Cancer in Dogs-Victims Could Enjoy Better Quality Of Life During Chemotherapy

Cancer in our beloved dog breaks our hearts!  I know!  My dog Webster went through chemo for hemangiosarcoma.  This study offers good news and hope!
Dog research helps cancer victims

A world-first tiral on dogs may help cancer patients. Picture: Fiona Hamilton Source: Herald Sun

CANCER victims could enjoy a better quality of life during chemotherapy, thanks to a world-first trial on dogs.

CANCER victims could enjoy a better quality of life during chemotherapy, thanks to a world-first trial on dogs.

Vets at Southpaws Speciality Surgery in Moorabbin have discovered dogs suffer almost none of the sickening side-effects and the drugs given to them work more efficiently when administered slowly and continuously over a few days, instead of the bursts received when delivered intravenously over weeks or months.

Forty dogs have been treated, 17 of them subject to a strict clinical trial in which a pump inserted under their skin doles out chemotherapy at even dosage with far fewer side-effects suffered as a result.

Because the drugs are applied at a regular rate, there are no peaks in dosage and lower toxicity in the bloodstream.

Another bonus is the new method of administering the drugs drastically cuts the costs of treatment, travel and time in hospital.

Of the 17 trial dogs, none suffered vomiting, nausea, hair loss, lethargy, loss of appetite or kidney toxicity. Some registered a lower white blood cell count but only one suffered diarrhoea.

Veterinary cancer experts presented with a paper outlining the trial at a conference in the US last week were “really excited” by the findings.

And human oncologists have already approached Dr Charles Kuntz and his Southpaws colleague James Simcock to discuss the potential for its possible future application in human cancer sufferers.

In the trial, offered at a cut price to owners of dogs diagnosed with terminal osteosarcoma, bone cancer, dogs were given lower doses over longer periods, meaning tumours were exposed to the chemo for longer.

Melbourne nurse Jacqueline Hills-West signed mastiff-boxer Libby up for the trial, having seen the side-effects suffered by human patients on chemotherapy.

After amputation of her cancerous rear right leg, Libby, 9, had a chemo delivery pump inserted and had drug administration for a few days.

“It’s been far more cost efficient and much more convenient for us coming from Skye to Moorabbin for treatment,” Ms Hills-West said.

“I had been scared what to expect but it looks already like she’s had a second lease on her new life.”

Rottweiler Maverick was at the Moorabbin veterinary hospital yesterday also having the new form of delivery.

Owner Belinda Foster said she was happy to offer her canine “baby” a chance, while also advance a trial that could one day benefit human cancer sufferers.

“Whatever happens, we have already improved the quality of his life by keeping the treatment to days and not months, and without the usual side-effects associated with chemo,” she said.


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