MedVet offers several advanced treatment options for pets with cancer, including Stereotactic Radiation Therapy (SRT). SRT is non-invasive and precisely delivers a very high dose of radiation to a tumor, while protecting and sparing the normal surrounding tissues.
Is My Pet a Good Candidate for SRT?
Pets receiving SRT must have “bulky” tumors to effectively receive high doses of radiation to eliminate tumor cells and slow their growth. The location of the tumor is also important as some organs are more sensitive to radiation therapy than others.
To determine if your pet is a candidate for SRT, our oncology team will use computerized imaging (CT) to reveal the surface area and volume of the tumor. Special software defines the tumor and normal tissues, allowing us to precisely identify the treatment area and develop a plan made specifically for your pet.
Some common tumor types that are treated with SRT include:
- Brain tumors
- Intranasal or sinus tumors
- Oral tumors (including melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, fibrosarcoma, and osteosarcoma)
- Bone tumors (throughout the skeleton, including limbs, spine, pelvis, and skull)
- Prostate tumors
- Lung tumors
How Do SRT Treatments Work?
If your pet is a candidate for SRT, our radiation oncologist will develop an individualized treatment plan specifically for your pet, generally consisting of one to four treatment sessions delivered either daily or every other day.
Your pet undergoes general anesthesia for each treatment to ensure they remain still. SRT is minimally invasive and not painful, allowing us to use much lighter anesthetic drugs than those used for a surgical procedure.
The radiation is delivered to the tumor with a CyberKnife, a series of computer-operated beams covering the entire tumor surface. This intense accuracy is what makes SRT unique and minimizes side effects that can occur from traditional radiation (peeling skin, hair loss, oral ulcers, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness, among others) because only cancerous tissue is exposed to the radiation. Our radiation oncology team will discuss possible side effects during your pet’s consultation.
Following each SRT session, we closely monitor your pet until they are ready to go home, which is generally within a short amount of time after the treatment is completed.
How Should I Prepare My Pet for Their SRT Therapy?
Your pet should fast for at least 10 hours before each therapy session because they will be undergoing anesthesia. Pets may be given water and any previously prescribed medications. When the treatment is complete, they are awake within minutes. We will monitor them closely during and after treatment before they go home with you.
Throughout your pet’s oncology treatments, we will work closely with your veterinarian to ensure your pet is receiving the best care possible.