They came up with a winner: a vaccination for dogs that have malignant melanoma, a type of cancer of the skin or mouth.
This is not a vaccine that is used to protect from cancer. The word vaccine is a bit vague, because in common use this is something that is given in order to protect from a disease.
This vaccine is used only after a dog is diagnosed with melanoma.
Melanoma in dogs has different grades (some are more aggressive than others) and different stages (some have spread farther than others).
The usual stats are pretty dismal for the high grade melanomas, especially of the mouth or on the toes. Even with standard conventional care, these have a median survival of 2-4 months at worst, and about 5 months or so at best (remember, not every dog follows these stats).
The nice thing about this melanoma vaccine is that it has been shown to triple survival times. Not too shabby!
The vaccination just got conditional approval by the USDA last May and may be available through an veterinary oncologist near you.
Best to all,
Dr. Demian Dressler is internationally recognized as “the dog cancer vet” because of his innovations in the field of dog cancer management, and the popularity of his blog here at Dog Cancer Blog. The owner of South Shore Veterinary Care, a full-service veterinary hospital in Maui, Hawaii, Dr. Dressler studied Animal Physiology and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California at Davis before earning his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University. After practicing at Killewald Animal Hospital in Amherst, New York, he returned to his home state, Hawaii, to practice at the East Honolulu Pet Hospital before heading home to Maui to open his own hospital. Dr. Dressler consults both dog lovers and veterinary professionals, and is sought after as a speaker on topics ranging from the links between lifestyle choices and disease, nutrition and cancer, and animal ethics. His television appearances include “Ask the Vet” segments on local news programs. He is the author of The Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Full Spectrum Treatments to Optimize Your Dog’s Life Quality and Longevity. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Avian Veterinarians, the National Animal Supplement Council and CORE (Comparative Orthopedic Research Evaluation). He is also an advisory board member for Pacific Primate Sanctuary.