A cancer diagnosis for your pet is a scary and disheartening experience. However, as in human medicine, pets have oncologists on their side to provide treatment options to improve their health, quality of life and extend their lifespan. At TrueCare for Pets we offer specialized radiation therapy as a treatment option for your pet.
What is Radiation Therapy?
Radiation Therapy is a common treatment for pets with a cancer diagnosis. The use of high dosses of targeted radiation damages the DNA of cancer cells which can stop replication of the cells and effectively kill them. Radiation therapy is also used to provide pain relief and improve the quality of life of pets with cancer.
How does Your Pet Receive Radiation Therapy?
To ensure the comfort of the pet, and precision of the radiation therapy, it is typically administered while the patient is under general anesthesia. Since radiation can kill healthy cells as well as tumors, the pet must be absolutely still. Our team is highly experienced and will ensure your pet is calm and comfortable before, during and after their treatment. Although most pets may require multiple treatments, each radiation treatment is delivered using a quick, targeted beam of radiation to the affected tissues to minimize the time for your pet under anesthesia.
To ensure we are treating the exact area of the cancerous cells, many pets will undergo a CT scan prior to treatment. This allows us to devise a unique treatment plan based on the specific condition of each animal.
Are there Side Effects to Radiation Therapy?
Our oncology team makes every effort to ensure that pets are comfortable and happy during treatment. As with any treatment, side effects can occur and can be splite into acute and late stage.
Acute side effects in the irradiated site, such inflammation of the skin and mucous membranes, may occur and can include redness and irritation. These can be managed by following supportive care plan and tend to heal quickly following treatment. If the area being treated has been shaved the hair may take longer to regrow after treatment and the hair can change color as it comes back in. Examples of other potential side effects based on location of the treatment can be excess salivation, eye irritation and conjuctivities, and diarrhea.
There may be changes that do not develop until months later, dependent upon the tumor and location. Our radiation therapy protocols are planned to try to avoid any late stage side effects and your oncologist will discuss these potential effects.
Meet our Radiation Oncologist
Dr. Lauren Quarterman, DVM, DACVR/Radiation Oncology, received her degree in Animal Science with a pre-veterinary concentration from the University of Delaware in 2005. She earned her DVM at the University of Georgia in 2009 and completed a one-year small animal medical and surgical internship at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital. She then completed a 2-year residency in radiation oncology at North Carolina State University and received her board certification in veterinary radiation oncology in 2012.
After graduation, Dr. Quarterman returned to VCA West Los Angeles where she was the head of the Radiation Oncology department for 7 years. In 2018, she became head of the PetCure Oncology Radiation Department in Campbell, California, and treated over 1000 patients with the first Halcyon radiation therapy system commissioned for veterinary patients.
Dr. Quarterman has extensive experience in many different radiation therapy modalities including stereotactic radiation therapy and intensity modulated radiation therapy. In her role, she remains focused on the continued advancements in the field of veterinary radiation oncology with the goal to improve local tumor control, reduce treatment related side effects and ultimately improve animal welfare.
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