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Stereotactic Radiation Therapy For Dogs

What Patients Are Good Candidates For Srt

A New Revolutionary Way to Treat Pet Cancer: Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)

While many different tumor types in various locations throughout the body can be treated with SRT, not every patient is a candidate for this procedure. This therapy requires a gross or bulky tumor that will serve as a sink for the high doses of radiation therapy to be delivered. Therefore, patients who have had surgery to remove their tumors are not candidates for SRT . In addition, some normal organs are more sensitive to radiation therapy than others, so the site and overall extent of the tumor within the body is also an important consideration for SRT candidacy.

Some common tumor types that are treated with SRT include:

What Type Of Radiation Therapy Is Offered

We offer several different types of radiation therapy, and the radiation oncology team including:

  • Conformal radiation therapy
  • Intensity modulated radiation therapy
  • Stereotactic radiation therapy or stereotactic body radiation therapy
  • Electron therapy

Different colored lines show radiation doses that surround a prostate tumor and metastatic lymph nodes. The radiation dose is highest in the red/orange regions and lowest in blue regions. This radiation plan aims to limit the radiation dose to normal structures like the small intestines, rectum and spinal cord.

While we know the most about conventional radiation therapy, where radiation is given in small doses each day over several weeks, we are interested in investigating the use of higher doses of radiation that are administered less frequently. Stereotactic radiation therapy or stereotactic body radiation therapy refers to the use of high doses of radiation given to macroscopic tumors in only 3-5 fractions. Currently, we do not know if this provides equal control to conventional RT for all tumor types, but it is an alternative option for owners wishing to consider a different approach. Not all dogs and cats are good candidates for this type of therapy.

Radiation Oncology For Dogs And Cats

August 18, 2020 by Sugar Land Veterinary Specialists

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.

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What Type Of Radiation Side Effects Can I Expect

This will depend on the type of radiation that is recommended for your pet. If your pet has full-course radiation, which means daily radiation doses for 3-4 weeks, Monday-Friday, then side effects are expected. The side effects that occur with radiation are generally associated with inflammation of the affected tissue. They often start 2-3 weeks into the course or radiation and will last for 1-2 weeks after the radiation is finished. We will give your pet local and systemic treatments to help them through the radiation and we will discuss the anticipated side effects with you.

Treatment Costs For Canine Cancers


There are three conventional options of cancer treatment surgery , chemotherapy , and radiation . A veterinarian will create a diagnostic and treatment plan according to your dogs case and your familys financial capacity.

Your dogs case such as age and general health, type of tumor, biological behavior of the tumor, and the stage of the cancer are then carefully considered. Every dogs case is typically unique from the other and so with the cost.

Standard physical exams alone cost at least $50, while inpatient care is $40. For emergency services, urgent care and a specialist consultation would amount to $115.

Some pet owners have spent a total of $6,000 for hospitalization and tests alone while another has spent $11,000 for open chest surgery to remove mass with mass bleeding which caused pulmonary edema.

Depending on the cancer as well, you may be advised to use a combination of treatments such as both surgery and chemotherapy for your dog, as is commonly the case with Osteosarcomas for example.

Surgery is by far the treatment of choice to date. Unfortunately, surgery can only be used for tumors that are easily accessible and which havent metastasized yet. Theres a wide range in cost based on the location of the masses and difficulty of the procedure, as well as if any further procedures are needed.

As an example, a dog owner has shared in a forum in September, 2017 that she needed $5,000 for the surgery of her dogs thyroid cancer.

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What Forms Of Payment Does Petcure Oncology Accept

We accept all major credit cards, cash, and CareCredit.

CareCredit is a health care credit card that enables you to obtain the care your pet needs and schedule monthly payments that fit your budget. You can apply online at If you have any questions, please contact our Pet Advocate Team.

Brain And Spinal Cord

Patients with nasal or oral tumors can sometimes have small portions of the brain in the radiation field. Unless the pet presents with neurologic signs, it is very uncommon for radiation to cause neurologic abnormalities in these patients. If they do occur, they are typically > 6 months after radiation. Patients being treated for brain tumors are at higher risk of side effects to the brain. They are usually divided into acute, acute delayed, and late effects.

Acute effects can occur immediately following treatment up to two weeks after treatment. This is most often related to the anesthesia associated with radiation treatment, as some anesthetic medications can increase the pressure inside the skull leading to neurologic side effects. There is also a risk of radiation-induced inflammation of the normal brain tissue surrounding tumors and this can lead to anything from mild dullness and sensitivity to light all the way to seizures and becoming non-responsive in severe cases. There is a small risk of death in this short term, usually in pets with very large tumors or who were already very debilitated before starting treatment. Our anesthesia service and technicians are always well informed about patients with brain tumors and take every precaution to mitigate these risks as much as possible. Intervention with medications or even sometimes hospitalization is recommended on a case-by-case basis.

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Stereotactic Radiosurgery For Dogs & Cats

Pets are family members. Pet owners often expect the same level of state-of-the-art care for their dogs and cats that they themselves receive. One such type of intervention is stereotactic radiosurgery . This weeks post is dedicated to sharing information about this type of therapy since its becoming more available around the world. I hope you find this post fascinating happy reading!

What Does Treatment Involve

Intensity-modulated Radiation Therapy for your Pet at UT College of Veterinary Medicine

All patients are assessed by the Radiation Oncologist prior to treatment. A radiation-planning CT scan is performed to plan and calculate the tailored radiation protocol that best suits each pet. The CT can also help to check for any spread of the cancer. Radiation therapy usually begins a few days after the CT scan.

A definitive radiation treatment course is usually between 10 and 20 treatments or doses . Stereotactic treatments are much shorter, usually consisting of 3 to 5 treatments . A palliative course is once a week for 4-6 weeks, though can occasionally be Monday to Friday. Depending on the schedule, treatment can be provided as a day procedure, or patients can board with use for the duration of their course of therapy.

Each treatment lasts between 15 and 35 minutes. Radiation therapy in animals differs from that in humans in that pets must be anaesthetised. General anaesthesia is provided by our Anaesthesia team, and is needed as the patients must be specifically positioned and kept completely still during their treatment, to ensure that the radiation is delivered accurately and safely. Before each treatment begins, a special CT scan is performed to make sure the patient is lying in exactly the right position.


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Palliative Radiation Therapy Details

The desired benefits can include a reduction in the size of the tumour, thus providing temporary relief of such symptoms as pain or other tumour complications that cause suffering. Palliative radiation therapy would not, therefore, be considered as an option if either cure or long-term remission could be obtained through a more intensive protocol. Nor would radiation be offered as a palliative therapy if a pet were considered too critically ill to benefit.During “external beam radiation therapy,” a beam of radiation is directed through the skin to the tumour and the surrounding area in order to kill whatever cancer cells it encounters. The desired effect is that growth of the tumour is slowed, and the symptoms the tumour was causing are reduced, at least for a time.The machine used to deliver external beam radiation therapy at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre is a Varian Cliniac 21EX linear accelerator . It uses high energy X-rays to produce either photon or electron beams.

Efficacy Of Stereotactic Radiation Therapy In Dogs

Veterinarian professionals cite SRT as one of the most advantageous methods of curative treatment in dogs. Average life span after treatment is lengthened for veterinary patients. Furthermore, the dog suffers little disruption from their daily routine after SRT is successfully completed, allowing them to get back to a normal life.

Recommended Reading: Palliative Care Cancer Life Expectancy

Meeting Your Veterinary Oncology Needsnow And In The Future

The role of radiation therapy in veterinary cancer care is evolving. Increasing use of moreadvanced technology and cancer treatments is unlocking new levels of cancer patient carefor sick pets.

Our Veterinary Radiation Therapy solutions provide precise and personalizedradiation therapy to meet your veterinary oncology needs, now and in the future.

What If Srs/srt Is Not The Right Treatment For My Pet

Radiation Therapies in Oncology

Our goal is to work with you and your veterinarian to make sure your pet receives the best possible care regardless of what that treatment may be. At each of our locations, PetCure Oncology and our partner clinicians provide comprehensive cancer care that gives your pet access to skilled and experienced specialists for any treatment plan. SRS/SRT is merely one choice among cancer treatment options. Our commitment is to present you with all of those options and help guide you through the process of selecting what is best for your pet and your family.

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Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy For Dogs With Bone Cancer

Osteosarcoma is the most common primary bone tumor in dogs. Large and giant breeds have the highest risk. Osteosarcoma is reportedly estimated to occur in more than 10,000 dogs each year in the U.S. Most commonly, osteosarcoma occurs on the limbs but can also occur in other parts of the skeleton. While amputation is the most frequently used treatment option for limbs, many dogs may not be ideal candidates for this type of surgery. Dogs with pre-existing neurologic or orthopedic disease may not be suited for life on three legs. Additionally, owners may be opposed to amputation or be interested in a treatment option that will preserve the limb for as long as possible.

Stereotactic body radiation therapy combined with chemotherapy is a definitive-intent treatment option that precisely delivers a high dose of radiation over a condensed number of days. We have been treating dogs with osteosarcoma with SBRT since the installation of the Varian Trilogy linear accelerator at the Flint Animal Cancer Center in November 2007. Most dogs are treated with three doses of radiation therapy however, our plans are adaptable and individualized to meet patient needs. Treatment plans are designed to limit the radiation prescription to only the affected bone and soft tissue while sparing the surrounding normal tissues.

What Is Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is the medical use of high dose radiation to destroy cancer cells. Radiation is a type of energy that is produced naturally by the sun, earth, and rocks, and artificially by machines. Radiation is used for diagnostic as well as therapeutic purposes. Low dose radiation, for example, is used to take X-rays.

Cancer cells grow and divide faster than most normal cells. Radiation therapy works by damaging the cells DNA to interfere with cell replication and kill them. In this way, radiation can either shrink a tumor or completely destroy it.

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What Defines Whether A Pet Is An Appropriate Candidate For Srs/srt

Most pet cancers can be treated through SRS/SRT, but since its benefits derive from pinpoint precision and highly targeted radiation, it is a treatment that requires an identifiable tumor mass to be targeted. That means cancers that have spread significantly, or blood-cell cancers such as leukemia or lymphoma, are typically not treatable through SRS/SRT unless it is combined with another form of treatment.

We encourage pet owners to review all of the treatment options before selecting a treatment course. Follow these links for lists of common cancers that can usually be treated with SRS/SRT, for dogs and cats. If you want to find out whether your pet may be a candidate, call or fill out the form below to connect with one of our compassionate, clinically trained Pet Advocates.

Caring For Your Pet During Radiation Therapy

What to Expect – Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Ensure that they get plenty of rest. Many pets experience mild fatigue during radiation therapy, so it is important to make sure they have quiet times to rest in a comfortable environment during the day.Feed your pet a balanced, nutritious diet. Offer your pet tasty, easily digested foods. Low sodium, softer foods that have a strong smell and have been warmed up may help increase your pets desire to eat. Cats often enjoy fish-flavoured canned foods, tuna fish and chicken breast. The radiation oncologist may prescribe a medication to enhance your pets appetite. Your pets weight will be monitored closely during their treatment and a feeding tube may be recommended if they experience soreness that interferes with their desire to eat.Treat the skin that is exposed to radiation with extra care. The skin in the area receiving treatment may become red and sensitive. The radiation therapist will review specific instructions for caring for your pets skin with you. Some guidelines include:

  • avoid using any lotions or any other products in the treatment area unless approved by your radiation oncologist or radiation therapist
  • avoid putting anything hot or cold on your pets treated skin. This includes heating pads and ice packs
  • protect the treated area from the sun. If possible, avoid exposing the treated area to the sun altogether.

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My Pet Has Been Diagnosed With A Brain Tumor Can I Come In For Stereotactic Radiosurgery

We have the facilities to do radiosurgery for brain tumors. We will need to assess your pet through our service or our neurology service. Advanced imaging will be needed to diagnose the brain tumor and for radiation planning. From there, we can discuss the best recommendations for your pets brain tumor.

Meet one of our patients he has a skin cancer called a mast cell tumor.Lets follow our patient through a radiation treatment.

A linear accelerator produces a beam of photons or electrons to kill cancer cells. The UF Small Animal Hospital oncology service has the most advanced radiation facility for treating pets in the Southeastern United States.

First the radiation therapist prepares the room. Then takes the patient from the oncology ward to the linear accelerator. Special ports beneath the skin are often used in radiation patients to administer drugs painlessly. Our patient is given a light anesthetic through the port to relax him and keep him still during his treatment. A tube is passed into his airway and he is given oxygen throughout the procedure. Our patient is placed into a specially made mold. This mold allows his body to be in the same position every day of treatment.

University of Florida

How Long Does Srs/srt Take

During your initial consult, a treatment-planning CT scan will likely be performed to prepare for the treatment itself. This typically takes 1-2 hours.

The treatment sessions last 15-20 minutes on average, but the duration of a treatment can vary depending on tumor size, location, and number of tumors. For difficult cases, a treatment session may take up to an hour. The consulting doctor will let you know in advance how long to expect your pets treatment to take.

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Are There Side Effects From The Srt Treatments

While we are able to sculpt the dose very precisely away from normal tissues, we can still see some side effects from the treatments. These side effects are generally very mild and will go away on their own several weeks after they begin. We typically manage these side effects with anti-inflammatory and pain medications as neededsome patients do not require treatment for them at all. The specific side effects will depend on the type of tumor, its location within the body, and the treatment protocol. The Radiation Oncology team will discuss possible side effects and treatments for your pet with you during the initial consultation.

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