Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets.

New treatment for mast cell tumors

poochHere’s some good news reported in The Oregonian this week about a new treatment for mast cell tumors:

Skin-cancer drug approved for dogs

by Jacques Von Lunen, Special to The Oregonian

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced the approval of the first drug developed specifically for the treatment of cancer in dogs.

The drug, Palladia, is manufactured by Pfizer Animal Health. It is approved to treat mast-cell tumors in dogs, a type of cancer responsible for about 20 percent of canine skin tumors, the FDA said in a news release.

While mast-cell tumors are often small, they can be a serious form of cancer in dogs. Some of these tumors are easily removed without further problems, while others can lead to life-threatening disease.

All cancer drugs now used in veterinary medicine originally were developed for use in humans and are not approved for use in animals by the FDA, although since 1994 it has been legal to prescribe certain drugs intended for humans to animals.

Palladia works in two ways: by killing tumor cells and by cutting off the blood supply to the tumor. In a clinical trial, Palladia shrank tumors significantly, compared with a placebo.

The most common side effects associated with Palladia are diarrhea, decrease or loss of appetite, lameness and weight loss.

That’s great news.  I’ve had two dogs that had mast cell tumors.  In both cases they were easily removed but they can appear in places where they are not so easily treated.  Sometiimes the tumors can be so advanced that surgery doesn’t help.  Mast cell tumors are one of the most common forms of cancer in dogs because they occur on the skin.  If you don’t treat them they can make your dog sick in other ways, besides the physical tumor.  The small tumors can produce chemicals that are released throughout your dog’s body.  They can lead to gastric ulcers, nausea and vomiting, internal bleeding, and allergy-type symptoms.

Mast cell tumors seem to occur in all breeds and mixes and no one really knows what causes them.  There’s not much you can do in the way of prevention.  Like some other cancers, they tend to occur more frequently as your dog gets older.

These small tumors can come in different shapes and, once they appear, they can grow.  If your dog has a new, small growth you should have your vet check it out.  They may do a biopsy to see if the growth is cancerous or simply aspirate the growth with a needle to take a few cells.  You can’t tell just by looking at a growth if it’s a mast cell tumor (or cancerous) or not.

The important thing to remember with mast cell tumors, or with any kind of cancer in dogs is that it’s always better to catch it early.  Check your dog regularly for signs of any new growths or strange little protuberances.  Ask your vet about anything new or different about your dog.  Don’t be afraid to ask.  It’s part of your vet’s job to check these things out.


June 12, 2009 - Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Another excellent cost effective treatment for Grade 1 and some grade 2 MCT is Neoplasene at Buck Mtn. Botanical. However,surgery with deep margins is probably still the best therapy.

    Comment by Marc Smith, DVM | June 12, 2009 | Reply

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