PHOENIX - Cancer isn't just a human disease, but veterinarians are turning to human treatment options to save our furry friends.
“Pets at home or our zoo animals, they are as close to us as a family member,” said Angela Comedy, carnivore collection manager for the Phoenix Zoo.
And when that family member is diagnosed with cancer, you’ll do anything to save them.
“This particular procedure saved her leg,” said Comedy.
The her is Caipora, a 12-year-old jaguar at the Phoenix Zoo.
Doctors during a routine yearly exam found a deadly form of cancer on Caipora's leg.
“We just noticed a small lump on her right thigh,” Comedy described.
In years past, Caipora most likely would have faced invasive surgery or even amputation. But a new treatment option gave her a second chance, and it works for your pets too.
More than 12 million cancer cases are diagnosed in dogs and cats every year, but a Gilbert veterinarian clinic is now using technology once only used on humans to save their lives.
“We’re always looking for new treatment options just like the human side,” said Dr. Eric Boshoven of PetCure Oncology.
Dr. Boshoven says animal cancers like Caipora’s are difficult to surgically remove.
“They grow with little fingers and it's those little fingers that get left behind,” said Dr. Boshoven.
They’ve now turned to a radiation therapy treatment that uses 3d mapping to precisely target the tumor from all angles, and adjust the amount of radiation automatically.
“The great news now is we can do it much faster, many fewer treatments which means much less anesthesia,” said Dr. Boshoven.
Which means your dog or cat, like Caipora, can be back on their feet in no time.