Radiation therapy in benign diseases, particularly in arthroses, has been used as a successful treatment method in human medicine for more than one hundred years. In their study “Röntgenreizbestrahlungen bei 60 Hunden mit Osteoarthrosen” A.-Ch. Voss & I. Heuschmann aimed to evaluate efficiency and practical performance of radiation therapy in dogs with arthroses.
Two radiotherapy machines with X-ray energies of 50 to 200 keV were used. 60 dogs receiving a low dose radiotherapy in 154 different joints were included in the study. They were treated in single doses of 1 Gy to total doses of 6 Gy within three weeks. All dogs except three had been treated with pain medicaments before radiation. A classification scheme was used to assess the clinical severity of arthroses before and after radiation therapy using the Xstrahl 150 X-ray therapy system.
26 dogs (43%) displayed complete improvement of pain and symptoms, 18 (30%) a remarkable improvement, and 10 (17%) a little improvement. In six dogs (10%) no changes could be observed. These patients showed an improvement at first, but this only lasted for some weeks. No side effects occurred in any of the cases.
The fractionation with 1 Gy per session to 6 Gy total dose within 3 weeks led to very good results in the treatment of painful arthroses in dogs. X-rays with an energy of 50–200 keV are sufficient in the treatment of benign diseases in small animals with low single and total doses. An advantage of the radiation technique is that there is no need for a tube attached to the treated joint that would disturb the animal. Narcotics are rarely necessary. Treatment records and clinical studies should be performed in order to publish and introduce this simple and efficient method of radiation therapy in dogs.