What is Radiotherapy?

Radiotherapy is the use of ionizing radiation to control or kill malignant cells in a tumour. It is often curative if there is a localised tumour in one area of the body. Radiotherapy can often follow surgical removal of the offending tumour. It then kills the tumour cells left in the body following surgery.

Radiotherapy is effective against certain types of cancer.  One of these is the sun induced Squamous Cell Carcinoma which is commonly seen on the noses of cats and the bellies of sun baking dogs.  Mast Cell Tumour which are particularly common in Staffordshire Bull Terriers but can occur in any breed of dog are also very sensitive to radiation therapy. Also soft tissue sarcomas are sensitive to radiation

History of Radiotherapy at Blackwood Vets

Mary Ann's father, Dr Deane Harvey, as a retired human Radiotherapist, spent many years treating cats, dogs and horses in Adelaide and the surrounding area.  Mary Ann's involvement began in late 1999 when another local radiotherapy medical specialist, Dr Swaney, made contact with her to treat a colleagues dog. They worked together in private practice for several years before setting up a superficial therapeutic radiotherapy machine at Blackwood Veterinary Surgery in 2003.

Radiotherapy at Blackwood Veterinary Surgery

While there are limitations to the range of cases we can treat, we successfully treat superifical skin tumours and use radiotherapy as a follow up to excision of some skin and subcutaneous tumours. Cats with Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the nose are treated very successful without the need for often painful cryosurgery or surgical excision.

 We use radiotherapy to treat our own patients as well as seeing referral cases from veterinarians all over Adelaide.


Case reports.

  • Misty - Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the pad.

Misty is a very sweet 12 year old Keeshond who had prior treatment at another vet clinic for a suspected infection but it was not resolving. A biopsy here confirmed Squamous Cell Carcinoma(SCC). Surgical excision of the affected tissue would have required removal of her main weight bearing pad, and if incomplete, amputation would be required. A course of radiotherapy resulted in a residual small area of cancerous tissue which was then surgically excised,  leaving a functional pad.

3 weeks after last treatment At suture removal
Before biopsy   During treatment 3 weeks after
last treatment
At suture removal
  • Prince - Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the nose

Prince is a cat who 2 months previously has cryosurgery treatment for a SCC on the right side of his nose at another clinic. When we saw him, his nose was quite thickened and rubbery, with a new area of ulceration on the left hand side. Three weeks after the last treatment, the nose had healed with a small defect and still has not had a relapse 8 months later.


2 views pre-treatment 4 weeks post treatment


  • Pussy - Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the nose

At 16 years of age, Pussy had a large painful SCC on her nose increasing in size over 4 months. Three weeks after the radiotherapy treatment course, a central dry scab remained. Three months after this the nose had completely healed.


Ready for
1st treatment
2 weeks after
2nd treatment
3 weeks after
last treatment


  • Chester-Mast Cell Tumour of the Nose.

Chester is a Cocker Spaniel and  was 10 months old when he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 Mast Cell Tumour of the nose.  He received 3 radiotherapy treatments at weekly intervals which resulted has resulted in complete cure. 



                                                                    At time of first treatment




                                                             2 weeks after third treatment



3 months after original treatment


  • Lockie-Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the nose in a cat.

Lockie was 16 years old when he was diagnosed with an extensive squamous cell carcinoma of the nose.  He received 2 radioterapy treatments of the nose which has resulted in complete cure.



                                                      At time of first treatment



                                                      2 weeks after 2nd treatment



                                                One month after original treatment


6 months after original treatment



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