Barbara Biller, DVM, MS, PhD, DACVIM (Oncology)
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, 1993
Master of Science, University of Illinois, 1997
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Oncology), 1997
Doctor of Philosophy (Immunology and Pathology), Colorado State University, 2007
Why did you first become a veterinarian?
During my undergraduate studies at the University of California, San Diego I developed a strong interest in the basic biology of how living things “work”. My childhood hero was Jacques Cousteau, the famous French explorer and oceanographer, so naturally I thought I’d become a marine biologist. But I was not a big fan of swimming in cold water and dead fish kind of worried me, so after working for several years in a basic research laboratory, I decided that a career in veterinary medicine was the perfect path forward for me. I wanted to learn about all creatures great and small, not just those in the sea!
What motivates you to go above and beyond basic pet care with the services and approach you provide?
I became a veterinary oncologist way back in the late 90s (when the Earth was still cooling…), initially because of my research interest in the biology of cancer, particularly its interaction with the immune system. But over the course of my career in both academia and private practice, I have learned that my ability to connect with and build strong partnerships with pcDVMs and pet owners is what I am most proud of. Helping others to understand and navigate the cancer journey with hope and compassion for our animals is the most rewarding part of my job.
If I am a first-time referring pcDVMs, what can I expect when consulting with you?
In addition to being well prepared, I will bring my years of experience and insight to our consultation. One of my favorite sayings as a professor of oncology was “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we have to!” Together we will figure out which diagnostics, treatment options and other forms of supportive care will fit best for your specific patient and client. What’s most important to me is helping you provide state-of-the art information combined with personalized, practical, and truly useful options for your clients.
Why do pet owners & pcDVMs continue to come back to seek your advice for their pet care needs?
I signed on with the Fidu team in large part because pet owners and pcDVMs CAN come back for advice when desired. To me, this is what specialty medicine should be about: being able to be a part of the pet’s oncology care team for as long needed, not just for the initial consultation. This is the foundation for the delivery of the best care possible for the patient.
What are the specific services or areas of expertise can you help pcDVMs with?
I can talk about cancer and immunotherapy for hours (but I won’t unless you want me to!). In addition to providing updates on all the latest in cancer diagnostics and treatments for dogs and cats, I always have lots of practical ideas too. I believe that there is almost always something we can do to improve or maintain quality of life for our patients and there is more than one way to achieve that goal.
What is your approach to teamwork and communication?
I am a teacher by nature and firmly believe that there is no such thing as a dumb question. But true teamwork and open communication are based on working together as colleagues, not as “teacher and student”. You, as a pcDVM, know so much more about the general practice of veterinary medicine than I do, I just happen to know a lot about one specific area! Together we can form a strong team for your patient.
If you could only describe yourself with three words, which would you choose?
Empathetic, supportive, practical.
Do you have a mantra or philosophy you that you live by?
I am enough. Who I am is enough, what I do is enough, and what I have is enough.
I believe that we tend to work so hard to help others, that we often forget to do enough for ourselves. I look forward to working hard to help you help your patients!