News & Events


News and Events

Radiation Therapy at VRC

When you hear about radiation therapy, your mind may be brought to images of the Toxic Avenger, or news stories about victims of radiation accidents. Radiation therapy and how it works may seem like a mystery, and mystery can lead to apprehension. Rest assured that this treatment for cancer has evolved along with many advances in technology, resulting in highly accurate and safe treatments.

One main goal of radiation therapy is to deposit high doses of radiation in the unwanted tumor tissue, while exposing the surrounding normal tissue to the least amount of radiation possible. It is the normal tissues in the treatment area that limit the overall dose of radiation that we can safely prescribe. Quality of life is of utmost importance, and so the way radiation treatments are planned is to limit the number and severity of radiation side effects as much as possible. As with other treatments in veterinary medicine, there are side effects that must be managed to provide the best experience for the patient.

Perhaps you have heard of “radiation burns” from previous accounts of treatment with radiation therapy. This is a bit of a misnomer, as radiation does not incite a thermal injury. Rather, if tissues close to the skin surface experience some radiation dose, we get what is called “moist desquamation”.

Moist desquamation is when the lower layer of skin cells are affected on the first day of radiation therapy, and it typically takes these cells three or four weeks to rise to the surface during natural skin replenishment. When these cells reach the surface, they turn wet and fall off in a layer, leaving the underlying pink, healthy tissues. This is similar to if you’ve ever scraped your knee on asphalt: the underlying pink tissue gives off a fluid (plasma) that hardens into a crust (scab).

Moist desquamation may occur with mild inflammation. Our patients at VRC are prescribed a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and other low-dose pain medication to help with comfort while this early radiation side effect heals. Whether treated or not, most early effects of radiation therapy are healed within two-to-three weeks after treatment. It has been found that daily cleansing of the radiation site will help to hydrate the crusts that form and allow them to exfoliate naturally, accelerating the healing process.

Many accounts of “radiation burns” from therapeutic radiation come from older treatment plans using orthovoltage. This treatment modality utilized a lower energy beam that had higher radiation dose deposition in skin and preferential radiation dose absorption by bone. The early radiation effects from orthovoltage treatment included severe inflammation of the skin, while the late side effects (effects present 6 months after radiation therapy) included death of bone tissue, scarring of soft tissues, and secondary tumor formation. With the advent of the linear accelerator, which treats with a higher energy radiation beam (megavoltage), there is a skin sparing effect and no preferential bone absorption of radiation dose. This is why our patients look so good after treatment!

Another way to limit radiation dose to the normal surrounding tissues is to dose radiation over multiple beams from different angles. The multiple beams converge on the treated tumor, while the surrounding tissues experience a fraction of the dose. High dose conformity over the tumor is further enhanced by planning with Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT), which uses individual lead leaves in the machine’s radiation window that are in constant motion during treatment. This action shapes the radiation field, “painting” the dose across the tumor and sparing more normal tissue than is possible with conventional radiation planning. IMRT can be used with nasal tumors, heart base tumors, prostate tumors, and more tumor types are being added to the list.

To learn more about Radiation Therapy at VRC or any other services that we offer, please give us a call at 610-647-2950 or email us at info@vrcmalvern.com.

 

Continuing Education at VRC

Is This Going to Burn? Side Effects of Radiation Therapy

WEDNESDAY, February 3, 2016 AT 7:00 PM

Rick Chetney DVM

A Discourse on Minimizing Side Effects of Therapeutic Radiation in Veterinary Medicine

  • Basic overview of previous radiation therapy delivery methods
  • How current practices in radiation therapy can minimize side effects to normal tissues
  • Types of radiation therapy in current use
  • How current practices in radiation therapy can minimize side effects to normal tissues
  • How to manage radiation side effects once they are observed

1 credit of complimentary CE through RACE and PVMA

LOCATION :

VRC Veterinary Referral Center

340 Lancaster Avenue

Malvern, PA 19355

 

PROGRAM :

Complimentary dinner and meet and greet starts at 7:00 pm. Session begins at 7:30 pm followed by Q & A.

Please contact Dara Longhini to register by January 28: 610-647-2950 or dlonghini@vrcmalvern.com.

Important VRC Announcement

To Our Referring Veterinary Community and Clients,

As we approach the end of 2015, all of us at VRC would like to express our gratitude for the trust and confidence you have placed in us to care for your clients and their pets. We recognize that you have many choices in where to refer your clients or receive specialty care for your pets and we appreciate that you have chosen us.

We have spent the greater part of this year learning and listening to the community and our referring veterinarians. We have heard and understood the importance of having all of our services under one roof to enable better patient care. This is why we are proud to announce the initiation of two changes to occur on January 4 that further elevate our medical offerings and increase client service.

Our first announcement is that we are relocating all of our services to the VRC hospital at 340 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern, PA. We know after 44 years in this community how important it is to have immediate access to all services. Combining the Cancer Center and VRC will create efficiencies, elevate our care and streamline communications for both referring DVMs and pet owners alike.

Our second announcement is that our very own Dr. John Anastasio, the current Director of Emergency and Critical Care will expand his role to become the medical director for the entire hospital. Dr. Kenneth Sadanaga and Dr. Dietrich Franczuszki both look forward to turning their attention fully on their surgical procedures and client communication. They are as eager as I am to see these exciting changes implemented and to witness the enhancements in customer experience that we know will accompany them.

We have always understood the importance of the customer experience, from interactions with our reception to the journey that both our patients and clients undertake while in our care. We also recognize the significance of a strong communication line between a referring veterinarian and the veterinary specialists on our team. These aforementioned changes will create a more unified environment in our hospital that will even further develop the client care and communication with the referral community that we already so deeply value. Under one roof, we will have the ability to work together and hold ourselves to the same high standards that we have in the past, while simultaneously striving to raise the bar and exceed expectations. We hope that these changes even further reinforce the confidence you already have in us as we enter 2016.

From all of us at VRC, we wish you, your staff, and family a happy holiday season and a healthy and prosperous New Year.

Best Regards,

James Gregory
Hospital Director
VRC Veterinary Hospital
340 Lancaster Ave
Malvern, PA 19355

How to Schedule an Appointment with a Veterinary Specialist in Philadelphia

Important Notice: If you are having an emergency with your pet, we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call (610) 647-2950 for emergency medicine and critical care.

The Internet was supposed to make everything so much easier for us, wasn’t it? Doctor SadanagaBut we all know that sometimes that isn’t the case. While it’s easier than ever before to look up something like “veterinarian in Philadelphia,” sometimes we’re spoiled for choice by the results. It can be hard to sift through everything, especially if you’re looking for something like a veterinary specialist in Philadelphia.

What is a veterinary specialist? Well, veterinary specialists are comprehensive, specialty healthcare centers, like VRC in Malvern. We’re not your typical vet. VRC specializes in advanced diagnostic testing, as well as comprehensive cancer care. Our services include cardiology, internal medicine, reproductive services, ophthalmology, cardiology… even ongoing management of pain and rehabilitation services. We provide all the care of a normal veterinarian, with extras that mean we can take referrals from your vet (though a referral is not required to be seen by our specialists). That said if you are referred, please ask your primary vet to give you any copies of your pet’s medical records, lab reports, and so on, to be submitted with our referral form. We like to make sure to review your pet’s history and needs before you come in, in order to provide the best care possible.

And speaking of that referral form, we love ours. It’s a tool we use to make your visit as good as it can be. The first question we ask is the name of your preferred doctor—so view our Veterinary Team page and get to know us! You can then select what sort of specialist you’re looking for, so we understand your exact needs. It’s also a good idea to include in our message field why you want to come in, so we can get to the heart of the matter when it comes to specialty veterinary care.

VRC is only 25 miles from Philadelphia, which means we’re close-by when you need specialty care—but we’re also close when you need emergency care. VRC is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and if you’re having an emergency, don’t wait! Call us at (610) 647-2950.

VRC in Malvern, PA is here for your pet. We’re dedicated to providing top-notch medical care for your furry friends, and helping you manage their illness through the healing process. We believe we offer the best in specialty care for animals, and we’d love to provide that for your pet, too. When you need us, we’re here: so get in touch. We’re close by, and eager to help.