We see technological advances around us every day. Things that we couldn’t even imagine ten years ago are happening every day. I am going to reveal my age here, but when I first started working with computers the text was green on a black background and graphics were cursor-sized boxes. Today you might be looking at this blog on a smartphone while walking through the park. Hopefully we use these changes in technology to make our lives better.
When it comes to caring for our pets the same is true and it is making a huge difference in the care that is available to our pets. Today Computed Tomography or CT and MRI are available in many different centers. PET scans (Positron Emission Tomography) These tools allow us to get an incredibly detailed look inside the body to identify diseases. When it comes to cancer this is crucial to help diagnose tumors and to identify exactly where the tumor is in relation to the normal tissues.
However, this technology is not just useful for diagnosis. New advances in technology are changing the ways that we have available to treat tumors. There are approximately 70 centers in the world that have radiation therapy capabilities for treating animals. Most of these facilities have linear accelerators for treating cancer, which allow us to focus radiation to the tumor, while avoiding the normal tissues. Some of these facilities have a technology called intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) or stereotactic radiation. These techniques, used with advanced imaging techniques, allow us to truly pinpoint the radiation to the tumor, and minimize the dose of radiation to any normal tissues in the area. By doing this we are able to effectively treat our pets with cancer, while making sure not to damage their normal tissues…helping us achieve our goal of effectively treating cancer, while keeping our pet’s quality of life as normal as possible.
Dr. John Farrelly