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CANCER – PBGVCA Health Committee Reference Center

Cancer Link Resources

Bartonella Bacteria Found in Hemangiosarcoma Tumors from Dogs
Veterinary Medicine News, January 15, 2020 Learn more..

UC Davis Veterinarian Having Success with Innovative Prostate Cancer Treatment
June 16, 2015 Learn more

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The Role of Neutering in Cancer Development

By Annette N. Smith, DVM, MS
Vet Clin Small Anim 44 (2014) 965-975

Many PBGVs in the PBGVCA community are reproductively intact because they are being actively shown or are in breeding programs. What about the dogs who are retired from the ring, are no longer being bred or are family pets? The advantages of neutering the latter group of dogs are well documented. A spayed bitch doesn’t worry about pyometra, isn’t surprised by an unplanned pregnancy and no longer has to shop in the feminine hygiene aisle of the supermarket. A castrated male is less likely to roam, fight or mount inappropriately. In addition, neutering leads to decreased risk of mammary, ovarian and uterine tumors of the female, and testicular tumors of the male. What’s not to like?

Dr. Annette Smith is Professor of Clinical Sciences at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. Her clinical specialty is oncology. Dr. Smith has gathered information from published studies on the effect of surgical sterilization on the occurrence of cancer.

Her article cites several studies that have found an increased risk of certain tumor types in surgically altered dogs. For example, osteosarcoma is more common in large and giant breeds, and neutered dogs of those breeds have a two-fold high risk for this diagnosis. Several studies have found the risk of hemangiosarcoma is many-fold greater in neutered females than intact, whereas the risk for males was less. The risks for both lymphoma and transitional cell carcinoma are higher in neutered dogs of both sexes.

Dr. Smith cites a study published in 2013 that examined the causes of death among more than 40,000 dogs presented to North American veterinary teaching hospitals from 1984 to 2004 (Hoffman, Creevy, and Promislow, 2013, PLOS ONE 8:e61082). The authors found a slight increase in life expectancy in sterilized dogs as compared to intact; however, they found large differences in the cause of death. Sterilized dogs of both sexes were much less likely to die of infectious disease (i.e., parvovirus, heartworm, canine distemper, intestinal parasites), trauma, vascular disease and degenerative disease. In contrast, the sterilized dogs were more likely to die of cancer (i.e. transitional cell carcinoma, osteosarcoma, lymphoma, mast cell tumors) and immunemediated disease. The relationship between sterilization and risk of cancer was seen in all size classes of dogs.

The bottom line is that neutering has positive effects on behaviors, noncancerous diseases and lifespan that outweigh the increased risk of cancer. It is unclear why sterilization has an effect on the risk for cancers outside of the reproductive system. Owners should be aware of the risk of cancer in their neutered hounds and discuss this with their veterinarians. Dr. Smith concludes by saying “In un-owned, shelter or rescue populations, the population benefits of neutering likely outweigh any potential for increasing cancer risk. For owned animals, veterinarians will need to discuss the pros and cons for each individual and determine the best strategy for that pet based on breed, lifestyle, longevity expectations, concurrent diseases, cancer risks, other considerations for intact and sterilized dogs, and owner preferences.”

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Metronomic Chemotherapy in Veterinary Patients with Cancer: Rethinking the Targets and Strategies of Chemotherapy

By Barbara Biller, DVM, PhD
Vet Clin Small Anim 44(2014) 817-829

Most of us have had a loved one stricken by cancer and, thus, we are familiar with the conventional cancer chemotherapeutic approach. Traditionally, a cancer patient is treated with a high dose of a drug, or drug combination, that is more toxic to rapidly dividing cancer cells than to normal tissues. The patient typically suffers side effects such as nausea, hair loss and fewer red blood cells. The treatment is followed by a break to allow drug-sensitive normal tissues to recover. Then the treatment is repeated. This conventional chemotherapy has led to improved survival for many cancer patients, but it often fails.

Dr. Barbara Biller is a veterinary oncologist at the Flint Animal Cancer Center, affiliated with Colorado State University. Her research, funded in part by the AKC Canine Health Foundation, is testing a new approach to cancer chemotherapy, called metronomic chemotherapy. A metronome is a device that produces a regular tick, tick, tick that musicians use to keep a steady tempo. Metronomic chemotherapy is the daily administration of a low dose of the same toxic drugs as conventional chemotherapy. This low dose doesn’t kill the tumor cells, but there is evidence it does prevent the growth of blood vessels into the tumor. Starved of nutrients, the tumor dies. The metronomic dose also appears to “wake up” the immune system, leading to an antitumor immune response.

Metronomic chemotherapy has been tested in several human clinical trials with patients who had advanced cancer that had failed to respond to conventional chemotherapy. Dr. Biller reports that, despite promising results, metronomic chemotherapy is still considered investigational and is not offered as a first-line therapy.

Dr. Biller cites nine published clinical trials of metronomic chemotherapy in dogs and cats. The treatment is easy to administer, reasonably priced and well tolerated. There is early evidence of overall clinical benefit. Dr. Biller states, “Although metronomic chemotherapy is an attractive treatment choice, it is still considered an experimental approach with the potential for toxicity. When available, conventional therapies should first be offered before turning to a metronomic protocol. Because stable disease is generally the goal of therapy, it is also important to consider the overall condition of the patient; living with stable disease should be expected to result in an acceptable quality of life. When used appropriately, there is much potential for metronomic chemotherapy to improve, not just maintain, quality of life for companion animals with cancer, especially as additional studies answer important questions regarding indications, drug dosages and patient monitoring.”

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FDA conditionally approved lymphoma treatment for dogs

A PBGV owner has reported to the PBGVCA Health Committee that Tanovea has been successful in the treatment of their dog’s Lymphoma.

From VetDC website:

“The first FDA conditionally approved lymphoma treatment for dogs

TANOVEA-CA1 is designed to target lymphoma cells and attack them
• Accumulates in rapidly dividing lymphoma cells and causes those cells to die

TANOVEA-CA1 demonstrated a reasonable expectation of effectiveness in clinical studies
• Studied in clinical trials
• 77% of dogs with lymphoma responded to treatment
• Responses seen in dogs new to treatment and in dogs who stopped responding to conventional chemotherapy

TANOVEA-CA1 is generally well tolerated
• Common side effects include decreased white blood cell count, diarrhea, vomiting, decreased or loss of appetite, weight loss, decreased activity level, and skin problems
• Other side effects may occur – consult your veterinarian for additional information

TANOVEA-CA1 is convenient for you and your dog
• One dose every three weeks
• Only five visits for a full treatment

How much does Tanovea-CA1 cost

Tanovea-CA1 requires a prescription from a licensed veterinarian. Pet owners should consult their veterinarian for information about Tanovea pricing…”

How does TANOVEA-CA1 work?
SEE Video Click Here
Conditionally approved by FDA pending a full demonstration of effectiveness under application number 141-475.

CAUTION: Federal (USA) law restricts this drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. It is a violation of Federal Law to use this product other than as directed in the labeling.

Important Safety Information: TANOVEA-CA1 is indicated for the treatment of lymphoma in dogs. In clinical trials, the most frequently reported adverse reactions included decreased white blood cell count, diarrhea, vomiting, decreased or loss of appetite, weight loss, decreased activity level, and skin problems. Serious and sometimes fatal respiratory complications, including pulmonary fibrosis have occurred in dogs treated with TANOVEA-CA1. Do not use in West Highland White Terriers and use with caution in other terrier breeds. Owners should take extra care when handling and cleaning up after their dog for five days after treatment. Please see the package insert for full prescribing information, warnings and precautions.

For additional information visit www.vet-dc.com/tanovea/ or contact your veterinarian.”

(PBGVCA does not provide specific medical advice, but rather provides users with information to help them better understand health and disease. Please consult with a qualified health care professional for answers to medical questions.)

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