the skin of the belly or chest. The amount of information you can learn from that is really amazing. It’s a huge number of conditions we can specifically diagnose or rule out using ultrasound.”
Radway said she uses a combination of blood work and ultrasound to see how well an animal’s organs are functioning.
“Just those two diagnostics together can answer many many questions,” Radway said. “You can take your list of why the animal might be sick from 20 possibilities to two or three.”
Radway works with clinics in Steamboat, Craig, Kremmling, Meeker, Aspen, Glenwood Springs and one week a month in New Jersey. Radway she is willing to work with all clinics in the area, adding about 90 percent of what she does is either trying to diagnose or exclude the diagnosis of cancer.
She said cancer in pets is unfortunately a very common occurrence.
“People are always so surprised or shocked when we see it so frequently," Radway said. "If we can increase the awareness of it, even just those two tests can get an animal much closer to a healthy diagnosis."
Radway said clinics throughout the Yampa Valley may be offering one of two deal packages to look for.
“I’m happy to work with any clinic and any clinician, so people don’t have to go to one special place, they can go to whoever,” Radway said.
The first package would offer a general exam, general blood work panel and an abdominal ultrasound.
The second package would offer an exam, general blood work, abdominal ultrasound and additional chest x-ray, to create a more total picture of the body.
Although prices will vary amongst clinics, Radway said she will be discounting her normal price she charges for the month of November.
Radway said the cost of a typical ultrasound generally ranges from $275 - $350.
Although not a primary care provider, Radway said she often gives consultation on a case.
Radway said ultrasound and blood work help with early detection for animals adding often times many diseases are difficult to diagnose because animals don’t give any clinical signs.
Radway said a pet may act normal and even if taken to a vet, they may not know something is really wrong until an animal begins to show clinical signs, but the disease is generally advanced at that point.
“Ultrasound allows us to pick up silent diseases earlier,” Radway said.
Radway said she recognizes ultrasound is an expensive diagnostic tool, and wouldn’t want pet owners to feel they needed to have it done every year.
“That’s probably not realistic for every person,” Radway said. “But if you have a dog 10 or older we consider that geriatric. You get two huge benefits you can establish a baseline. If everything is perfect, you now know what perfect looks like. You can come back and compare at 13 to see if anything changed. Also, if you have an apparently healthy 11-year-old who you wouldn’t think anything is wrong with, you wanted to be diligent and go the extra mile, and lo and behold, we find a problem we didn’t know existed.”
Radway said the above type of scenario happens often.
She said often times called in for a bladder problem and she’ll find a problem with the liver.
Radway said as part of pet cancer awareness month, she wants pet owners to know the understanding of types of cancer and their effects in pets is so much greater than it used to be.
“Not only do we diagnose better than in the past, but we also have some treatment options to offer,” Radway said. “There are many more treatment options available than we had in the past and that’s one of the reasons its great to think about getting a diagnosis, because we can do something about it.”
For more information visit www.petcancerawareness.org call your local clinic or contact Dr. Kim Radway at (970) 846-7538.
Darian Warden can be reached at 875-1793 or firstname.lastname@example.org