Cancer and Your Pet

new-lymphoma-treatment-leukemia-cancer-ibrutinibDid you know:

  • Dogs get cancer at approximately the same rate as humans?
  • Cancer is the cause of almost half of the deaths of dogs 10 years and older?
  • 1 in 4 dogs will develop some type of tumor during his or her lifetime?
  • Cancer in cats is probably half the rate that we see in dogs?
  • Cancer in cats tends to be a more aggressive form than in dogs?

Azzore Veterinary Specialists has been asked to complete a clinical trial of a new form of tumor treatment which could be the “holy grail” that oncologists have been searching for!  This new treatment causes the patient’s body to recognize the tumor as “non-self” so that the immune system destroys the invading tumor. This revolutionary vaccine is created from the patient’s own tumor tissue and combined with an approved adjuvant.

Tumors that will be treated in the preliminary study are:

  • Melanoma
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Soft Tissue Sarcomas

A pet accepted into the study will have tumor excision or debulking, followed by three vaccine administrations at one week intervals. The total cost would be limited to normal tumor excision and debulking fees. There will be no charge for the vaccine or administration.

If you are a veterinarian, please contact us for more information. If you are a pet owner, please contact your veterinarian if you feel your pet could benefit from this treatment. We can only accept patients by referral for this clinical trial.


Most malignant melanomas occur in and around the mouth. They grow quickly and can be fatal. They usually metastasize to the lymph nodes and lungs, and can spread to other parts of the body like the brain, heart and spleen.

Squamous Cell CarcinomaJade 07-19-12

This is a frequently diagnosed cancer in dogs that can occur in a variety of locations. Most cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas look like firm bumps on or under the skin, or sometimes look like warts. This type of cancer can also occur in the mouth – especially in older dogs. They are usually invasive to surrounding tissue and bone, and can sometimes metastasize to the lymph nodes or even the lungs, depending on the location of the tumor. The prognosis depends on the location of the tumor and the metastatic rate.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma

These tumors make up 15% of all skin and subcutaneous tumors in dogs. Most of them are solitary lesions, and they can be either benign or malignant. Sarcomas usually appear to be encapsulated, but are not. Surgery is the treatment of choice because these tumors are so aggressive. They tend to spread through the blood in up to 20% of cases, but don’t usually metastasize to the lymph nodes. Tumors larger than 5cm in diameter do not respond to chemotherapy or radiation.  The outcome for soft tissue sarcomas is usually good, but ultimately 1/3 of dogs die from tumor related causes.


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