Wakefield vets launches UK-first superficial radiation therapy for animals

Wakefield animal hospital, Paragon Referrals, has become the first veterinary centre in the UK to launch a pioneering superficial radiation therapy (SRT) service for pets.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 10:06 am
Updated Friday, 12th November 2021, 10:08 am
Smudge, the first patient to undergo treatment with the new Xtrahl 100 superficial radiotherapy system at Paragon Veterinary Referrals, under the watchful eye of oncology specialist Dr Rodney Ayl and RVN Dani White.

Paragon’s renowned medical and radiation oncology specialist, Dr Rodney Ayl, has been the trail-blazer for the new service and says it will transform the way the Wakefield hospital can treat skin cancers, dermatological disorders and some other common superficial conditions.

Linnaeus-owned Paragon has invested £150,000 to install the country’s first Xstrahl 100 superficial radiotherapy system after the successful use of the therapy by Dr Ayl in the USA, adapting its use from humans to animals.

Dr Ayl said: “This is a very exciting development for us and our clients because Xstrahl systems have been used so successfully in human medicine for many years.

“This prompted us to explore adapting the SRT system for veterinary use in the UK and we hope to collaborate with Colorado State University, which has a similar unit, to develop protocols for pets.

“We believe this will be a significant advance in the treatment and care of animals and we’re delighted to be at the forefront of introducing this new service.

“It is the only one of its kind for pets in the UK and there are very few units like this anywhere in the veterinary industry, so it really is an important move forward.”

Dr Ayl says Xstrahl radiotherapy systems have been used by leading clinicians and specialists around the world to care for humans and are specifically designed for the treatment of skin cancer, dermatological disorders, certain types of benign disease and some palliative care.

He said having adapted the SRT system for animals will transform not only their treatment but also the logistics and cost of getting radiation therapy for superficial skin conditions.

He added: “Superficial radiotherapy is particularly useful for treating some types of skin cancer where it may be preferable to surgery as it can deliver excellent non-invasive outcomes with curative or palliative intent.

“The treatment is less stressful from the outset and, thanks to its mechanism of action, it is also pain-free.

“Its use of different size cones, directly over the lesion, minimises effects on healthy skin and the fast treatment means a large reduction in time and impact on the patient’s day-to-day life, while providing a highly-effective treatment.

“The machine’s flexibility also makes it particularly suited for treating multiple lesions that are difficult to access, such as the head and neck, without changing patient positioning.

“The Xstrahl 100 system will help us to respond to the growing demand for radiation treatment and we can treat these patients on an outpatient basis, helping us to reduce surgical and hospitalisation costs.

“The technology is a real winner. It is easy to use and helps us to deliver safe and effective radiotherapy to our animal patients.

“It provides a quicker, easier, cheaper and non-invasive alternative for superficial tumours, especially in geriatric patients where surgery is not always an option. We’re looking forward to seeing the positive results here at Paragon.”