Tell us about your background and how you got into the veterinary profession.
As cliche as it sounds, I’ve always wanted to work with animals and went through phases of wanting to be a marine biologist, zoologist, and veterinarian. My first job in high school was a kennel assistant at one of our local veterinary offices. Since then, I knew that I wanted to be a veterinarian.
I attended Mississippi State University for both undergraduate and veterinary school. To become specialized in oncology, I then pursued both rotating and oncology internships and residency training. I wanted to become an oncologist in order to be there for pet parents during a difficult time and provide them with various treatment options for their fur kids. As a team, we work through those options to determine what works best for their family.
What was your experience using Fidocure prior to joining the team?
FidoCure® gave me the opportunity to provide more treatment options for my patients, and I have used it in various ways. For those patients that did not tolerate traditional therapy, FidoCure® allowed me to continue fighting the disease using chemotherapy medications that had less risk of side effects. For others who had tumors where there are not many effective treatment options available, Fidocure provided new treatments showing great promise.
What was your most memorable case?
“Adley” Hurwitz is an older Rhodesian mix that was initially presented to our Surgery department in January 2020 with a 1.5 month history of coughing. Radiographs done with her family veterinarian were concerning for a primary lung tumor. She also had a mammary mass noted on the physical exam. Our Surgery department performed a CT scan that showed a 7 cm mass in the right lung and enlarged lymph nodes. Adley had surgery to remove the mass in early February, and biopsy showed a low grade pulmonary carcinoma that was narrowly excised. Chemotherapy was discussed, but her pet parents elected to monitor. Adley then had the mammary mass removed in March 2020; biopsy showed a low grade tumor that was completely removed. Unfortunately, Adley was rechecked in late April for coughing, and a new mass was seen in her right lung lobe. Given Adley was very nervous at the vet’s office, her pet parents elected to enroll her in oral, targeted therapy through FidoCure®. She started Lapatanib along with Prednisone for her cough. Radiographs were performed in late July 2020 which showed no evidence of her disease. Her Prednisone was stopped because her cough was markedly improved. Adley was last seen in June 2021 and is still doing well.
Why did you join FidoCure®?
FidoCure® is researching new, targeted therapies similar to those used in fighting cancer in people. These therapies are not only effective but fight cancer with less risk of side effects than more traditional therapies. I want to do my part to continue battling canine cancer and giving our furkids a good quality of life for as long as possible.
What would you say to doctors that are hesitant about adopting precision medicine and targeted therapies?
The use of these therapies is new in veterinary medicine so there is not much data. However, we know they are successful in human medicine, and I am optimistic the research we are conducting is going to show similar results in our patients.
Tell us all about your pets.
We have a house full that keeps us entertained and busy. Stella is our 9 year old German Shepherd who still acts like a puppy. She’s the biggest goof and loves any toy that squeaks. We have 3 cats: Budget, Carlos, and Blue. Budget is our easy-going old lady diabetic who loves belly rubs. Carlos is our big boy who knows how to sit and high five. Blue is our smaller girl who loves to snuggle. Our newest additions are two guinea pigs: Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff.
What’s the best piece of advice you have for dog parents who find out their dog has cancer?
My advice is to pursue a consultation and learn not only about the disease but also the treatment options available. Even if you decide against traditional chemotherapy or radiation, there are options that can hopefully give your dog a good quality of life for as long as possible.
You worked with Dr. Gerry Post, our chief medical officer, for many years, before joining FC. What’s the best thing about working with him again?
Dr. Post was a phenomenal mentor, and I learned so much from him during my residency. He has such an innovative approach to veterinary medicine and has always strived to bring these new therapies seen in human medicine to our field.
The world, and all of us with it, has been going through a particularly difficult time throughout this pandemic. Veterinary clinics and their teams have been especially stressed and overworked. What do you do to stay sane?
My wife and I enjoy wine tasting, movies, and streaming new shows. I also love reading, coloring, and yoga which all help keep me sane.
Do you ever think there will be a cure for cancer?
I think anything is possible and am hopeful that we will one day achieve a cure.