Radiation therapy is widely used for the treatment of solid tumors not only in people, but also in animals. As you may know already, radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays in order to target and kill tumor cells in various locations in the body that do not allow the surgeon to medically remove them. It is not uncommon for animals of all sizes and species to develop a solid and cancerous tumor that cannot be surgically removed – when that happens, radiation therapy can turn out to be beneficial, although the efficacy of the treatment depends greatly on the location of the tumor as well as on the extent of the disease. The radiation therapy in animals can eradicate cancer as well as lower its risk of recurrence, especially when used in combination with surgery. Moreover, radiation therapy can also prove to be beneficial in animals where the tumor has started to spread to other parts of their body, as the therapy can shrink and stabilize the tumor growth.
The veterinary radiology/oncology technician are trained professionals who work in the veterinary medicine industry, and who specialize in interpreting different diagnostic images. It is the main duty of these professionals to evaluate the medical diagnostic images provided by radiographs, nuclear medicine scans, CT scans, ultrasound scans as well as magnetic resonance imaging scans, in order to reveal whether the animal patient suffers from any type of cancer that may require radiation therapy. It is also the duty of the veterinary radiology/oncology technician to come up with a targeted treatment plan that is tailored and adjusted to the medical needs of each animal patient.
Nonetheless, it must be said that the duties and responsibilities of modern veterinary radiology/oncology technician go far beyond diagnosing conditions: these animal health care professionals commonly write up detailed case reports, they use advanced software and state of the art machines in order to carefully scan and interpret the image results, and they also provide specialty consultations along with overseeing the medical activity of other veterinary technicians or veterinarians that work within the same zoo, animal hospital or private practice. In some cases, it is also the duty of the veterinary radiology/oncology technician to scan and then send the image via network and to consult with other radiologists from their field of practice, from all around the world.
How Does One Become A Veterinary Radiology/Oncology Technician?
The training required for becoming a professional vet radiology and oncology technician is rather complex, as these professionals must firstly become registered vet techs, and then they must pursue further training as veterinary radiology/oncology technician. In order for that to happen, these animal health care professionals must work within a facility that specializes in radiation therapy for animals, under the close supervision of a veterinary radiology/oncology technician that is board certified. The ACVR, or the American College of Veterinary Radiology is the board that is responsible for reviewing and certifying the vet radiology and oncology technicians in the United States of America.
In addition to this, most private practices or animal hospitals that employ veterinary radiology/oncology technician also have different residency training programs that these professionals can benefit from. It is of utmost importance for every future vet radiation oncology tech to have strong hands-on experience in the field, and this is precisely what these tailored residency programs aim to help them achieve.
Certification Options for Veterinary Radiologists
When it comes to certification requirements for vet radiology and oncology technicians, it must be said that these animal health care providers must firstly complete a DVM degree (a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree). Only after receiving their license they can pursue the board certification in the specialty field of oncology and radiology. In addition to obtaining the DVM degree, these professionals must also complete a one to two year internship, in conjunction with a multi-year residency program under the close supervision of a radiology diploma that has been board certified. The residencies cover all the important parts of veterinary medicine, varying from ultrasounds for small and large animals and large animal radiology to computerized tomography, MRI scans as well as nuclear medicine.
The certification exam for vet radiology and oncology technicians has both a written and an oral component, and it is administered by the American College of Veterinary Radiologists. After passing the exam and getting their certification, these veterinary medicine professionals must complete continuing education credits on a yearly basis, in order to maintain their board certification active and valid.