Canine Cancer. Potential new cancer vaccine may help pets and people too! Canine Cancer is a scary word for everyone. Pet owners can be confronted with this frightening diagnosis in their pets as well. New research, though, may be providing a way to achieve victory over one deadly disease.
Melanomas are common skin cancers of people and are a type of cancer that we share with our dogs. Melanomas are considered to be an extremely dangerous type of cancer. Our canine companions can also develop the skin version of melanoma, but more often, develop a serious oral cancer known as Canine Malignant Melanoma, or CMM. This cancer is the most common oral cancer in dogs and accounts for about 5% of all canine cancers.
The Animal Medical Center in New York and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Canine Cancer Center have joined forces to help find a cure and better treatment options for people and dogs affected by melanoma. Their research has shown remarkable results and may have paved the way for a commercial “cancer” vaccine in the future.
Building on that research, Merial Animal Health, a leading veterinary pharmaceutical company, has developed a similar vaccine that is based on the technology used by Sloan-Kettering and the Animal Medical Center. The USDA has granted Merial a conditional license for this vaccine and it has recently become available for veterinary oncologists. It is hoped that this new vaccine will continue to show the amazing results previously seen, as well as continued safety and efficacy.
As our pets age, cancer can become a threat to our pets. It is estimated that cancer accounts for almost half of the deaths of all pets over the age of ten. But, not all lumps and bumps are cancerous. Talk to your veterinarian before making any treatment decisions for your pet. Many options, including radiation and chemotherapy, may be available and are often very well tolerated by our pets.
As always, be proactive about your pet’s healthcare and ask your veterinarian about your concerns.