High-tech cancer care, pet rehab at CVRC

  • Thursday, September 4, 2014

CVRC now offers new, advanced cancer treatment for pets. PROVIDED

Charleston has topped many lists in recent years – for fine dining, hotels, friendliness, popularity with visitors, even as a haven for small-business start-ups. But if you’re a pet lover, did you know the Holy City also hosts the best emergency hospital for pets in the Southeast? That would be Charleston Veterinary Referral Center (CVRC) in West Ashley, which, according to the prestigious Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS), is one of only six animal hospitals in America to attain the society’s highest Level I ranking. There are fascinating reasons why CVRC earned that designation, starting with its innovation in cancer therapy for cats and dogs.

The center recently began treating malignant tumors in dogs and cats with a sophisticated new modality, electrochemotherapy or ECT. Electrochemotherapy delivers trains of electrical pulses to cancer cells shortly after injection of chemotherapeutic drugs. The pulses open pores in the tumor cell membranes making them more permeable and enabling better penetration of anti-cancer drug molecules to increase tumor cell kill. Animal patients undergo very light, short anesthesia before the procedure and typically require just two or three treatments, compared to radiation, which can involve more than 30 sessions.

More innovations in specialized animal care are seen in CVRC’s recently expanded Animal Rehabilitation and Fitness department. Dogs and cats that have sustained injuries, undergone orthopedic surgeries, and those overweight can all regain mobility, agility and fitness more quickly and safely in the center’s newly designed facility. Led by Dr. Jennifer Au, DACVS, CCRT, who is board-certified in surgery and rehabilitation, and rehabilitation therapist Dr. Artise Stewart, CCRP, the department staff just opened a rehab and exercise room complete with underwater and land treadmills, laser therapy, electro-stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, hurdles and more.

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