Radiation Oncology

“We know that the connection to your pets lasts a lifetime.”

Radiation Oncology Team Members

Radiation Oncologist – Rick Chetney, DVM, DACVR (RO)
Veterinarian – Rachel Lordahl, DVM

Radiation Therapist
Laura Rooney, R.T. (T)

Veterinary Technician
Lorraine Justus, LVT

Radiation Oncology Overview

Radiation therapy is a non-surgical approach to achieving local tumor control and increasing a pet’s quality of life, quantity of life, or both. A targeted dose of radiation is delivered to the tumor with the intent to destroy the cancer cells, which are unable to repair themselves. The safety and efficacy of utilizing radiation to shrink a tumor or impede its growth have improved significantly in recent decades. Click here for more information on the clinical data associated with advanced radiation therapy, or to download useful resources for both veterinarians and pet owners.

New in 2020, VMCLI has partnered with PetCure Oncology and their national network of board-certified veterinary radiation oncologists to provide advanced radiation therapy to the pets of Long Island. Since 2015, PetCure-affiliated clinicians have been at the forefront of radiation therapy for pets, developing the first set of protocols for veterinary stereotactic radiation, treating thousands of pets with cancer, and conducting ongoing clinical research to share with the veterinary community.

Radiation Oncology Services Include

Stereotactic radiation (SRS/SRT), sometimes referred to as stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) or stereotactic radiation therapy (SRT), is the most advanced form of radiation therapy currently available. The biggest difference between SRS/SRT and other forms of radiation therapy is the unprecedented precision, which means that a higher dose of radiation can be delivered directly to the tumor. At the same time, the surrounding healthy cells can be avoided more effectively than ever before, decreasing the frequency and severity of radiation-related side effects in most cases. SRS/SRT is delivered in just 1-3 treatment sessions with no incisions and minimal time under anesthesia. It is especially useful to treat tumors that are too big or too complex for surgery.

Conventionally fractionated radiation therapy (CFRT) uses targeted radiation to shrink or destroy tumors, including those that cannot be safely or completely removed by surgery alone. While SRS/SRT utilizes complex treatment-planning to deliver high-dose radiation in just a few treatment sessions, CFRT requires less complex treatment-planning and delivers smaller doses of radiation spread out across more treatment sessions and a longer period of time. It can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy, following surgery, or as the sole treatment in cases where SRS/SRT is not an option. CFRT is typically administered daily in 15-21 treatment sessions over 3-4 weeks.

Palliative radiation therapy is intended to increase a pet’s comfort and quality of life, often when local tumor control is deemed unlikely. This option is especially useful when treatment options with the intent to cure, such as SRS/SRT or surgery, are not viable. Palliative treatments are typically delivered once per week over 3-6 weeks with the goal of relieving symptoms such as pain, bleeding, and decreased mobility.