Radiation Oncology For Dogs and Cats

The basic science behind cancer care involves using medical treatment to damage the DNA of cancer cells, which prevents them from continuing to divide or grow. The specialty of radiation oncology is unique in that we attempt to achieve this goal by using radiation, or high energy x-rays. Radiation Oncology for dogs and cats is a very useful treatment to help find a cure for this disease, hope this article helps you!

The goal of radiation therapy is what we call “local control.” We use radiation to control the cancer – by shrinking it or stopping its growth – in a specific part of the body. If cancer has already spread, radiation therapy is typically not recommended as a standalone treatment. But for most tumors that are in a specific location of the body, radiation therapy is a way to attack the tumor aggressively with a non-surgical option that is relatively easy on the pet. For some, radiation therapy is delivered with a curative intent to shrink a tumor to the point of remission. For others, the goal may be to alleviate symptoms or pain as a palliative treatment.

The most advanced form of radiation therapy is called stereotactic radiation (SRS/SRT). It is also sometimes referred to as stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) or stereotactic radiation therapy (SRT). All those big words really mean is that technical advancements continue to provide better treatment options for our pets (and humans!). While SRS/SRT is standard in human oncology, very few veterinary centers have the technology necessary to offer it. We’re extremely proud to have it available at Sugar Land Veterinary Specialists.

SRS/SRT delivers radiation with more precision than previous forms of radiation therapy, meaning that we can increase damage to the tumor while decreasing radiation exposure to the rest of the body. Since most radiation-related side effects come from the unavoidable damage to healthy tissue surrounding a tumor, the unprecedented precision of SRS/SRT decreases the likelihood and severity of side effects. An entire treatment course is delivered in just 1-to-3 sessions – down from 15-30 treatment sessions with conventional radiation therapy. Since each treatment requires anesthesia and is typically an outpatient visit, this is a substantial improvement in patient safety, the ability of families to provide treatment for their pet, and the pet’s quality of life.

More than 10 million dogs and cats are diagnosed with cancer each year. If you’re like me, your pet is part of the family. I always try to remind people that cancer is a disease, not a death sentence. As healthcare technology continues to advance, we can do more than ever – even, and especially, when the cancer is found in a delicate anatomic location such as the brain, spinal column, or an internal organ. Common cancers treated with radiation therapy include brain tumors, nasal tumors, mast cell tumors, soft tissue sarcomas, oral tumors, and osteosarcoma. Radiation Oncology for dogs and cats is a very useful treatment to help find a cure for this disease, hope this article helps you!

By: Sugar Land Veterinary Specialist