Sep 29, 2009
Here is another question I recently asked Dr Sara Fiocchi, a cancer specialist (aka oncologist) at the Veterinary Cancer Group in Tustin, CA.
When would you recommend radiation therapy for a dog or a cat?
"There are 2 different reasons we use radiation therapy.
One reason is to try to obtain long-term tumor control (i.e., to kill cancer cells). This is called “definitive radiation therapy.” Whether or not definitive radiation therapy will work depends on a number of factors, including the tumor type and how rapidly it is dividing. With definitive radiation, there are usually varying degrees of side-effects, such as skin burns.
The other reason to use radiation therapy is to relieve pain or improve function, and therefore improve quality of life. When used in this setting, it is called “palliative radiation therapy.”
Palliative radiation has been used most often in dogs with painful bone tumors. Many oncologists have also used palliative radiation to improve comfort or function in pets with a variety of other tumors including nasal, bladder, prostate and oral tumors."
Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS
Pet surgeon and author of a free, weekly newsletter for true pet lovers, available at DrPhilZeltzman.com