Biography: Dr. Stephen J. Withrow

Stephen J. Withrow, DVM, DACVS, DACVIM, has dedicated his professional life to improving the health of companion animals through extensive oncological research and treatment. Dr. Withrow is described by his colleagues as compassionate and dedicated, and his work has been honored with numerous awards and accolades.

As the Director of the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University, he is a brilliant teacher who joined the faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State in 1978 and was honored as Distinguished Professor in 2004. As one of the world’s experts in the research of cancer, Dr. Withrow’s work has been showcased in countless textbooks and scientific articles and has led to numerous awards.

Dr. Withrow has pioneered ground-breaking cancer research and gained international status and acclaim for his work. Among his many contributions to cancer research and treatment, Dr. Withrow developed a limb-sparing technique to treat osteosarcoma, a malignant tumor of long bones in dogs. This technique revolutionized treatment of this disease in dogs and has been widely adopted at human cancer centers, significantly increasing the likelihood that children diagnosed with osteosarcoma will be cured. This aspect of his career is mentioned in an article from the December 2006 issue of Scientific American magazine, explaining how canine cancer research has had a far-reaching influence on human cancer care.

Dr. Withrow established the Colorado State University Animal Cancer Center, now the largest animal cancer center in the world. The center has trained more veterinary oncologists than any other veterinary institution, and is the only veterinary cancer group to have more than 25 consecutive years of funding from the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Withrow has been a 10-year project leader for the National Cancer Institute.

The Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University is a multidisciplinary group including several universities, colleges, departments and the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. It has developed numerous surgical, radiation therapy and chemotherapy procedures for animals with cancer. The center treats up to 2,000 pets a year with cancer, handling a volume of 10,000 appointments. The center is also home to the Argus Institute, a unique center studying the human-animal bond and providing grief resources to pet owners.

During his tenure at Colorado State University, Dr. Withrow has established two endowed chairs and led a major campaign to build a new facility for the center in 1998, and for a new wing on the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the largest privately-funded building in the university’s history. In addition to serving as director of the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State, Dr. Withrow has maintained a commitment to work in the clinic, seeing patients as a surgical oncologist 50 percent of the time. This commitment provides a hands-on, personal involvement with the center.

In addition to his many academic activities at Colorado State, Dr. Withrow has volunteered for more than 23 years as a counselor and fund-raiser for the Sky High Hope Camp for children with cancer, earning him the Ronald McDonald House Volunteer of the Year award in 2003.

He is the only veterinary fellow of the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society, a prestigious international society of elite orthopedic physician oncologists. He founded the Veterinary Cooperative Oncology Group, an association of 20 private practices and universities that cooperate in clinical trials.

Dr. Withrow received his DVM degree from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota. He interned at the Animal Medical Center of New York and was a Junior Fellow at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Specialty of Oncology, one of only three people to be board-certified in both disciplines.


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