There is still a lot that can be done…!
I am happy to announce that we have opened a specialty clinic for radiation therapy for animals south of Munich. For the first time not only cats and dogs but also horses can be treated with a high dose radiation machine. The unit belongs to the specialty clinic for radiation therapy of Dr. Ulrich Wendlberger, CertVD, Mühlbaurstrasse 45, 81677 Munich (www.tierarztwendlberger.de). There the skin patients are examined and various radiation treatments like photodynamic therapy (PDT), UV treatments and orthovoltage radiation are being offered. In addition plastic surgery like skin transplants and skin grafts are done there in collaboration with specialists from human medicine.
The practice is conveniently located in vicinity to the Autobahn A 8 (Salzburg – Munich) in an industrial area in 85521 Riemerling / Hohenbrunn , Rudolf-Diesel-Strasse 24 (map here).
The radiation therapy is performed in the basement of an industrial building where a hoist is available for patients if needed.
The unit is composed of a high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy afterloader loaded with Iridium (Ir-)192. Radioactive material (Ir-192) is inserted directly into the tumor and in contrast to permanent seeds the material is removed after a calculated dose. Thus there is no radioactive burden remaining in the animal when it returns home. This is in contrast to low dose brachytherapy using iridium seeds or wires which remain in the animal until the calculated dose has been applied. During this period of time people dealing with the animal are being radiated themselves.
The big advantage of HDR brachytherapy is the high dosage of radiation that can be applied directly on or in the tumor thus protecting the surrounding normal tissue to a maximum extent. By means of this minimally invasive technique the radionuclide is inserted directly into the target tissue via catheters and remains there for a computer calculated time period. Another option is to use natural orifices of the body. Unlike in teletherapy methods (cobalt 60 machines, linear accelerator) healthy tissue does not have to be radiated to reach the tumor!
Furthermore an advantage of brachytherapy is that higher dosages can be applied per fraction. Every single treatment requires a sedation to immobilize the animal, however we have the big advantage of using less anesthesia. This reduces the effort and the health risk plus the costs for the treatment without reducing the efficacy of the treatment. If soft catheters remain in the animal the costs for the next treatment planning are facilitated and the costs for the owner are reduced as a consequence.
Which animal species can be treated?
Horses, dogs and cats
Which tumors can be treated?
Mainly tumors of the skin or underlying tissue, oral tumors, mammary tumors. Even on locations on the body that are difficult to be operated on such as those close to joints, on the head, eye lids etc. .
Internal tumors such as those in the lungs, pancreas or liver could theoretically be treated, too.
We will mainly focus on:
- Equine sarcoids
- Feline fibrosarcomas
- Tumors in the mouth / under the tongue
- Mammary tumors
- Tumors that had already been radiated using teletherapy or as booster therapy for such treatments
The radiation itself takes only a few minutes but the planning is rather time-consuming. The number of fractions depends on the nature of the tumor and the treatment goal. We will always try to plan the number of treatments as low as possible.
Costs of treatment:
Radiation therapies are high tech therapies and unfortunately not cheap. But if radiation therapy is a good option to cure a patient or to improve his quality of life brachytherapy offers a comparatively economic alternative to teletherapies using linear accelerators or Co-60 machines. This is true for single or even multiple tumors but not for whole body radiations. In these tumors one can obtain the same results at lower costs, less risk for healthy tissue and less anesthesia.
Advantages of HDR-brachytherapy in general:
- Short radiation time
- High biological efficacy
- Steep decrease of radiation on the edge = maximum protection of the surrounding tissue
- High dose in a small volume
- Applicable even if the tumor grows back
Advance Reservation Planning:
As of December 2008 a waiting list has been opened. As information the following details will be necessary:
• Type of tumor (histology)
• Localization on the body (digital photographs)
• History of treatments
The best way would be by referral from your own vet.
You can send the information by email to
or call us at +49-89-980609. You can also send us photographs or medical records so we can give you treatment options.