Go online to broaden your perspectives on veterinary oncology
Oncology has become one of the fastest-growing fields in small animal practice. As a result of the increase in oncology patients and available treatments, veterinary professionals are becoming more open-minded when treating pets with cancer. Our NEW General Practitioner Certificate (GPCert) Postgraduate Programme in Oncology aims to guide you through the latest knowledge in state-of-the-art, compassionate cancer care for animals by helping you provide safe and comprehensive diagnostics and treatments.
Progress your skills in a comprehensive and logical manner
All the content in this new online learning programme is logically designed to approach the main concepts of oncological disease, starting with a deep understanding of the biology of cancer. The latest information on diagnosis, staging and therapy will be discussed, and the consolidation of that knowledge will come in the interactive case management sessions. Topics addressed cover:
- Diagnostic Imaging techniques
- Cytology and laboratory diagnosis
- Common types of cancer in small animals
- Treatment options, such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy
The content is built around 12 online modules spread over 14 months. Each session comprises a total of nine lessons, two case studies, course notes and weekly summary videos.
Boost your confidence and achieve a recognised qualification
This new online learning CPD programme is a ground-breaking course led by renowned specialists to help you develop a clinical, evidence-based approach to achieve the best outcome for your patients. Rather than following generic protocols, this programme will help you address each case individually and feel confident in the investigation and treatment of cancer in small animals.
Set yourself for success with the support of the leading CPD provider – learn how to maintain an excellent quality of life for each pet you treat and achieve a recognised qualification the General Practitioner Certificate awarded by the International School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies (ISVPS).
Key features of this programme:
12 varied modules
Covering key clinical subjects in veterinary oncology delivered over 14 months
Support and guidance from a Module Tutor who is recognised in their subject field
The specialist in the subject area will provide online support during each module and will be available to answer all your questions
Leading online learning experience
Presentations, written notes, diagrams, interactive quizzes and exercises test your knowledge as you work
A discussion forum for conversation, debate and sharing cases with your peers and Module Tutors
Recognised Course Director
Owen Davies MA VetMB MANZCVS (Small Animal Medicine) MVETMED DipACVIM oversees the programme ensuring the latest content
Join the global veterinary online CPD specialists and benefit from our know-how and high-quality resources
Four sessions per month
Each module consists of four sessions spread over one month. Sessions comprise separate lessons and case-based studies to work through at your own pace
Giving you access 24/7 via our world-leading Learning Management Platform
Pre-module and post-module assessments encourage you to reflect on your learning and evaluate your progress
Dedicated Programme Coordinator
A dedicated Programme Coordinator who will support you every step of the way
Interactive and engaging modules
Which allow you to absorb the learning materials in an online environment
- Cancer biology
- Diagnostic imaging of the oncology patient
- Cytology and laboratory diagnosis of the oncology patient
- Treatment of cancer: surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy
- Lymphoma, leukaemia, myeloma
- Mast cell tumours
- Other skin tumours and soft tissue sarcomas
- Urogenital tumours and mammary tumours
- Skeletal and respiratory tumours
- Oral and gastrointestinal tumours
- Splenic tumours, haemangiosarcoma and histiocytic sarcoma
- Endocrine, neurological and ocular tumours
Please note the module order may be subject to change
The Oncology Online Postgraduate Certificate Programme offers you a comprehensive range of structured learning with the ultimate flexibility to access the training that you want whilst working around your busy practice life.
You can choose to let the Programme give you new knowledge and skills to take back to practice or you can work towards a recognised qualification.
General Practitioner Certificate (GPCert)
By attending the full online structured programme and the successful completion of the International School of Veterinary Postgraduate Studies (ISVPS) assessments including an exam you can gain the GPCert awarded by ISVPS.
Only registered veterinary surgeons who have been qualified for a minimum of one year can apply to undertake a General Practitioner Certificate.
For GPCert fees please see our pricing table in the ‘Pricing’ tab above.
01 - Cancer biology
Define the hallmarks of cancer
Explain how genetic and epigenetic changes contribute to a cancer
Explain how environmental effects can contribute to a cancer
Describe specific examples of cancers in veterinary patients caused by chronic inflammation and viral infection
Compare and contrast the differences between the vasculature, immune surveillance and cellular energetics between tumour tissue and benign tissue
List the steps in the metastatic process
Describe the pathophysiology behind common paraneoplastic diseases
Describe common histopathological parameters involved in the grading of malignancies and give examples of grading systems for common cancers
Compare and contrast staging methods for round cell tumours, carcinomas and sarcomas
Give examples of different types of pain associated with cancer and give examples of how different types of pain can be managed pharmacologically
Define cancer cachexia and outline treatments to ameliorate it
02 - Diagnostic imaging of the oncology patient
Describe how to take high quality radiographs of the thorax, limbs and oral cavity in the diagnosis and staging of cancer
Explain the benefits given by computed tomography over conventional radiography in the diagnosis and staging of cancer
Describe what sentinel lymph node mapping is, and why it is beneficial
Compare and contrast the use abdominal ultrasonography to abdominal computed tomography in the staging of cancer
Compare and contrast the needs of staging solid tumours from round cell tumours
Compare and contrast different techniques for identifying cancer infiltration in liver and spleen
Give examples of risks or complications from the use of image-guided fine needle aspiration or biopsy
Describe optimal combinations of imaging modalities for the staging of different cancers
Describe the basics of interpreting MR images in the diagnosis of CNS neoplasia
Outline the benefit of techniques for example PET-CT over conventional contrast CT scanning
03 - Cytology and laboratory diagnosis of the oncology patient
Explain how to identify whether a cytology sample is of adequate diagnostic quality
Describe cellular features of malignancy in the context of the cells in question
Be able to identify the cytological appearance of common benign and malignant skin tumours
Be able to identify mast cell tumours cytologically and comment on their degree of cellular differentiation
Explain the criteria for classifying a lymph node cytology smear as “lymphoma” versus “reactive hyperplasia”
Describe the use of different fine needle aspiration techniques to obtain diagnostic samples from different tumours
Explain the criteria used for the cytological diagnosis of a sarcoma and comment on features which may differentiate the type of sarcoma
Explain the cytological features of common carcinomas
Explain how flow cytometry works and why it is of value in the diagnosis of lymphoid malignancies
Describe examples of different PCR-based tests available for diagnosis of canine cancers and comment on the limitations of these tests
04 - Treatment of cancer: surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy
Outline the limitations and complications possible with surgical or needle-core biopsy of solid tumours
Describe, compare and contrast different methods for assessing completeness of excision
Explain the difference between palliative and definitive radiation therapy, and give examples of cancers appropriate for each
Explain the 4 Rs of radiation therapy
Explain the difference between acute and delayed adverse effects of radiation therapy
Describe the principles and limitations of maximum tolerated dose chemotherapy
Describe the principles and limitations of metronomic chemotherapy
Describe the principles and limitations of small molecule inhibition
Give examples of the use of immunotherapy in veterinary oncology and the challenges it faces
Discuss pertinent considerations in counselling of a client whose pet is being considered for chemotherapy treatment
05 - Lymphoma, leukaemia, myeloma
Compare and contrast the presentation of lymphoma in cats and dogs
Describe the means of diagnosis of lymphoma
Compare and contrast the utility of diagnostic tests to confirm or subtype lymphoma between dogs and cats
Explain the value of the information gained from staging a case of lymphoma
Describe important prognostic factors for canine and feline lymphoma
Describe appropriate treatments and prognoses for different types of canine lymphoma
Describe appropriate treatment for different presentations of feline lymphoma
Discuss the evidence base for the treatment of canine indolent lymphomas
Describe prognostic factors and treatment for chronic and acute lymphoid leukaemias in dogs and cats
Describe the presentation, diagnosis, and treatment for multiple myeloma in dogs and cats
06 - Mast cell tumours
List important prognostic factors for canine mast cell tumours, from history, physical examination and histopathology
Discuss the relative independence of one prognostic factor versus another, and outline the strongest indicators of prognosis
Explain how to use immunohistochemical labelling appropriately
Describe practical methods of staging mast cell tumours depending on their location on the body
Describe appropriate use of surgical treatment for a mast cell tumour
Describe options for treatment of an incomplete surgical excision
Explain when to use chemotherapy for mast cell tumours
Explain when to use tyrosine kinase inhibitors for mast cell tumours
Describe appropriate circumstances for the use of intralesional tigilanol tiglate.
Explain prognostic factors and outline treatment for feline cutaneous, intestinal and visceral mast cell tumours
07 - Other skin tumours and soft tissue sarcomas
Explain a pragmatic approach to the investigation and treatment of cutaneous and subcutaneous masses in dogs
Describe the prognostic factors for soft tissue sarcomas
- Describe the surgical approach to canine soft tissue sarcomas
List the options for treatment of soft tissue sarcomas where excision with appropriate margins is not possible
List the options for treatment of soft tissue sarcomas where surgical excision is incomplete
Describe appropriate chemotherapy treatments for metastatic or high-grade soft tissue sarcomas
Describe the causal factors and clinical presentation of feline injection site sarcomas
Explain how and when to investigate a cutaneous / subcutaneous mass on a cat
Describe appropriate treatment of a feline injection site sarcoma
Describe appropriate means of minimizing the risk of feline injection site sarcomas
08 - Urogenital tumours and mammary tumours
Describe important risk factors for the developing of a canine transitional cell carcinoma (TCC)
Describe means of diagnosis of a canine TCC (and the associated limitations)
Describe the behaviour and prognosis for canine TCCs
Describe appropriate treatments for canine TCCs
Explain the differences between canine and feline TCCs
Explain important causal factors in the development of a canine prostate tumour
Outline the biology, treatment and prognosis of the transmissible venereal tumour
Describe the prognostic factors for canine mammary tumours and outline the strongest prognostic factors
Describe the prognosis for feline mammary tumours and outline the strongest prognostic factors
Explain the evidence base for the medical treatment of canine and feline mammary tumours
09 - Skeletal and respiratory tumours
Describe the radiographic features of aggressive bone lesions in dogs and cats
Describe safe and pragmatic techniques of investigating aggressive bone lesions in dogs and cats
Describe the prognostic factors, staging and treatment of canine osteosarcoma
Compare and contrast the difference in behaviour and treatment between canine osteosarcoma, histiocytic sarcoma and other sarcomas of bone.
Compare and contrast the radiographic features, behaviour, treatment and prognosis between canine and feline osteosarcoma
Describe the key differential diagnoses and prognostic factors for canine and feline sinonasal tumours.
List appropriate steps in the investigation and treatment of sinonasal tumours
Describe prognostic factors and differential diagnoses for pulmonary tumours
Describe appropriate management of canine and feline pulmonary tumours
Outline the behaviour, prognosis and treatment of thymomas in cats and dogs
10 - Oral and gastrointestinal tumours
Outline the important differential diagnoses for oral tumours in dogs and in cats
Describe an appropriate and pragmatic investigation for an oral mass
Describe treatment options and treatment options for common oral tumours in dogs and cats
Outline the important differential diagnoses for gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary tumours in dogs and in cats
Describe an appropriate and pragmatic investigation for a gastrointestinal or hepatobiliary tumour
Describe treatment options and treatment options for common gastrointestinal or hepatobiliary tumours in dogs and cats
Describe the epidemiology, clinical presentation and investigation of anal gland and perianal tumours in dogs
List important prognostic factors for anal gland tumours in dogs
Describe treatment options for both advanced and early anal gland tumours in dogs
11 - Splenic tumours, haemangiosarcoma and histiocytic sarcoma
Explain methods of predicting the diagnosis of a splenic mass based on signalment and clinical presentation, and the accuracy of these techniques
Describe pragmatic approach to spontaneous haemoabdomen in dogs
Outline the differential diagnoses and prognosis for spontaneous haemoabdomen in cats
Explain the pathology of haemangiosarcoma, in relation to its behaviour and paraneoplastic disease
Describe prognostic factors for canine haemangiosarcoma
Describe appropriate treatments for canine haemangiosarcoma, with and without gross disease
Describe the biology, pathophysiology, epidemiology and prognostic factors for canine
Describe appropriate treatments for different presentation of histiocytic sarcoma
Outline the management of less-common splenic malignancies
12 - Endocrine, neurological and ocular tumours
Describe the pathophysiology of common tumour-related endocrinopathies of the adrenal, pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid glands and beta cells of the pancreas
Choose appropriate diagnostic tests for the diagnosis of the above endocrinopathies
Describe appropriate management of the above endocrinopathies
Outline definitive treatment for the above tumour-related endocrinopathies
Describe the clinical presentation, pathologies, and imaging findings in different neurological tumours
List the challenges in the diagnosis of neurological tumours
Describe the treatment options for neurological tumours and the factors which influence response to treatment
Outline important benign and malignant ocular tumours
Describe treatment options and prognosis for ocular tumours
- Early bird prices
- Regular prices
|Payment Option||Initial Payment||Remaining Balance||Total Payable|
|GPCert Programme deposit and remaining balance||£1,399.00||£5,640.00||£7,039.00|
|GPCert Programme 12 monthly payments - Total cost||£1,399.00||£558.00 x 12||£8,095.00|
|Payment Option||Initial Payment||Remaining Balance||Total Payable|
|GPCert Programme deposit and remaining balance||£1,678.80||£6,768.00||£8,446.80|
|GPCert Programme 12 monthly payments - Total cost||£1,678.80||£669.60 x 12||£9,714.00|
|Payment Option||Initial Payment||Remaining Balance||Total Payable|
|GPCert Programme deposit and remaining balance||£1,649.00||£5,640.00||£7,289.00|
|GPCert Programme 12 monthly payments - Total cost||£1,649.00||£558.00 x 12||£8,345.00|
|Payment Option||Initial Payment||Remaining Balance||Total Payable|
|GPCert Programme deposit and remaining balance||£1,978.80||£6,768.00||£8,746.80|
|GPCert Programme 12 monthly payments - Total cost||£1,978.80||£669.60 x 12||£10,014.00|
Payment Terms & Conditions
1. Payments can be made by BACS, credit card or Direct Debit.
2. Direct Debit plans are administered and collected on our behalf by GoCardless Limited.
3. In certain circumstances, multiple booking and corporate discounts are available, please contact us on 01793 759159 for further information.
4. In order to confirm your place, we must receive payment in full or the relevant initial payment.
5. In addition, if paying by Direct Debit, we must receive the completed mandate prior to course commencement.
6. Please also see our full terms and conditions on our website – Terms and Conditions.
1. Applications are accepted on a first-come, first served basis.
2. Where all available places are full, applicants will be offered first refusal for the next available date.
3. Improve International reserves the right to close the intake early if the number of applications received exceeds the number of available places.
4. Confirmation and enrolment details will then be sent to applicants once we have received a completed application form.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vet Online Learning
Who can enrol on the Online Learning programmes?
All applicants must:
- Hold a veterinary qualification
- Have spent a minimum of one year in veterinary practice
- Be on the RCVS Home Practising Register (UK-based applicants), hold a qualification that would entitle them to register as a member of the RCVS (applicants based outside the UK)
What does the GPCert consist of?
The GPCert is a middle-tier qualification awarded to veterinary surgeons who successfully complete a dedicated modular training programme accredited by ISVPS and the associated ISVPS assessments. Only registered veterinary surgeons who have been qualified for a minimum of one year can apply to undertake a General Practitioner Certificate.
- To achieve a GPCert you must:
- Complete the modular training programme
- Submit a case report (number of words defined by ISVPS)
- Sit an online multiple-choice examination
- An online applied knowledge examination (OAKE)
- Sit a case-based scenario (CBS) examination
What does the PgC consist of?
In addition to the assessment criteria for the GPCert you will need to:
- Complete a case diary
- Write a reflective essay
- Answer all pre and post-module surveys and MCQs
- Undertake the Advanced Practitioner module delivered remotely by Harper Adams University between January and July each year (not applicable for Small Animal Medicine and Small Animal Surgery Programmes)
Harper Adams University (HAU) is responsible for the assessment of the case diary, reflective essay and Advanced Practitioner module.
Further information about the route to a PgC is available on request.
Is the PgC programme recognised by other countries?
The PgC is worth 30 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits but delegates are advised to check with their local governing body for the relevance of these credits in their country.
Can I do the GPCert and the PgC at the same time?
Yes, you can.
- If you register for the PgC you are automatically attending the modules required for the GPCert
- You need to register with both ISVPS and HAU
- ‘Upgrading’ from the GPCert involves paying the extra module fees and registering with HAU. Please contact us for further information
- You can upgrade from the GPCert to PgC within 5 years of achieving the GPCert award
- If you have attended the Distance Learning Programmes without committing to the GPCert, you have 4 years from completion of the programme to register with ISVPS and SUCCESSFULLY complete ALL assessments including the examination
How can I track my progress in the programme?
Progress of the completion of your module and programme are tracked in different ways.
Each module consists of 9 interactive lessons including reflective study which may involve case studies, MCQ writing and calculation practice during week 4, depending on the specific module. The interactive lessons will track and remember your progress whilst you complete it. When you return to a specific lesson or case study, you will return to the page that you last visited.
Once a lesson is completed, a tick will appear next to the lesson icon on the module course page. You will also see a progress indicator at the top right-hand corner of the course page and a more detailed Progress Bar in the collapsible side menu on the left.
Upon completing all 9 lessons and the 2 case studies, you will be awarded a Digital Badge, recognising your achievement. As you progress through the programme, badges will be awarded at 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 completion stages.
Does the Postgraduate Certificate (PgC) programme differ from the GPCert?
Yes, there are additional assessment criteria. Contact your Programme Tutor for further information.
Do I have to access the programme via a specific browser?
Even though you may access our world-leading Learning Management System via any browser, it is recommended that you choose a browser that supports integrated HTML editor. Google Chrome or Firefox on a Windows operating system, and Chrome, Firefox or Safari on a Mac system.
While using Internet Explorer (Edge) should not cause any issue, it has been reported that some security settings and adherence to W3C standards prevent the browser from operating in some instances. If you experience a problem please try one of the other browsers before contacting Improve for additional support.
Which modules do I choose for the PgC and when do I have to choose them?
- You select your preferred modules and a final selection is made in discussion with the Programme Tutor and on a first come first-served basis. If you are studying the Surgery programme you will be attending the ten practical modules which form part of this programme and there is no need to select modules
- Module allocation will be made within the first two months of the start of the programme to allow for travel plans
- Delegates opting into the PgC ‘late’ will be allocated modules within 2 months of registering with HAU
Please note if you wish to progress to the PgC there is an additional fee – see the pricing tables for further information or please contact the Programme Tutor for further information.
Is the General Practitioner Certificate (GPCert) all online?
Yes, the full programme to achieve the GPCert is all online with the exception of the Surgery programme which includes ten practical modules. These will be held in two locations, see the programme for further information.
How do I submit my case report for the GPCert?
All ISVPS assessments are uploaded to the candidates’ area via the ISVPS website. You will be given a login to the candidates’ area when you register with ISVPS.
How do I register for the GPCert and/or the PgC?
- Registration is made directly to ISVPS (for the GPCert) and HAU (for the PgC) – you will be provided with contact details allowing you to complete their registration forms
- Ideally, the decision to aim for the PgC should be made within the first two months of the programme starting to enable you to benefit from the HAU library access and select your face to face modules if applicable to your programme
What do the case logs for the case diary consist of?
Harper Adams University (HAU) will provide you with information on the peer-reviewed case diary and self-reflection essay assessments required for the PgC.
For Small Animal Medicine and Small Animal Surgery Online Learning Programmes you will need to complete a peer-reviewed diary of 25 cases and 20 for Feline Practice seen by you in practice, not earlier than three years ago is required:
- Cases selected should demonstrate a balance of case types or procedures across species and where appropriate, across body systems
- Cases should relate to the list shown in Appendix 4*.
- Each diary entry should be a maximum of 100 words, comprising signalment, diagnosis, action taken (by you as the practitioner) and outcome
Peer Review: A supporting signature from a veterinary surgeon within your practice. Please see appendix 3* for a template. This should be present (scanned) on the final page of your diary.
*Appendix 3 and 4 are available on request
Can I defer a module?
- Online modules cannot be deferred without losing the real-time interactive engagement with the Module Tutor
- Face to face modules (where relevant to your programme) can be deferred provided you complete all modules within 3 years of beginning the programme
If coming from a non-European country – how would face-to-face module attendance work for the PgC?
- We will endeavour to allocate you face-to-face modules close together in date (e.g. within the same week) to reduce the numbers of trips to the UK required but these dates are restricted so you should be aware that you may have to make separate trips as places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
- It is your responsibility to check visa requirements and ensure that you have relevant documents in place well in advance of travel.
- Delegates attending from outside of Europe may require visas in order to participate in our face-to-face programmes. Please note that the Student Tier 4 visa is not applicable to Improve Education Delegates as a result of us being a private education provider. Further guidance on your entry requirements should be checked with your local embassy.
- Improve Education does not provide support in obtaining visas but can provide supporting documentation to support your application if requested.