Robbinsville, NJ is home to new pet cancer care center
ROBBINSVILLE – A diagnosis of cancer in a beloved pet can often be seen as life-altering or life-threatening, painful for a furry friend, and limiting their quality of life.
There are many veterinary radiation therapy centers across the country, but few offer high-tech imaging of a new comprehensive cancer care facility now open in Robbinsville, a partnership between NorthStar VETS Specialty Hospital and PetCure Oncology .
PetCure radiation oncology specialist Dr Rick Chetney is overseeing the new venture and said it was the first such collaboration in New Jersey.
Chetney said the median age of cancer formation in a pet like a dog or cat is 9 or 10 years old. So, most patients do not live 15 to 20 years after a cancer diagnosis, but as long as the cancer can be managed comfortably, a long lifespan may be possible.
“As with any other disease process, if we are talking about heart disease, kidney failure in cats as they get older, our goal is to treat the disease and convert it into a chronic disease process,” said Chetney. âAll of our treatments are focused on preserving the quality of life first and foremost, and then if we can establish that quality of life, lengthening the lifespan, to get them to live their natural lifespan. “
Until now, according to Chetney, veterinary radiation therapy protocols have been relatively outdated and intensive: 16 to 20 treatments daily, five days a week, for three to four weeks at a time.
With tools like the Halcyon Linear Accelerator, made by Varion, he said the time and frequency of treatments can be drastically reduced, while accuracy is increased.
âWe treat the cancer and then a little 2-3 millimeters outside, so we’re actually able to increase the dose the tumor gets while sparing the surrounding normal tissue,â Chetney said, per compared to a previous zone. 5 to 10 millimeters around a tumor that could be affected.
All of this improved targeting also eases side effects, Chetney said.
âWe don’t usually see these early inflammatory side effects as severe with stereotaxic protocols because we can be so focused in our daily dose that we don’t have to go to a high cumulative dose,â he said. .
Smaller amounts of anesthesia are needed for these treatments, but for pets where anesthesia is not possible due to another health factor, Chetney said PetCure and NorthStar are also working on palliative protocols that will still treat and manage cancer symptoms less aggressively. .
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