Veterinary professionals around the world rate their oncology knowledge at just five out of ten, according to a survey by the newly formed Oncology Working Group (WOW) of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). The average score varied by language, with Chinese-speaking respondents rating their knowledge at the highest level (6.6) and Ukrainian respondents at 4.2. In contrast, respondents ranked the true importance of oncology cases for their practice at seven out of ten, with minimal variation (6.3-7.7) between languages.
Nearly 2,000 veterinary professionals from around the world, 95% of whom are veterinarians, responded to the survey in ten languages, in September and October 2021. The results will help the WOW Group prioritize its efforts to educate and support members of the WSAVA globally in improving standards of care. for veterinary oncology patients.
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Respondents were also asked to rank the most common tumor types seen in their practice. The most common response was breast tumor (81%); followed by a skin tumor at 75%; abdominal tumor 40%, malignant lymphoma 39% and other tumors 5%. For example, in some parts of the world, the incidence of breast tumors is lower due to early sterilization culture.
Surgery was the most common treatment used in private practice at 55%; followed by surgery and adjuvant treatment in 30% of cases; chemotherapy in 7% and palliative care in 4%. Immediate euthanasia was recommended in 1% of cases.
While chemotherapy is currently only used by 7% of respondents, when asked what educational resources would be most helpful to them, chemotherapy protocols were asked by 82%. In addition, 53% requested information on tumor stage, cytological support was requested by 51%, information on side effects of treatment by 38%; advice on surgical margins 36%, radiotherapy 24% and palliative care 6%.
“Cancer is increasingly common in companion animals, with nearly 50% of dogs over the age of 10 developing this devastating disease. To effectively support WSAVA members in treating oncology patients, we wanted to know where they needed help the most, ”explained Dr Jolle Kirpensteijn, former WSAVA president and member of the WOW group. “Our survey is the largest ever conducted by the WSAVA and shows the reach of this well-respected association, which strives to share best practices in pet veterinary care around the world. “
He added, “It is salutary to see the huge demand for training in veterinary oncology around the world. We have a lot to do, but we are thrilled to have the opportunity to support WSAVA members and bring new hope to oncology patients and their owners around the world.