News // 12.11.20

Immunotherapy to treat cancer in dogs and cats

Dolly is a gorgeous 11 year old pug that presented to us as she had developed 9 small lumps over various parts of her body. Samples of these were taken in consultation and the cytology revealed mast cells. Dolly was taken to surgery and diagnosed with multiple grade 1 mast cell tumours.

Pugs are a breed that can develop multiple cutaneous mast cell tumours. Treatment options include oral cortisone and antihistamines, or referral to Oncology to discuss potential chemotherapy. Dolly's family were concerned about the side effects of the treatments and so we discussed the idea of using her own body to fight her cancer.

Dr Chris Weir has been conducting a study using immunotherapy to treat cancer in dogs. Tumours surgically removed are used to make up vaccines that stimulate an immune response that targets and attacks their cancer cells. He is still in the process of determining what cancers respond to these vaccines.

Dolly was started on weekly intramuscular injections for the first 4 weeks then monthly injections until she had 6 in total. She didn't mind the injections as they were followed by treats! Her remaining mast cell tumours have regressed and she has not developed any further mast cell tumours.

We currently have other patients undergoing immunotherapy (including cats) for:

  • Melanoma
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Cutaneous Mast Cell Tumours

Please contact Allambie Vet to book an appointment with one of our experienced vets, if you wish to discuss Immunotherapy.

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