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We work as a team with each pet’s primary care veterinarian and stay in touch throughout a patient’s entire treatment protocol.


To refer a client to our practice, please use our online referral portal.

Access The VCC Referral Portal


Clinical Trials

Clinical Trials

Study Objective
The purpose of this trial is to evaluate the safety and preliminary efficacy of a novel vaccine in companion dogs diagnosed with oral melanoma. A tumor-specific antigen (tyrosinase) carried by a FDA-approved bioengineered viral vector (AdenoAssociated Virus; AAV) is injected intramuscularly into the quadriceps muscle of the rear leg. Dogs will be vaccinated once with the AAV-Tyrosinase vaccine in a 3 x 3 dose escalation trial. The first cohort will be treated with a starting dose that is considered to be safe based on extrapolation from animal toxicological data, and the subsequent cohorts are treated at increasing dose levels. If none of the three patients in a cohort experiences a dose-limiting toxicity, another three patients will be treated at the next higher dose level. However, if one of the first three patients experiences a dose-limiting toxicity, three more patients will be treated at the same dose level. The dose escalation continues until at least two patients among a cohort of three patients experience dose-limiting toxicities (ie, ≥33% of patients with a dose-limiting toxicity at that dose level). Preliminary data on mice suggest activation of both a cytotoxic CD8+ T-cells and a humoral response either directly or by a cross-presentation pathway against the tumor. Safety of AAV vectors have been tested in humans and dogs. In addition, the tyrosinase antigen is currently used as a target for an anti-cancer vaccine in humans and dogs.

Eligibility Requirements
The requirements for participating in the trial are as follows:
• Any dog, male or female, with histologic or cytological confirmed oral melanoma with at least stage 1
(the WHO staging scheme for dogs with oral melanoma is based on size, with stage I = <2-cm-diameter tumor, stage II = 2- to <4-cm-diameter tumor, stage III = > or = 4cm tumor and/or lymph node metastasis, and stage IV = distant metastasis);
• Dogs over 5 kg
• Pre-enrollment requirements: CBC, chemistry panel, radiographs, +/- abdominal U/S
• No steroid use within 7 days of enrollment
• No concurrent illness
• Performance score of 0 or 1
• Dogs with expected survival time of over 6 weeks

Exclusion Criteria
The following criteria will be used for excluding participation in the trial:
• Dogs less than 5kg
• Steroid use within 7 days of enrollment
• Prior ONCEPT therapy
• Clinical findings precluding use of vaccine
• Pre-existing antibodies to AAV as evaluated by laboratory analysis
• Liver values (ALT, AST) > 2 x ULN

Post AAV-Injection Monitoring
Dogs in the trial will be evaluated in pre-enrollment screening visit, during treatment, and after treatment monitoring. All animals will be followed up every 3-6 months after the last visit to assess general heath and survival. The dogs enrolled in the trial will be monitored as follows:
• Evaluating lymph nodes, lungs, and chest radiographs, respectively
• Blood samples and urinalysis on each visit
• Evaluating vaccine-specific immune response
• Liver values (ALT, AST) > 2 x ULN

For more information about the trial please contact:
Deborah Bascombe Clinical Trials Coordinator
Email: deb@VCCHope.com

For more information on the vaccine please contact:
Dr. Richard Wagner Email: rwagner@aavett.com


This trial is evaluating a cancer vaccine strategy for EGFR and/or HER2 bearing tumors in dogs. This stage of the project is simply to determine if anti-tumor antibodies arise in vaccinated animals. The vaccine is composed of a short peptide of canine EGFR (15 amino acids) mixed with LymeVax(R) (Zoetis) and mineral oil. The patient gets two 0.5 cc vaccines (SC in the nape of the neck) separated by 3 weeks regardless of the size of the dog. Blood samples will be taken at the time of the first injection (Day 0), Day 21

(time of the booster injection), Day 28 (+/- 3 -4 days) and Day 56 (+/- 7 days). Based upon mouse studies, we expect no untoward effects or even injection site reactions. There are NO contraindications with other forms of therapy, either surgical or chemotherapy. We would prefer mammary tumors and osteosarcomas (and other tumors that are presumed to express EGFR and /or HER2).

  • Any dog with confirmed mammary cancer or osteosarcoma
  • Dogs with any other confirmed cancer may be eligible depending upon enrollment
  • No steroids given within 7 days
  • Performance score of 0, 1, or 2-expected survival time of over 6 weeks
  • Dogs less than 3 kg in body weight
  • Prior steroid use
  • Other clinical findings precluding the use of a vaccine

This is a partially funded trial. The vaccine and blood draws at the Veterinary Care Center will be at no cost to the client. The client is responsible for all other costs.


The primary objective of this study is to determine the maximum tolerated dose, dose-limiting toxicities, safe starting dose, and pharmacodynamic effect of TANOVEA™ (Rabacfosadine for injection) in cats with lymphoma, lymphoid leukemia or multiple myeloma/plasma cell tumor. A secondary objective of this study is to assess the efficacy and determine progression-free survival in treated cats.


Species: Feline

Breed: No specification

Initial age: At least 1 year old on Day 0

Weight: No weight requirement

Sex: Male or female, intact or neutered

Origin: Client–owned cats

Diagnosis: Cats must have a diagnosis of low, intermediate or high grade, lymphocytic or lymphoblastic lymphoma, cytologically or histologically confirmed in any anatomic site.

Prior treatment: Prior surgery, radiotherapy, and/or chemotherapy are acceptable. There must be a two-week washout period between prior chemotherapy and Day 0 and a six-week washout period between radiotherapy and Day 0.

General health: Cats must be free of severe underlying disease (including underlying pulmonary pathology), be FeLV, and FIV negative, and have an expected survival of at least 6 weeks. Cats must have adequate organ function as indicated by standard laboratory tests: (hematology [CBC], clinical chemistry [CC] and urinalysis [UA]). Specifically, cats must have:

  • Absolute neutrophil count > 1,500 cells/μL
  • Hematocrit > 25%
  • Platelet count > 100,000/μL
  • Serum creatinine < 2.5 mg/dL
  • Bilirubin ≤ the upper normal limit
  • Transaminases ≤ 3 times the upper normal limit or if > 3
  • times the upper normal limit then serum bile acids must
  • be ≤ the upper normal limit
  • The animal must have a performance status of < 1 on
  • Day 0, according to the modified ECOG Performance
  • Scheme (Veterinary and Comparative Oncology, 2010).
  • Cats that have received chemotherapy within 2 weeks of Day 0.
  • Cats that have received non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) within 72 hours of Day 0. While on study, treatment with prednisone (1 mg/kg every other day) is acceptable.
  • Cats that have received radiation therapy within 6 weeks of Day 0.
  • Concurrent malignancy or other serious systemic disorder incompatible with this study.
  • TANOVEA™ (Rabacfosadine for Injection) is provided at no cost for use in this study.
  • $1,500 client incentive for each cat enrolled, to be used for treatment costs.
  • In the event of AE-related hospitalization costs as a result of participation in the study, up to $3,000 per cat to cover clinical trial-related hospitalization costs. This will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Client is responsible for all other charges.

Trial Specifics

This trial is designed to evaluate the safety and preliminary pain management and anti-cancer effectiveness of a novel therapy in dogs with bladder transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). The trial involves one-time procedure administered directly into the bladder using a urinary catheter. Dogs may receive a second infusion one month after enrollment if warranted.  The infusion will be administered under sedation or general anesthesia. There is no placebo in this trial.  An estimated 15 client-owned dogs with will be enrolled.  Owners will be required to complete quality of life surveys, collect a daily urine sample for visual analysis, and record the urine collection results in a provided journal. The trial site will train the owners on collection and evaluation techniques. Trial visits include the dog’s initial consultation, day of administration (Day 0), and then recheck visits on Days 7, 14, 28, 56, and 84.Anti-cancer therapies must be discontinued 21 days prior to enrollment. Medications targeted at the treatment of TCC-associated pain, except for CBD and other cannabinoids, are acceptable provided they have been administered for at least 2 weeks prior to enrolling in the study.

Trial Funding

The trial is fully funded for the full trial duration (84 days).  Funding includes the initial consultation, the study investigational agent and administration, thoracic radiographs at the beginning and end of the study, monthly abdominal ultrasounds, recheck visits, trial-required bloodwork, and management of side effects that are thought to be directly related to the trial.

Trial Eligibility

Trained veterinarians at the trial sites will evaluate each dog for eligibility.

Dogs are eligible if they meet the following inclusion criteria:

  • Dog presenting with a diagnosis of TCC exclusively associated with the bladder (metastasis is acceptable).
  • Dog with accompanying lower urinary tract clinical signs associated with bladder cancer.
  • Bladder lesion does not prevent the passage of urinary catheter.

Dogs are not eligible if they meet any of the following exclusion criteria:

  • Dog with urethral involvement of TCC.
  • Dog has any underlying disease that will affect the study objectives or patient safety.
  • Dog has evidence of hydronephrosis.
  • Dog has an active urinary tract infection (dogs presenting for screening will have a urine culture performed prior to enrollment).
  • Dog has a urethral obstruction.
  • Dog is pregnant or lactating.
  • Dog is participating in another study.

Contact us to learn more about our ongoing clinical trials and how they might benefit your patients.

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We support our referring veterinarians doing tumor staging prior to referring a patient to us for care. Please contact us for a free consultation so we can explain what diagnostics we require and how we would like them performed for the greatest accuracy.

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Continuing EDUCATION

As part of our ongoing commitment to veterinary education and research, The Veterinary Care Center (The VCC) holds an annual continuing education seminar. The seminar is accredited through the Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE). In addition we are excited to share that we are in the process of putting together a continuing education series for veterinary technicians.

We all work hard and that sometimes means we do not always having enough time to relax and have fun. For that reason The VCC also comes up with unique and innovative ways for veterinarians and their staff, to connect on a personal level.



View Our Fall CE


Trying to work, eat lunch, and keep up on the latest in CE can be a challenge. Let us help! You pick the topic; we’ll bring lunch and the speaker. Choose from the following speakers and topics.


Management of Brachycephalic Airway Disease
An Update on Cranial Cruciate Ligament Repair
New Recommendations for Wound Management
Minimally Invasive Abdominal Exploratory and Gastrointestinal Biopsies


CPR RECOVER Guidelines
Respiratory Distress: Differentiating Cardiac from Pulmonary Causes
Acute Kidney Injury/Dialysis/Toxicities

Kevin Ware, DVM, DACVR-RO (Radiation Oncology)

Post-Operative Radiation Therapy for Skin Tumors
Benefits & Misconceptions of Palliative Radiation Therapy
Imaging for Prospective Oncologic Patients

CHERISE WILLEY, DVM, Practice Limited to Small Animal Internal Medicine

Canine Hypothyroidism
Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease & Protein Losing Enteropathy: Approaches to Therapy
Diagnosis & Management of Canine Hyperadrenocorticism


All lectures last approximately 60 minutes. Interested in a topic not listed? Just ask!

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What is a Referral Relationship Manager

As your liaison to The VCC, Pam will help you offer the best possible, state-of-the-art care to your patients. She is your link to us and is dedicated to building ongoing, trustworthy relationships between you and our team.

How We Can Help

Pam can set you and your team up with resources that will help your hospital provide the best care when your patients and their families are faced with a difficult diagnosis.

  • Resources to help your technicians receive more training
  • On-site continuing education with one of our doctors or technicians
  • Answers to questions about referral reports

Pam Conte

Pam was born and raised in Stamford, CT. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a Minor in Psychology. Her passion for veterinary medicine led her to a career at a specialty veterinary hospital as an office and events coordinator. She organized events to raise money and build awareness for the nonprofit organizations Kids in Crisis and STARelief Pet Assistance. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, learning, and being outdoors paddle boarding or hiking with her dog, Nicky. Since joining The VCC, Pam spreads our message of hope and compassionate care for our patients and their pet parents as part of our commitment to provide the best possible care for the pets and people we serve.