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New Oncology Service at The Ralph!

We had always planned to include an Oncology service here at The Ralph though not quite this soon after opening. However, over the last eight months, this has been one area of veterinary medicine where we have not been able to serve our patients, their carers or our referral community. This did not sit well with us. Serendipity being what it is, our path crossed with Stefano’s and we were able to extend our services.

Introducing our new Oncology Service and Ralpher Stefano Zago

Stefano joins us with oodles of experience in caring for patients with cancer, and an interesting history of working with animals across the globe. He was born and raised in Italy and studied in Parma graduating with Honours. Following graduation, Stefano attended military service with the Presidential Horse Guards as a veterinary officer. Following a Master’s degree in Tropical Veterinary Medicine at The University of Edinburgh, Stefano worked with the United Nations in Somalia, Malaysia and Guyana in wildlife management dealing mainly with rhinos, orangutans and crocodiles. Stefano returned to the UK to care for companion animals and completed a Master’s in Clinical Oncology at the University of Birmingham. He has worked in a number of busy referral practices since 2015 managing and treating small animal oncological cases. Stefano enjoys all aspects of medical oncology and has a specialist interest in lymphoma, haemangiosarcoma and metronomic chemotherapy. In his spare time, Stefano is a keen biker and is an avid fan of Valentino Rossi and Ferrari. He likes cycling, volleyball, badminton and scuba diving. He also has a private pilot’s licence!

Stefano will be leading the Oncology Service which will provide diagnoses, treatment, and care for dogs and cats with cancer. Following the diagnosis of cancer, it can be a very distressing and confusing time for both pet and carer. We provide clear information, advice and guidance along every step of the patient’s journey. We are passionate about providing the best quality of life for all our patients, and this is a key part of the care we provide to our oncology patients. We do this by using effective treatment and minimising their possible side effects. We also help practices and members of the veterinary community to support their clients and their pets.

Our Oncology service works in particular with our Diagnostic Imaging and Surgery services. This multidisciplinary approach helps us to provide a tailored and comprehensive care plan.

Stefano providing an introduction to the chemotherapy hood (used to prepare chemotherapy treatments) to his fellow Ralphers

We are happy to discuss and accept referrals for the following aspects of oncology:

  • Investigation of suspected neoplasia
  • Clinical staging of neoplasia
  • Surgical oncology (including biopsies and tumour removal)
  • Therapeutic options and expectations

We provide the following medical therapies:

  • Conventional chemotherapy: uses the same drugs as are used in humans with cancer. But we reduce the dosages, simplify the protocols and extend the treatment intervals. This allows our patients to go through treatment usually with little to no side effects.
  • Metronomic chemotherapy: the administration of a small, usually daily, dose of drugs. This approach works by inhibiting the tumour’s ability to develop its own blood vessels. This limits its growth.
  • Targeted molecular therapies: tyrosine kinase inhibitors differ from conventional chemotherapy. They work by binding to specific receptors on cancerous cells. This prevents the cancer cells from dividing and growing which slows or stops the growth of the tumour.
  • Immunotherapy: uses the body’s immune system to fight the cancer. We offer melanoma and lymphoma vaccines as treatments for these types of cancer.

Common chemotherapy treatments and types of cancer treated include:

  • Measurable tumours sensitive to chemotherapy (e.g. lymphoma).
  • Adjuvant therapy to eradicate occult micrometastases (e.g. following the amputation of a limb due to osteosarcoma).
  • Neoadjuvant therapy to downstage sensitive tumours or those with difficult margins before surgery (e.g. mast cell tumours).
  • Palliative therapy for unresectable or metastasised tumours (e.g. bladder transitional cell carcinoma).

If you require any advice or guidance, please drop Stefano an email at oncology@theralph.vet 

Thank you for taking the time to read about Stefano and our Oncology Service. Stay tuned for our next blog, as we share the latest news and stories from life at The Ralph.

Take care,

The Ralph Team

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