Revolutionary Treatment Helps Beloved Cat Bounce Back from Cancer

BOSTON, Dec. 3, 2014 – A beloved seven-year-old cat named “Dolce” is the latest patient at Angell Animal Medical Center to be treated with an advanced kind of radiotherapy that shapes a beam of light around a tumor with such precision that it leaves nearby tissues unharmed, significantly minimizing side effects.

Angell is currently the only veterinary hospital in New England to offer the treatment, called Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy, or IMRT.

Dolce is being treated for a nasal lymphoma—a cancerous tumor inside his nasal passageway—which, according to Angell oncologist Dr. Lyndsay Kubicek, positions IMRT as a very effective treatment.

“This treatment is the ‘holy grail’ for patients suffering from malignant tumors that are in close proximity to vital structures such as eyes, the brain and so on,” she said.  “In Dolce’s case it’s essential for us to be able to effectively treat his cancer without causing further damage to the tissues of his face and nearby organs.”

This is Dolce’s second battle with cancer; he lost his right eye to a tumor two years ago.

The Angell oncology team prepares Dolce for his latest IMRT treatment (credit: MSPCA-Angell)

The Angell oncology team prepares Dolce for his latest IMRT treatment (credit: MSPCA-Angell)

“Obviously we want to do everything we can to treat him successfully without compromising the integrity of his remaining eye,” added Dr. Kubicek.

Dolce has completed two rounds of treatment and will likely be finished this month.

One Port, No New Needles
As part of Dolce’s treatment he was fitted with a special catheter that stays in for two to three days at a time—which enables the oncology team to administer anesthesia quickly and without having to prick him anew with needles at the start of each treatment.

For other IMRT patients the team uses a Vascular Access Port (VAP) which stays in throughout the duration of the treatment.  “Angell is the only veterinary hospital in the Boston area that routinely uses VAPs to administer anesthesia for radiation, chemotherapy or for fluids,” said Dr. Kubicek.  “The port allows for shorter treatment sessions and far greater comfort for the patient.”

Dolce’s owner, Cassidy Briggs of New Hampshire, is anxious but hopeful that her cat will pull through.  “Having a pet fall victim to cancer is one of the most difficult things one can experience, but the progress he’s making is extremely encouraging,” she said.  “I have faith in the doctors and the technology, and I’m so eager to see him through the remainder of his treatment.”

After treatment concludes, Dolce will be monitored every two months or so for the next year so that Dr. Kubicek and her team can determine if any cancer cells remain—or have spread to other parts of his body—in which case they can determine the best course of treatment.

For more information about Angell Animal Medical Center’s oncology (and other) specialty services readers may click here. To see a video of IMRT in action on one of Angell’s canine patients, Bodie, please visit




Angell Animal Medical Center cares for more than 50,000 animals a year and is one of the most acclaimed veterinary practices in the country. Angell has 67 doctors and an experienced support staff who work as a team to ensure high quality general wellness, emergency and specialty care. With 31 board-certified specialists and technology that includes an MRI specifically designed for animals, Angell is committed to providing a broad range of specialized expertise and experience, but delivers this care with one-on-one compassion that animals and their owners deserve. Angell is open for emergencies 24 hours of every day of the year, and offers night and weekend appointments with our specialty services.

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