A Seemingly Healthy Dog Was Hiding Cancer

October 20, 2020

Multiple Specialties at Advanced Veterinary Care Center in Davie Collaborate to Bring Schaefer’s Cancer into Clinical Remission

“Schaefer had been a healthy, active dog with no unusual symptoms prior to his annual exam,” according to mom Janice.   It was during routine blood work for Schaefer, a super sweet standard poodle, that doctors discovered he had elevated liver enzymes.

dog at animal hospital
Schaefer at AVCC

Janice and her husband Charles took Schaefer to Advanced Veterinary Care Center in Davie. They met with co-medical director and board certified veterinary internal medicine specialist, Dr. Toll. After further diagnostics, a tumor was discovered on Schaefer’s liver. Surgery, however, would not allow for removal of the entire tumor, due to its proximity to a major blood vessel. So, the couple considered their options. “Doctors, nurses and staff take whatever time you need to talk with them,” says Janice about Advanced Veterinary Care Center. “They never make you feel rushed. They are listening and collaborating with you. And, they treat your animal like their own.”

Janice and Charles opted for surgery with AVCC’s board certified veterinary surgeon, Dr. Arulpragasam. The goal was remove as much of the tumor as possible. “Schaefer recovered very well from his surgery,” says Janice. “At the time, AVCC did not have an oncologist on staff for follow up care,” she adds. “So, we went to another hospital to start an oral chemotherapy. We don’t really know if it worked.“

dog looking out window
Schaefer at home

One year later, an ultrasound revealed a recurrence of the liver mass. Schaefer returned to Advanced Veterinary Care Center for surgery. Dr. Arulpragasam was able to cut off the new tumor from its blood supply. Now, The Cancer Center at AVCC was well-established and Schaefer was able to continue his cancer care with board certified veterinary oncologist, Dr. Piscoya.

Schaefer Begins Immunotherapy

Two weeks after surgery, Dr. Piscoya started Schaefer on the first of three autologous vaccines. These vaccines use Schaefer’s own tumor cells to create a personalized immunotherapy. “Dr. Piscoya will say to me, ‘we are trying to create soldiers to keep the cancer out,’” says Janice. “Any questions I have, AVCC will spend the time with me,” she adds. “Dr. Piscoya and Dr. Arulpragasam will explain from their medical perspective, but relay it in ways you can understand.”

dog on sofa with toy
Schaefer with his favorite pool toy

Now immunotherapy is complete and Schaefer has started an oral chemotherapy. “So far, so great,” says Janice!” Three specialties at Advanced Veterinary Care Center came together to collaborate in Schaefer’s care; an entire team of experts from internal medicine, surgery and The Cancer Center at AVCC. Janice and Charles are thrilled with the outcome. “We are so grateful to have been led to Advanced Veterinary Care Center. They care for Schaefer as if he were a member of their family. Dr. Piscoya is a thorough, knowledgeable and patient communicator. The whole team is caring, quick to listen, competent and helpful. You really feel like you are in good hands with a team that has a lot of integrity!”

Today Schaefer enjoys long walks in the morning and diving and swimming in the afternoons. Janice thinks back to how Schaefer’s cancer was discovered and has big advice for pet owners! “I didn’t see one sign or symptom of cancer at all,” she says. “You need to get your annual checkups for your animal!”

For a comprehensive guide to pet cancer care, click HERE.

The Cancer Center at AVCC is located in South Florida in Broward County.
8920 W. State Road 84
Davie, Florida 33324


The Cancer Center at AVCC offers the following oncology services:

Diagnostic tests including:

  • Fine needle aspirates/cytology
  • Bone marrow aspirates
  • Bone biopsies
  • Incisional and punch biopsies
  • Personalized genomic testing


  • Traditional chemotherapy (intravenous/intracavitary)
  • Metronomic chemotherapy
  • Targeted chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Palliative care and pain management
  • Hospice counseling
  • Nutritional counseling and referral
  • Referral for pet radiation therapy
dog on walk with leash
Schaefer on his walk

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