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New Pet Treatment Can Cure Cancer In Dogs and Cats

Ann Thompson
Richard Hussey's dog Bindi has no sign of cancer after undergoing a new pet radiation therapy.

Bindi, an Australian Koolie, American Bulldog, and Golden Retriever mix, has a happy home with Richard Hussey, as long as she remains an Ohio State Buckeye.

An Ohio State bandana never comes off her neck and she is trained to spin to OH-IO, a popular Buckeye chant.

Hussey adopted the rescue dog a year ago and some months later noticed a growth on her nose was getting larger. The bump was a cancerous tumor.

Hussey's vet referred Bindi to Care Center in Sycamore Township, a 24-hour animal hospital. It is one of a handful of of U.S. pet hospitals that offer a treatment with the intent to cure cancer rather than just ease symptoms. This treatment, known as stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), delivers high doses of radiation with sub-millimeter precision in one to three treatments. This procedure has been around for more than a decade in humans.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
Stereotactic Radiation Therapy is now available for pets.

According to Care Center radiation therapist Kelli Sloane, "We are able to actually verify that we are spot on. We do that with the on-board CT imaging. Again, if you can see internally, visualize the tumor, see the long anatomy, see the soft tissue, I can hardly miss."

The procedure:

  • Conforming foam creates a mold so doctors can recreate the position needed to deliver radiation.
  • Pet gets a CT scan, which a radiation oncologist studies and uses to creates a plan.
  • That CT scan is loaded into the machine and the machine itself does a CT and the radiation therapist overlays them for sub-millimeter accuracy.
  • One to three treatments are done, all at different times.

Care Center CEO, Doug Hoffman, DVM, says,  "SRS is changing the way people think of cancer in pets."
PetCure Oncology is establishing a network of centers specializing in veterinary SRS across the country.

This story was first broadcast February 22, 2016.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.