Owner perceptions of radiotherapy treatment for veterinary patients with cancer

Smith, P. A.D., Burnside, S., Helm, J. R. and Morris, J. S. (2019) Owner perceptions of radiotherapy treatment for veterinary patients with cancer. Veterinary and Comparative Oncology, 17(3), pp. 221-233. (doi: 10.1111/vco.12454) (PMID:30663194)

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Veterinary clients may have trepidation about treating their pet with radiotherapy due to concerns about radiation side effects or repeated anaesthetics. The purpose of this study is to assess whether owners’ attitudes towards veterinary radiotherapy, including concerns over side effects, change during the course of treatment, and whether radiotherapy was perceived to affect pets’ quality of life. A prospective cohort study of clients from 2012-2015 was performed. Pets received palliative or definitive radiotherapy for various tumours. Clients completed questionnaires before, during and after radiotherapy. Questions assessed owner preconceptions before treatment, including side effect expectations, actual side effects experienced, and overall satisfaction with the process. In addition, at each time point the owners assessed their pet’s quality of life using a simple numerical scale. 49 patients were included. After completing treatment, owners were significantly less concerned about potential side effects of radiotherapy (P<0.001), side effects associated with repeat anaesthetics (P<0.001), and about radiotherapy in general (P<0.001). Quality of life did not show a significant change at any point during or after treatment. Following treatment, 94% reported the experience was better than expected and 100% supported the use of radiotherapy in pets. This is the first prospective study evaluating client attitudes and satisfaction before and after radiotherapy treatment in pets. The results indicate that radiotherapy is well tolerated, and the anxiety associated with radiotherapy is significantly alleviated after experiencing the process. These results will help veterinarians allay client concerns, and will hopefully lead to an increase in clients pursuing radiotherapy in pets.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Patrick and Burnside, Miss Shona and Morris, Professor Joanna and Helm, Miss Jenny
Authors: Smith, P. A.D., Burnside, S., Helm, J. R., and Morris, J. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Veterinary and Comparative Oncology
ISSN (Online):1476-5829
Published Online:20 January 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 John Wiley and Sons Ltd
First Published:First published in Veterinary and Comparative Oncology 17(3):221-233
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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