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Integrative Oncology Consultations at OVRS

Dr. Erin Bannink, DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (oncology), GDipl VCHM, CVA (IVAS)

Dr. Bannink provides Integrative Oncology Consultations (IOC) to offer you a comprehensive and holistic approach to your pet’s care after a diagnosis of cancer. This informational sheet is provided to help you understand the experience you and your pet will receive during an Integrative Oncology Consultation with Dr. Bannink.

This service is unique to OVRS compared to other oncology clinics in the country. Dr. Bannink is one of only three board certified oncologist in the entire country actively practicing integrative oncology with herbal medicine and heavy emphasis on the impact of diet in your pet’s healing. OVRS offers a unique experience in that Dr. Bannink has access to state of the art conventional medicine diagnostics and treatments in a multi-specialty referral hospital, as well as extensive training in the use of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine interventions and significant clinical experience (over 12 years) utilizing these treatments either alone as a primary treatment or in conjunction with conventional medicine therapies.

About Dr. Erin Bannink

In addition to her board certification in veterinary oncology, she holds a graduate diploma in Veterinary Chinese Herbal Medicine and is certified in veterinary acupuncture through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS). Dr. Bannink lectures to worldwide audiences about Integrative Cancer therapy and has recently been featured in the documentary “The Dog Cancer Series”. She is also a certified Yoga instructor, leads a weekly meditation group in her local community and makes handmade jewelry in her spare time. This is all part of her personal self-care approach to life.

Why an Integrative Oncology Consultation?

An Integrative Oncology Consultation is scheduled to make sure Dr. Bannink has enough time to give you a comprehensive and appropriate consultation to educate you about the options for your pet (diagnostic, both conventional and alternative medicine), discuss prognosis so you have a good idea about what the options mean for their longevity and wellbeing, discuss specific diet recommendations, and have time to perform the tests and treatments elected, whether those be imaging or alternative medicine workup, conventional medicine therapies or alternative medicine therapies. In cases where specific anticancer treatment is not recommended or not elected, she will have time to discuss end of life care options and other actions you can take at home to help you get the most out of the time you have left with your pet.

Components of an Integrative Oncology Consultation with Dr. Bannink:

  • Discussion of additional diagnostics and staging tests which may be helpful for your pet
  • Discussion of Conventional medicine treatment options and prognosis with those treatments
  • Discussion of your pet’s prognosis with no treatment
  • Discussion of Alternative Medicine treatment options, specifically Dr. Bannink practices an expanded version of Traditional Chinese Medicine. This includes:
    • Acupuncture
    • Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine
    • Select supplements, western herbs and/or nutraceuticals
    • Vitamin D3 testing and appropriate supplementation
    • Options to monitor inflammatory markers in your pet’s body
    • Dietary interventions
  • Discussion about how diet impacts your pet’s health and wellbeing, and changes you may want to implement at home regardless of treatment elected
  • Perform elected diagnostics that are able to be performed the day of your visit
  • Formulation of a treatment protocol tailored to you and your pet’s needs
  • Initiation of these therapies the day of your appointment

You are never obligated to do anything, including tests or specific treatments. Many clients may elect alternative medicine or conventional medicine alone, or may elect to implement select alternative therapies such as diet change with conventional medicine without pursuing herbal therapies or acupuncture. The goal of an IOC is to present options so you can elect the treatment approach that best fits the goals you have for your pet’s care.

For those with a primary interest in alternative medicine, it is important that you have spoken with a board certified oncologist about your pet’s diagnosis and been given all the diagnostic and treatment options available, including the conventional medicine options. There are often new, minimally toxic, treatment options of which you may not be aware. This allows you to make the most informed decision about your pet’s care.

Good Medicine

This comprehensive approach is just good medicine; to inform you of the most appropriate and compassionate course of action based on your pet’s unique situation. Even for herbal therapies, this requires Dr. Bannink to know if the cancer is on the inside of your pet’s body, if it has progressed or regressed on the treatments you are already giving, and if there are other issues (like kidney or liver changes) that would change the herbal recommendations or options for treatment in general. Additionally, even if your pet has had diagnostics such as bloodwork, radiographs (“x-rays”) or an ultrasound in the past, if time has gone by (even just 3-4 weeks) things may have changed on the inside. Knowing the current state of disease is important for Dr. Bannink to offer you the best, most informed care based on your pet’s current situation.

Again, tests and treatments are never required. However it is important that you are accurately informed about all your options in making an educated decision for your pet’s care.

*If you believe you only want to see Dr. Bannink to discuss alternative medicine and are currently working with a veterinary oncologist, you are welcome to contact OVRS to see if your pet qualifies for this option. You must have recently met with a veterinary oncologist to discuss all conventional medicine options. We will need paperwork from that clinic sent to OVRS and may be able to make an exception for your pet if deemed appropriate based on this information, scheduling a Complementary & Alternative Medicine Consultation (this is called a CAM consultation cost: $285 - deposit required). Dr. Bannink, however, prefers that you make an IOC (Integrative Oncology Consultation) as she won’t necessarily practice exactly the same way someone else does. An Integrative Oncology Consultation (this is called an IOC; $385 - deposit required) is required in order to be able to address all the questions and concerns you may have about your pet’s care. During a CAM consultation there would not be time to discuss conventional medicine aspects of your pet’s care or Dr. Bannink’s opinion about your pet’s current conventional medicine therapy protocol.

OVRS veterinarians with pets