Oncology

The Oncology department at The Hope Center focuses on the care and treatment of patients diagnosed with cancer. This disease, in addition to it being physically challenging for the pet, it is also a troubling time for the owner. The department relies on the most advanced cancer therapies to treat the patient as well as education to help pet owners understand their pet’s condition and make the most informed decisions possible in line with the wishes of their family.

Department Contact Information

Phone: 703-281-2277
Fax: 703-242-4777
Email: Oncology@hopecenter.com

Our Commitment to our Clients

Compassion for the pet and the owner

Emotional turmoil and feelings of helplessness are common when a pet is diagnosed with cancer. We consider it our duty to make the process as painless as possible. We try to spoil pets and owners alike, and to treat you as a part of our own family.

Information and understanding of the pet’s condition

We believe the best way to combat the feelings of distress is to provide information and understanding. Many clients find it overwhelming to digest the amount of information regarding the diagnosis, potential treatment options and possible side effects. We excel at educating clients so that you may feel empowered and capable of making decisions.

Choices and a variety of treatment options

There are always several different options for treatment. We offer state-of-the-art cancer care, combining traditional methods with cutting edge protocols. Dr. Beck and Dr. McNeill have experience not only with veterinary cancer, but also with several leading human oncology centers and with research for the National Cancer Institute.

Combination and Integration of all available treatments

Treatment recommendations should consider all aspects of the pet’s health, including pain relief, nutrition, and complementary and alternative therapies. Many newer drugs have almost eliminated debilitating side effects and most sources of pain.

Quality of life

This should be the ultimate goal of treatment, especially in pets whose cancer is not curable. By aggressively preventing pain and side effects, we expect our patients to have a higher quality of life than they did prior to diagnosis. We also speak with each family so that they know that saying goodbye is not giving up. We have many resources available for hospice and end of life decisions.

Pet Owner Information

  • Grief Resources
    • Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement – The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement is a compassionate nonprofit organization of trained volunteers, dedicated to helping people during this very special kind of bereavement.
    • Rainbow Bridge – Grief Support Center and Resources
    • Argus Institute – The Argus Institute is a specialized service offering client support within the Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital.
    • We also have additional information available about at-home euthanasia options and memorializations. Please ask your doctor or technician.

Oncology Staff

Veterinarians

  • Dr. Elsa Beck, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM (Oncology), Dipl. ACVR (Radiation Oncology)


    Dr. Beck joined The Hope Center in 2007 after a prestigious career in the field of Veterinary Oncology. Double-Boarded in Veterinary Oncology and Radiation Therapy, Dr. Beck has worked with a number of academic and private institutions providing her expertise and guidance. Dr. Beck’s major focus has been on developing cutting edge cancer treatments in pets that could be rapidly translated into human treatments. She believes in a multidiscipline approach, combining the best combinations of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and other cancer treatments, to provide the best possible care, while avoiding side effects, and making the process as pleasant as possible for pets and their owners.

  • Dr. Conor McNeill, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM (Oncology)


    Dr. Conor McNeill joined The Hope Center in August 2009. He received his veterinary degree from Utrecht University in the Netherlands. After moving to the United States, he completed a rotating small animal internship in medicine and surgery at the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He remained at the University of Pennsylvania to complete a residency in medical oncology and a fellowship in radiation oncology. Dr. McNeill is currently also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Oncology at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia. Dr. McNeill is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and is board certified in Oncology by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

Technicians and Assistants

  • Lisa Scott, LVT


    Lisa has been working in Veterinary Medicine since 1998 in various fields. She graduated cum laude in the Veterinary Technology program at NVCC in 2002 and completed her Bachelors of Science in Biology at George Mason University in 2009. She joined The Hope Center in 2004 working in the Emergency and Critical Care department and was quickly promoted to Lead Technician for the overnight shift. In 2010, a new and exciting challenge arose within the Oncology department that allowed her to become the Lead Technician for Dr. McNeill. She looks forward to providing your pets with the same compassion and dedication as if they were her own.

    She was married on the white sands of Aruba in 2009 and lives happily with her husband and their 3 pets: Gabriel (drama queen), Kristy (cuddly food vacuum), and Monte Cristo (Chesapeake Bay Retriever who saved a drowning boys life in OBX.)

    She is a member of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS.)

  • Claire McGillicuddy, LVT


    Claire graduated from the University of San Diego in 2003 as an English major/Anthropology minor. After coming to the east coast, she enrolled in the veterinary technician program at NVCC and graduated in 2010. During the program, she completed an internship at The Hope Center where she developed an interest in Oncology. She worked for an area oncology practice before returning to The Hope Center in January 2011. Claire is a Licensed Veterinary Technician and the Lead Technician for Dr. Beck.

    Claire has 2 dogs, Mugsy (Black Lab Mix) and Gunnar (Yellow English Lab) and enjoys outdoor activities such as riding horses.

  • Alix Badley


    Alix started in the veterinary field in 2002 as a kennel assistant at a private small animal practice and moved on to technician assisting in 2003. In January of 2010, she started at the Hope Center because of a desire to further her knowledge of veterinary medicine and to become a licensed technician. Alix started Cedar Valley Distance Education Veterinary Technician Program in Fall 2010 and is currently working towards her LVT license. She has a son, Rowan, who is 6 and 2 dogs: Tera, 10 and Normandy, 3. Alix enjoys art, reading and hiking. She loves the personal client and patient interaction in the oncology department and specifically like working with geriatric patients. One day she hopes to do more volunteer work both locally and in countries where veterinary medicine is not as available.

  • Stephanie Gutgesell, LVT


    Stephanie is a Licensed Veterinary Technician. She has a Master’s degree in art history and her first career after college was in educational publishing. After eight years, she decided to pursue her other passion in life: caring for animals. In 2013, Stephanie graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Veterinary Technician Program at NVCC. During the program, she completed a summer internship at The Hope Center where she developed an interest in Oncology and has continued to work for the department. She loves the personal client and patient interaction in the Oncology Department and specifically likes working with feline patients. Stephanie has four rescue cats: Petey, Aslan, Lover Boy, and Bear. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering at a local farm animal sanctuary, hiking, and visiting local wineries.

  • Brittany Bothum


    Brittany has always known that she wanted to work with animals and once entering the field as an assistant in 2008, she was hooked. Brittany is currently enrolled in the Cedar Valley Veterinary Technology Program to earn her license.

    Brittany has a healthy obsession for Basset Hounds and has one of her own named Clyde. He’s often flanked by his cohabitant, a 6 year old cat named Grady. Outside of work, Brittany enjoys horseback riding, hiking and fishing.

  • Josh Jalali, LVT
  • Erin Linares, LVT
  • Lindsay Wynne
  • Gloria Rittgers

Front Desk

  • Michael Norris


    Michael has worked in the vet field since 1997 in numerous positions from kennel help to tech to manager to reception. She has been at Hope since 2004.

    She is the proud owner of 2 rescued Chinese Crested’s and 2 cats, who were also rescued. Michael has fostered numerous types of infant wildlife including foxes, raccoons, kittens and squirrels. She enjoys collecting all things Disney, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

Hospital Location: 140 Park Street SE
Vienna, VA 22180
Contact Numbers: Tel (703) 281-5121
Fax (703) 281-0149

For non-medical questions or comments: Email Us