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A variety of cancer types can be treated with radiation therapy, which is the use of high-energy radiation in the form of X-rays, gamma rays, and other types to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body or from materials placed in the body called radioisotopes. Radiation therapy may also be used in conjunction with chemotherapy and/or surgery.
Whether intended as a curative treatment or simply to relieve discomfort, radiation therapy has the potential to improve the quality and duration of life for your pet.
Types of radiation treatment
If radiation therapy is recommended for your animal, a radiation oncologist will design a specific state-of-the-art treatment plan for your pet, depending on the location and type of cancer.
- Definitive treatment is given over the course of two-to-four weeks, depending on tumor type. This schedule helps to protect normal healthy tissue from being damaged by the higher dose of radiation.
- Palliative treatment is designed to relieve cancer-related discomfort or pain in the patient when the likelihood for recovery from the cancer is low. Treatment is typically given once weekly for four weeks.
The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center has taken a recent leap in the fight against cancer in pets with its new high-tech linear accelerator unit, which is the device most commonly used to treat cancer in humans. The linear accelerator unit delivers a uniform dose of high-energy X-rays to the target area of the patient. These rays are used to kill cancer cells, shrink tumors, and treat cancers that are not affected by chemotherapy or safely removable by surgery.