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Frequency Asked Questions (FAQS) » Owners

My veterinarian wants to refer me to you because my pet was recently diagnosed with cancer. What do I do now?

It can be very difficult to find out that a family member has cancer. The last thing you need is to be trying to get your pet the care they need only to run into confusion and stress. To help you through this difficult time we have provided a brief explanation of our referral process.

To ensure that we appropriately schedule your initial visit with us we ask that your referring veterinarian provide us with some information. This information is faxed to us on our Referral Form. It provides us with your name and how we can contact you, information about your pet, and some important medical information such as the diagnosis, recent blood work and other lab results that will give us a better understanding of the case. After we receive this information it is reviewed by one of our Oncologist's and the appropriate scheduling for your appointment is determined.

All cancer patients need care and treatment, but not all cases are the same. Some patients, such as ones that have just had surgery, need time to heal before they are seen by us. Other cases are scheduled to be seen in the next available appointment slots.Some cases are much more serious cases and may need to be seen sooner and we need to rework our schedule. And then there are cases where the patient may not be ready to be seen by us, and we may recommend some additional care or treatment be provided by your veterinarian before you come see us.

Once we have reviewed your case with your veterinarian, you can call to set up an appointment.

I have been referred to you, but I'd like to talk to someone before I schedule an appointment. Can I speak to someone in oncology before the appointment?

You can contact the oncology group through the hospital number at 865-974-8387. One of the oncology technicians can answer your general questions with advice from the oncologist on duty if necessary. Specific questions about the prognosis and treatment of a specific patient require evaluation before giving an opinion.

How long will I have to wait for an appointment?

Availability of appointments depends on how many referrals we receive each week. We work with our newly referred clients to try and schedule the first appointment at a time that is convenient for you. We make every effort to see all new referrals as timely as possible. Most new patients can be seen within one week of the time we receive the completed referral from your veterinarian.

Do you have any registration information that I need to fill out before my appointment begins?

Yes you will need to be registered into our hospital system before the appointment. For this reason we require you to be in our lobby at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time. Your appointment with the doctor cannot begin until you have completed the registration process.

What do I need to prepare for my visit to UTCVM?

We see you as the most important member of the health care team because you know your pet best. In order for us to provide the best treatment plan, we need to clearly and completely understand the medical history and the treatment that your pet has had to date.

Please bring the following items to your appointment:

  1. Medical records and written reports
  2. Referring veterinarian contact information, and Primary veterinarian contact information if it is different from the Referring information
  3. A list of current medications: This includes all prescription medications, over the counter medications, alternative medications, and supplements
  4. Radiology tests: This includes X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, and ultrasounds.It is important that our radiologists review the actual films, either in hard copy or digital format, in addition to the written reports
  5. Pathology Reports: If your pet has been diagnosed with cancer, then a pathologist or your referring veterinarian has already made a diagnosis by reviewing a biopsy or tumor specimen. Please bring the pathology report if you have it. If you have the slides or biopsies please bring them as well.
  6. Questions: It is always a good idea to bring a list of questions to ask our oncologists. In addition, we encourage patients to bring a family member or significant other to help you take notes, ask questions and be available for support. Here is a list of suggested questions:
    • What will happen during my first appointment?

      This is a very difficult question to answer because there can be so many ways the appointment can progress. The first appointment begins with us getting more familiar with you and your pet. We go over the information provided by your veterinarian and when necessary get more information from you about your pet. We will do a brief physical examination, and then talk to you about your pet's specific cancer, the survival time information related to the cancer, and what treatment options may be available. We will also discuss the cost of treatment with you. The next step will be based on your goals and decisions.

    • Do I need to bring my pet with me for the initial visit?

      Yes. We would like to examine your pet to better assess the different treatment options that are available.

    • How long will my first visit last?

      We generally schedule our new client visits for one hour. The actual appointment may be longer or shorter depending on decisions made during the appointment.

    • Will any tests be done during the first visit?

      Additional tests that may be needed depend on the individual case. In some cases the information provided by your referring veterinarian is sufficient for us to proceed. In other cases, we may suggest additional staging such as radiographs (x-rays), a CBC (complete blood cell count), chemistry panel, or even an ultrasound or CT scan. Some of these tests can be done during your visit while others may need to be scheduled for a different day depending on availability. During your visit we will discuss any additional staging needed, the costs, and when we would be able to schedule the tests.

    • How much will the first visit cost?

      The cost for your initial meeting with the doctor will be about $125.00. Beyond that, the costs for any staging and treatment will be discussed and approved by you during the consultation. The cost will depend on the tests needed, the drugs used, and the frequency of treatment. All of this will be discussed during the first visit and throughout the course of treatment whenever changes are necessary.

    • Will my pet get chemotherapy or radiation as part of the first visit?

      There are different factors that will determine the answer to this question. Some cases require additional tests be performed before an appropriate treatment plan can be developed. For some cases the owners want more time to make their decision, and therefore are not ready to begin treatment. And in other cases, after discussing and accepting a treatment plan, the owner is ready to begin treatment and may select to begin treatment immediately. So the answer is that it is dependent on the particulars of the case, and your readiness to begin.

    • When is payment due for the treatment my pet will receive?

      Payment is due at the time services are provided.