Featuring Demian Dressler, DVM and Susan Ettinger, DVM, Dip. ACVIM (Oncology), authors of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide

Oncologist Definition

Oncologist: A veterinary oncologist is a veterinarian who has completed additional specialized training in conventional oncology. A general medicine and surgery internship is required, plus a residency in their chosen focus: chemotherapy (oncologist), surgery (surgical oncologist), or radiation (radiation oncologist). Once the internship and residency are complete – which can take three to five years – the oncologist must pass special exams to become certified by their college. For example, Dr. Ettinger is Board Certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, with a subspecialty in oncology. Oncologists focus exclusively on cancer and become very skilled at using their tool of choice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2008 (the last year for which data is available) there were 59,700 veterinarians in the United States. As of this writing only about two hundred of those are board certified veterinary oncologists, most of them located in large urban centers.

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