Treating cancer in a pet is a difficult process for both the animal and the owners watching their pets suffer and paying the bills. It is also hard to find alternatives to radical surgery.
A former executive in the cancer treatment industry recently launched PetCure Oncology, a company that offers a form of radiation therapy called radiosurgery.
The treatment involves no needles or incisions and takes about 10 minutes. A clinician takes a CT scan of the pet in order to pinpoint the cancer. The animal is anesthetized and placed in a mold so the radiosurgery machine can be aimed precisely. Two hundred beams of high-powered energy converge on the tumor and melt it away in as few as one session and as many as three sessions. The conventional radiation treatment generally consists of two dozen treatments.
Big dogs tend to get bone tumors in their legs and veterinarians generally prescribe amputation. However, if the cancer is detected early, the dog could be treated with radiosurgery instead.
Radiosurgery also only has one side effect, fur discoloring, compared to conventional radiation which often leaves burns on the animal.
The former executive who launched PetCure has suspected that there was a market for veterinary radiosurgery based on the increasing amounts Americans were spending on their animal companions. According to the American Pet Products Association located in Greenwich, Connecticut, from 1994 to 2014, pet expenditures tripled to $58 billion. However he remained skeptical about starting his own venture but was finally persuaded when his golden retriever was diagnosed with cancer.
PetCure partners with veterinary hospitals or specialists and has raised $4 million. Its first clinic opened in Phoenix in May and the second is scheduled to open this month in Cincinnati. Clinics are scheduled to open in Chicago and Milwaukee early next year and two more are in the works for late 2016, however at the moment it is unknown where they will be located.