Half of all dogs over the age of ten will develop cancer in their lifetime.
Dogs get cancer at about the same rate as humans, and although the treatment sounds like that of their human counterparts, surgery, chemo and radiation, the cure rate is just about 20%.
Now, breakthrough technology is helping dogs beat the odds and may even impact how cancer is treated in humans.
“Every mischievous thing he can possibly do. He still does,” said Anthony Douglas, Lincoln’s owner
Lincoln, 9, didn’t miss a step after losing his front leg to cancer last year, but it was what doctors found during a routine follow-up exam that worried his parents.
“There’s 250 milliliters of fluid in his lungs,” said Monisha Seth, Lincoln’s owner.
A mass was blocking one of the major veins that drains his heart, and it was located in a very difficult place to treat with radiation…until now.
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The veterinary oncology team at the University of Florida began treating their furry cancer patients with the Varian Edge precise radiation technology that’s on par with equipment used in top human hospitals.
“It’s going to increase our ability to treat tumors that are near important structures in the body that we’re trying not to harm,” said Christopher Adin, DVM Small Animal Clinical Services University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.
The machine can adjust in real time to motion happening inside the body.
“It actually has the ability to know when the patient is breathing and to move with it,” Adin added.
Lincoln was treated on four consecutive Fridays with radiation administered precisely to the tumor without damaging any surrounding tissue.
Now, Lincoln’s tumor is shrinking and may possibly even disappear.
“A human would probably suffer, struggle with it, but he’s just been so stoic and energetic,” said Seth.