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Radiation Therapy for Pets

Radiation Therapy for Pets

Question

My dog's oncologist recommended radiation therapy (I didn't even know they did that in animals!) How can you get them to stay still? And what kind of side effects should we expect?

Lili Duda, VMD, MBE, DACVR Veterinary Radiation Oncologist- University of Pennsylvania, responds:

Answer

Radiation therapy is a standard treatment for many veterinary cancers. The treatments are delivered using the same equipment, techniques, and protocols as with people. Since patients must remain perfectly still while getting the treatments, veterinary patients require sedation or anesthesia to accomplish this. Modern anesthesia drugs are very safe, and veterinary patients are monitored with ECGs, blood pressure, pulse ox, just as with people. Side effects are limited to the area being treated, and depend on the location in the body. Typically the side effects resemble sunburn, start towards the end of treatment and last a few weeks.

Learn more about radiation therapy for animals.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. View the entire transcript from When a Beloved Pet has Cancer.