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More About Cat Cancer, Oncology and Radiation Therapy

Veterinary medicine is still in the early stages of learning about how feline cancer, oncology and radiation therapy works together to manage and stop the disease. But as more cat parents pursue cancer therapy, veterinary oncologists like Dr. Sonia Honkisz, DVM MS, assistant oncology professor at Michigan State’s College of Veterinary Medicine can help felines live healthier, longer lives. 

Two More Things to Know About Cat Cancer, Oncology and Radiation Therapy

Jerry the Tripawd Cat
Jerry wants everypawdy to know about treating cat cancer.

In today’s news blog post we’re sharing the second part of our series about about what to expect when treating your Tripawd cat with veterinary oncology therapies. 

Catch Part 1 of
Cat Cancer, Oncology and Radiation Reality

When it comes to radiation therapy, do cats handle it similarly to chemo? If not, how is it different?

Cats often handle radiation therapy better than chemotherapy. This is because radiation therapy treats a targeted area as opposed to chemotherapy, which is a systemic treatment meaning it goes everywhere in the body. With radiation therapy, we can target just the tumor and the surrounding affected tissues. As a result, the side effects experienced by the patient are limited to the area that is being treated.

One thing to remember with radiation therapy is that a patient must be placed under general anesthesia for each treatment. This ensures the patient remains still for each treatment, which allows only the area affected by the tumor to receive the full dose of radiation and spares all of the normal surrounding tissues.

With chemotherapy, the drug is most often given either orally or intravenously and travels via the blood stream throughout the body. If we could somehow tell the chemotherapy the exact locations we wanted it to go to that would be wonderful, but unfortunately that is not currently possible.

cat cancer, oncology and radiation therapy
Midnight starts feeling better after surgery.

What is the #1 thing you want cat owners to know if their vet oncologist has recommended chemotherapy?

The most important thing for any cat (or dog) owner to know if chemotherapy is recommended by a veterinary oncologist to treat their pet’s cancer is that we do not treat pets like people when it comes to cancer. For pets, it is all about quality of life. The reason for this is that unfortunately we cannot cure the majority of our patients of their cancer. Instead the goal is to give each patient the best quality of life possible for as long as possible by putting the cancer into some form of remission.

As long as the cancer is responding and the patient is enjoying a good quality of life, then we will continue with that treatment. If the cancer is not responding or quality of life is not where it should be, then we can try a different chemotherapy agent or stop treatment at anytime.

Share Your TriKitty Cat Cancer, Oncology and Radiation Therapy Experience

If you went through chemotherapy or radiation treatment with your three-legged cat, send us your story. We strive to help other TriKitty parents know what to expect when faced with this disease, and your experience is one way to do that. Thanks for sharing.

Again, many thanks to Purrkin’s mom Holly and Dr. Honkisz from the pawesome vet oncology team at Michigan State’s College of Veterinary Medicine!

Sharing is Caring!

1 thought on “More About Cat Cancer, Oncology and Radiation Therapy”

  1. Some more valuable information shared for kitties facing the dilemma of treatment options.
    These brave kitties are paving the way for more and more victories on this crazy journey.

    With appreciation to all
    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!


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