Radiation therapy is the medical use of high dose radiation to destroy cancer cells by damaging the cells’ DNA to interfere with cell replication and kill them. It may be used on its own or in combination with other treatments, such as surgery or chemotherapy, or to reduce the size of very large tumors prior to surgery. There are several radiation protocols used in veterinary medicine. Your veterinary oncologist will choose the therapy most appropriate for your pet’s individual situation.
Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, corticosteroids are a valuable class of medications. They are commonly used to treat mild inflammatory conditions and/or to suppress the inflammation associated with an allergic response. When administered in high doses, they act as immunosuppressant drugs meaning they suppress or prevent an immune response. Corticosteroids have both short- and long-term side effects including increased drinking/eating and increased risk of infections. Corticosteroids can be life-saving medications and improve the quality of life for many dogs.
Nebulization and coupage are two techniques used in the treatment of lung disease. Nebulization is a term used to describe the delivery of a fine mist to the lungs. In some cases, this fine mist may consist of saline or water only. Coupage is performed by striking the chest gently but firmly with cupped hands.
Therapeutic laser is the application of light energy to areas of the body to stimulate healing. This light–tissue interaction is called photobiomodulation. In the past, therapeutic laser was often referred to as low-level or cold laser (as opposed to a surgical or hot laser).
As veterinarians become more conscious of the details and nuances of how dogs experience pain, they search for more methods with which to battle both acute and chronic pain in these patients. It is quite common now to look to human medicine for ideas and techniques that can be applied to dogs who are dealing with pain issues to help them feel better and to help relive their pain and discomfort. Therapeutic massage is one example of a physical medicine technique that has found a place in the canine pain management armamentarium.
Therapeutic ultrasound is used as a treatment modality (method) to exert thermal, mechanical, and chemical effects on the treated tissues to enhance and facilitate healing. Physical therapists have used therapeutic ultrasound on human patients since the 1940s, and veterinarians have used it on animals since the 1970's.
Toad poisoning (or toxicity) occurs when a dog is exposed to the toxins secreted by certain species of toads. The two most common species of toads that cause poisonings in the United States are the cane or marine toad and the Colorado River or Sonoran desert toad. While there are toads in Canada that secrete toxic substances, their effects are much less severe than the toxins secreted by the cane or Sonoran desert toads. Death can occur quickly and immediate treatment is required.
Transdermal means the application of a medicine or drug through the skin. In the simplest terms, a drug is placed on top of the skin, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. Transdermal medications have many advantages, chief among them ease of application. Medications that can be absorbed through the skin bypass the need for pills or liquids, which can be a challenge to administer to some pets.