Cancer CareIt is always difficult to learn that your beloved pet may have cancer. We have many diagnostic tools such as ultrasound, radiographs and bloodwork that can help us diagnose and determine the best treatment plan for your pet. Some cancers can be cured by our veterinarians with aggressive surgical removal, but for those that cannot be, our hospital offers other methods of treatment such as Chemotherapy and use of the K9-ACV Cancer Vaccine. Fortunately, there are now multiple ways to help our pets live longer, happier lives!
Thankfully, animals tend to tolerate chemotherapy treatment better than people. Pets experience far fewer side effects and do not lose their fur. Chemotherapy can be used to reduce the chance of metastasis (spread of cancer to other organs) or to treat many forms of cancer and can greatly increase length of remission. Our doctors have experience with many types of cancer and use the most up to date treatment protocols to give their patients the best possible outcome.
Pets are typically treated on an outpatient basis. Protocols vary but can include single injections at regular intervals, oral medications and, with certain medications, temporary hospitalization with IV fluid therapy. Blood screenings are done regularly and medications are given to reduce nausea as needed. Our doctors work closely with the family to make sure pets are comfortable and treatment is appropriate.
K9 – ACV (Canine Autologous Cancer Vaccine)
In our continued effort to offer the most cutting edge treatments to our patients, we are excited to offer K9-ACV here in the clinic. This approach utilizes the technology of immunotherapy to create a personalized vaccine to help fight various types of cancers. Cancer has a way of hiding in the body, going unnoticed by the immune system which is meant to fight invaders. In the same way a standard vaccine “trains” the cells in the body to identify and fight a specific disease, the pet's own tumor cells are used to create a vaccine to be used so the body recognizes the cancer and begins to fight it.
While the vaccine is not appropriate for all types of cancer, it can be used with any type where there is a lesion large enough for sample removal. The vaccine is a series of three doses which are given at 30 day intervals. While the vaccine does not necessarily provide a cure, there have been very positive results with increased survival time and quality of life.
Stelfonta is an intratumoral injectable chemotherapy used to treat mast cell tumors in dogs. Mast cell tumors in dogs typically required wide surgical excision, which was difficult, if not impossible, in some areas of the body. With the development of Stelfonta, non-metastatic mast cell tumors that are cutaneous nearly anywhere on the body, or subcutaneous distal to the knee or elbow, can now be treated without surgery, oftentimes even without sedation. The tumor is treated with the injection, and the medication targets the blood supply to the mast cell tumor and causes the tumor to necrose and slough. An open wound is then created and will heal via second intention over the next several weeks. This new treatment eliminates the need for potentially aggressive surgeries (amputations in some cases) and is an in-and-out procedure. Potential adverse events of this medication can include potentially extensive wound formation, local swelling, redness, and bruising, pain at the treatment site, lameness or lymph node enlargement of the affected limb, gastrointestinal upset, or allergic reaction.