The Riddell-Swan Veterinary Cancer Centre

The Royal Canin Cancer and Wellness Clinic

The Cancer and Wellness Clinic has been established through generous sponsorship from Royal Canin, pet health experts and pet food manufacturers.

Royal canin logo

About the Cancer and Wellness Clinic

Here we provide a chemotherapy clinic as well as other services such as radiation therapy.

We have a highly skilled veterinary nurse, Fiona McDowall, to oversee cancer services, provide nutritional advice and a clinic dedicated to your pet’s wellbeing.

The highest quality of care

Our aim is to provide the highest quality of care for pets with cancer. By making use of state-of-the-art diagnostic, medical and surgical techniques, we can provide this care in an environment and facility that emphasises quality of life for animals on a level which equals their veterinary care.

An educated and dedicated veterinary health care team is essential to compassionately care for cancer patients and our oncology team is committed to providing the best possible care for patients with cancer.


High-quality nutrition goes hand-in-hand with a good quality of life. Good nutritional support has been shown in people, and in animals, to support both quality of life and longevity. It does this by supporting the beneficial effects of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy whilst helping to reduce any issues that these therapies may create (e.g. digestive upsets and a reduced appetite). We can help you play a key role in supporting your pet’s quality of life by providing good nutritional advice.

At the Cancer and Wellness Clinic, nutrition and wellbeing advice will be tailored to fit in with your pet’s individual needs and your lifestyle. We will work with you to develop a dietary plan that will have the maximum benefit for your pet. A key consideration is choosing a diet which your pet will find highly palatable, as this will help maintain their appetite throughout treatment.

Keeping your pet well

It is important to us that we maintain a good quality of life for your pet and aim to provide the highest quality of support for owners during this difficult time. We encourage you to report any concerns or changes in your pet to us straight away and we have a 24h emergency service for out of hours calls.

Compassionate care requires that steps be taken to ensure your pet is as free as possible from any adverse effects that may be associated with cancer and its treatment. This includes freedom from pain, nausea and starvation. Only pets that feel well will be happy.

When your pet has been diagnosed with cancer, regular care and close attention to any sign of ill-health is essential. Please monitor your pet and tell us, or your regular veterinary surgeon, if your pet shows any of the following signs:

  • Abnormal bleeding or discharges (e.g. from the eyes, nose or other orifices)
  • Problems with eating or swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of appetite, marked weight loss or gain, or excessive water consumption
  • Difficulty in passing urine or faeces, abnormal urine or faeces, or incontinence
  • Uncharacteristic behaviour (e.g. unexplained aggression or lethargy)
  • Newly discovered lumps
  • Limping, or difficulty getting up or lying down
  • Excess scratching, licking or biting any part of the body
  • Dramatic hair loss, sores, an unkempt or dull coat, or unusually smelly breath

Through the Cancer and Wellness Clinic, we can help you keep your pet feeling well and address any concerns you might have about their wellbeing.

Chemotherapy clinics

The treatment of cancer in pets requires a large amount of commitment from you. Most patients undergoing chemotherapy are treated as out-patients and visits to the clinic may be weekly, fortnightly or every third week.

You are the primary carer for your pet and so we will liaise with you regularly to assess your pet’s progress, ask you relevant questions about their health and answer any questions you may have about their wellbeing. We will also give you important instructions about their care and so it is important to allow plenty of time for this when dropping off and collecting your pet.

Which patients should attend the Cancer and Wellness Clinic?

Our Cancer and Wellness Clinics are about keeping pets enjoying a good quality of life long-term. We are eager to provide advice on keeping your pet well and happy, regardless of their age or clinical condition. We believe in a holistic approach to caring for pets with cancer, maintaining a balance in all areas of their life, with the emphasis on quality of life.

The Cancer and Wellness Clinic is not a replacement for veterinary care, but is a stand-alone clinic where you may come to see the Cancer and Wellness Nurse at a separate time from your veterinary appointment, to discuss any concerns you may have about your pet’s wellbeing. However, the clinic works alongside our Oncology Service and you will generally be seen by the Cancer and Wellness Nurse on the same day as your first appointment or your follow-up appointment.

Your pet will remain under the care and responsibility of your own veterinary surgeon at all times.

What to expect from the Cancer and Wellness Clinic

  • Your pet will be weighed
  • Advice on optimal nutrition for your pet will be offered
  • There will be a general assessment of your pet’s quality of life and how you feel about it
  • Any concerns you have about your pet’s treatment and progress can be discussed
  • Where necessary, blood and/or urine samples may be taken, or procedures such as blood pressure measurement performed, at the direction of the veterinary surgeon
  • Bereavement advice may be offered
  • The nurse will raise any concerns you have about your pet’s health with the veterinary surgeon overseeing his or her treatment

At the Cancer and Wellness Clinic, we understand the special human-animal bond and that each relationship is different. Our Cancer and Wellness Nurse will take a very personal approach to caring for your pet. The clinics are not rushed and you will be able to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with the nurse during each appointment. It is a good idea to write down any questions you might have in advance, ensuring that you are able to leave with a satisfactory answer to all of your queries.

Cancer in companion animals

Cancer is the most common cause of death in older dogs and cats. Despite this, there are a number of treatments available that help to ensure pets with cancer continue to enjoy a good quality of life. The diagnosis of cancer and the thought of a pet having to undergo treatment may be overwhelming. However, our dedicated clinicians and nurses aim to give the highest quality of support to owners and patients during this difficult period. This includes conventional treatments alongside nutritional and wellbeing advice. We will work with both you and your own veterinary surgeon to provide your pet with a normal quality of life for as long as possible.

If your pet needs to stay in the hospital

There may be occasions when your pet needs to stay in hospital to under-go treatment, diagnostic tests or surgery. We will always try to keep your pet’s time in hospital to a minimum. Your pet will be cared for by highly trained, caring staff in excellent facilities, under the direction of the oncology team. At night, patients are allowed to rest, but are regularly checked. If your pet requires more intensive monitoring he/she will be taken to the intensive care unit, where 24 hour nursing is available. In general, it is not possible to allow owners to visit hospitalised pets, but under certain circumstances we may arrange for you to visit. One of the oncology team will phone you regularly with a progress report on your pet.

The Hospital for Small Animals is a teaching hospital, training the next generation of veterinary surgeons. Whilst your pet is being attended to by a team of veterinary experts, students are involved in all aspects of patient care. Students are under constant supervision by experienced staff.

How to make an appointment

If you would like to attend the Cancer and Wellness Clinic, your pet must either be under the care of the Oncology Service (or other referral services within the Hospital for Small Animals); or you should contact your veterinary surgeon who will refer you.

Appointments can be made through reception by telephoning:

0131 650 7650

Your own veterinary practice will be regularly updated with your pet’s progress.