What procedural & diagnostic steps will happen before my pet’s CyberKnife treatment?
All pets will require advance imaging, such a CT scan or MRI in order to allow radiation to be targeted specifically to the tumor while avoiding critical surrounding normal tissue. Typically, there is a short period of time (1-3 days) that will then be used for the treatment planning process. This is accomplished with proprietary 3-dimensional treatment planning software, in which our radiation oncologists, Drs. Siobhan Haney and Cassie Wilcox, and our medical physicists Drs. Jun Yang and Jing Feng, will create a unique 3D plan using images obtained from the CT and/or MRI.
Is there any pain associated with CyberKnife treatment?
CyberKnife treatment provides a pain-free, non-surgical option for patients who have an inoperable or surgically complex tumors. The procedure is non-invasive, meaning there is no incision or cutting involved and therefore, no surgical recovery or discomfort. Often our clients will report that their pets seems more comfortable after CyberKnife treatment, likely due to reduction in the size of the tumor and less tumor related side effects.
How long will my pet be required to stay at the hospital?
Most CyberKnife treatments are performed on an outpatient basis. Pets usually need to stay at the hospital for about 3 hours while their treatments are performed.
What are the side effects associated with CyberKnife treatment?
The side effects associated with CyberKnife are typically very minimal to absent, which is one of the great advantages of CyberKnife therapy over conventional radiation therapy. Any side effects will depend on the site of your pet’s tumor and what normal healthy organs surround the tumor. This will be discussed in detail when you meet with Dr. Haney or Dr. Wilcox.
Why can CyberKnife radiotherapy treatments be accomplished in 1-3 treatments instead of 16-20 treatments that are required for conventional radiation therapy?
CyberKnife radiation therapy is delivered so precisely and accurately to the target (your pet’s tumor) that we are able to deliver an entire dose of radiation in far fewer treatments. The reason for this is because a very low dose of radiation is being received by the surrounding healthy tissue, enabling treatments to be delivered in a significantly shorter period of time.
After CyberKnife treatments, will my pet’s tumor shrink or disappear?
The effects of CyberKnife treatment vary and may occur gradually and over time. The timeframe can range anywhere from days, months or years depending on your pet’s medical condition. Some tumors may reduce in size slower than others, while others may simply stop growing. Four to six months after CyberKnife treatment, patients may have a repeat CT scan to clearly identify if the tumor treated was reduced in size.
My pet has already had radiation therapy. Is my pet still a candidate for CyberKnife treatments?
Yes, patients who have previously gone through radiation therapy or who are currently undergoing radiation therapy may be treated with CyberKnife. It is important for our radiation oncologists to have a access to your pet’s medical records and radiation treatment records so the appropriate CyberKnife protocol can be be prescribed.
What is the cost of CyberKnife and are treatments covered by veterinary insurance companies?
The cost of CyberKnife treatment varies based on the type and location of the tumor and number of fractions needed. The initial consultation with Dr. Haney or Dr. Wilcox is $212 and an estimate will be provided at that time. Most veterinary insurance companies do cover a portion of CyberKnife treatment depending on your pet’s policy. Please contact our office for more information about fees, interest-free payment options through Care Credit (www.carecredit.com) or how we can help you inquire about insurance benefits.
I live a distance from the Veterinary CyberKnife Cancer Center. Are there special arrangements that can be made to help facilitate treatment for my pet?
Yes! We understand that transporting your pet to appointments can be difficult with work and family obligations. We offer the option to board your pet at Hope Veterinary Specialists, a 24 hour specialty and emergency hospital located directly next door to the Veterinary CyberKnife Cancer Center (VC3), during a portion of or the entire course of treatment. VC3 offers transportation as needed for our patients, meaning a member of our staff would pick up your pet from your home or another veterinary facility and safely transport them to VC3.
For our patients who travel to VC3 from another state, we work with a local hotel, the Sheraton Great Valley (www.sheratongreatvalley.com),which is less than 2 miles from our practice, very pet-friendly, offers shuttles service toVC3 and a discounted room rate for VC3 clients.
Please contact our office for more information about transportation, boarding and hotel accommodation options.
Why does radiation therapy require Anesthesia?
Unlike human radiation therapy, we cannot rely on an animal to stay perfectly still throughout the course of treatment. Anesthesia is unequivocally the least stressful option when it comes to ensuring no movement during radiation.
The Anesthesiologist overseeing all VC3 anesthesia is one of the most experienced and respected in the nation.
How can I find an Oncologist near me?
In most cases, your primary veterinarian will be able to point you in the proper direction. You also have the option to research online, and we’ve listed two different databases below for your convenience. You are always welcome to call, email, or submit an information request form (from our website) for assistance in locating the best Oncologist in your area.
If you are interested in working directly with Drs. Siobhan Haney and Cassie Wilcox, they can reached by contacting VC3 at (844) 738 2927.
Colleges of Veterinary Medicine
*(VC3 Online Cancer Resource Center Will be Added Summer of ’16!)
ACVR American College of Veterinary Radiology
ACVIM American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
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