Tomotherapy

Nunya at a tomotherapy session for her nasal tumor.Tomotherapy is a type of radiation therapy used on dogs.  It delivers the radiation in slices instead of a beam.  Nunya had 20 sessions to complete her tomotherapy treatment.  To start the treatment off, a CT scan was done and the oncologist took a few days to map out how the dosage would be delivered.

From these posts, we heard an amazing story about a horse going through tomotherapy in the same machine pictured to the right. Click here to see Breezy, the horse, undergoing tomotherapy treatment.  Breezy had a rare tooth root cancer and helped pioneer radiation tomotherapy treatment on horses, thanks to the doctors at A&M.

As with all forms of radiation treatments, there are side effects.

Radiation Burns:

Nunya showed no signs of radiation burns until the very end of her treatment.  She started losing a few chunks of skin directly under her eyes after the last week of tomotherapy treatment started.  These spots grew in size and redness for a good three weeks.  During that time they  blistered and looked extremely painful but Nunya was always great about allow us to put the burn cream on her face.

Radiation Burn Photos in Order:

Tomotherapy Radiation Burn Stage 1

Initial loss of hair after about the 16-17 tomotherapy session. The white junk is the Xclair “Radiation Dermatitis Symptom Relief” creme.

Tomotherapy Radiation Burn Stage 2

The spots continued to expand and were extremely red.

Tomotherapy Radiation Burn Stage 3

After a week the area became extremely blistered.

Tomotherapy Radiation Burn Stage 4

Then the blisters healed and we lost a little more hair, but the skin was no longer as painful to touch.

Tomotherapy Radiation Burn Stage 5

This photo shows is about the time when the hair stopped falling out and started growing back.

Tomotherapy Radiation Burn Stage 6

The hair grew back but was always thin across the bridge of her nose and in the initial radiation burn spots.

TBC

4 thoughts on “Tomotherapy

  1. Dr R J Pentreath says:

    Could I please have permission to use the 3rd image illustrating radiation skin burns after 1 week of treatment – with acknowledgement as appropriate?

    • Alison Loughlin says:

      You have our permission to use the photo for any scholarly work. Please let us know if you need any additional information.

  2. Phoebe O'Hare says:

    In the end would you say radiation therapy was the right decision? My German Short hair finished her last treatment 5 days ago for oral melanoma and it’s shocking and heartbreaking to look at her. The entire right side of her face is raw and her eye runs constantly. The oncologist assures us that these burns are superficial and will heal, although she did state that my dog’s reaction was more severe than she had anticipated. Still trying to decide if we made the right decision or if it was selfish. Thank you.

    • Alison Loughlin says:

      I certainly understand what you mean by it being shocking and heartbreaking to look at the radiation burns. It makes you feel terrible to put them through that. On the plus side, pain seemed to be managed pretty well through Tramadol and creams. It’s a hard call because you never want to see your pet have pain, but I think the tradeoff of Nunya being able to breathe again and reducing the swelling from the tumor made it worthwhile. It traded a much worse pain for a lesser pain that did heal up fairly quickly.

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