Colleen Tansey, DVM, DACVIM (Oncology)

Western University of Health Sciences – DVM
Rotating Internship – Southern California Veterinary Specialists
Medical Oncology Residency – Southern California Veterinary Specialists

Did you have a role model? If so, did your role model influence this decision in any way? 

Like most veterinarians we have loved animals since we were kids. I also had a love for performing as an Irish dancer and musical theater major in college. My dad was a Chicago police officer but volunteered at the zoo on his off days, which introduced me to a variety of animals. Seeing and learning about them sealed the deal for me wanting to be a veterinarian. I took a round about way of becoming a vet by working in theater, at an internet start-up and an advertising agency all of which helped me to realize that my calling was to be a doctor.

What motivates you to go above and beyond basic pet care with the services and approach you provide?

Leaving behind a positive legacy of helping animals, as well as the people helping those animals, keeps be going everyday. I really enjoy teaching technicians, students, interns and residents as well. When they have that “ah-ha” moment, it’s awesome to watch them get excited about learning and helping the patients.

Being an oncologist, a lot of people think that it’s very sad. I truly feel like it is a gift to meet people who genuinely love their pets as part of the family. My clients are wonderful and their amazing pets are the icing on the cake when they start to feel better.

If I am a first-time referring pcDVMs, what can I expect when consulting with you? 

I believe that being a general practitioner/family veterinarian is more challenging than being a specialist because you have to know about everything. In addition, many clients are unable to see specialists, which leaves the veterinarian to still take care of the patient. I hope that you feel that I am your partner who will have your back in regards to patient care, treatment plans while creating a realistic and positive plan for the patient and family. There are so many different types of cancer and as we know, this disease does whatever it wants to do. I will help in whatever way I can to provide support to you and your patients.

Why do pet owners & pcDVMs continue to come back to seek your advice for their pet care needs?

As a fellow veterinarian, this job can be extremely challenging emotionally, mentally and physically. I always try to be honest and direct with clients and colleagues while also being empathetic and understanding. As someone who has experienced the diagnosis of cancer with my own dog, three cats as well as my Dad, it’s made me a better doctor and human being. If we put ourselves in the shoes of others, whether it is a client, a colleague or loved one, it becomes a bit clearer on how to offer guidance and support through the cancer process.

What are the specific services or areas of expertise can you help pcDVMs with? 

I like the east meets west approach for a variety of reasons. It helps with chronic diseases as well as allowing the pet owner the opportunity to participate in the treatment plan. Supplementing herbs, immune support medications and anti-inflammatory medications can help to support the patient and potentially decrease the possible side effects from cancer treatment.

If you could only describe yourself with three words, which would you choose? 

Passionate, empathetic and feisty.

Do you have a mantra or philosophy you that you live by?

Two quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt:
“A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until she is in hot water.”
“Well behaved women rarely make history.”