The internet is filled with chatter about the Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine, a promising new immunotherapy that can help a dog’s body fight back against metastasis. But like many things found on the web, there is also a great deal of misinformation about the treatment. We want to clear up the confusion, so we turned to Dr. Andrew Vaughan DVM, MS ACVIM (Oncology) of the Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center.
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Dogs are Living Longer with New Treatment
Recently we told you about Dexter, who was one of the earliest participants in the Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine clinical trial. Dexter has thrived while under the care of the scientist who developed it, Dr, Nicola J. Mason, BVetMed, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and pathobiology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.
Thanks to Dr. Mason’s groundbreaking research, Dexter is now an incredible five years past his bone cancer diagnosis and still going strong. The astonishing treatment results of Dexter and many others who participated in the original study helped to move the treatment into the next step of research.
Late last year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Veterinary Biologics granted conditional approval for the vaccine’s manufacturer, Aratana, to conduct an extended field clinical study in 2018 at about two dozen veterinary oncology practice groups across the United States. The final results of this study may support a regulatory (USDA) filing for full licensure of the vaccine.
The Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine Facts
The extended field clinical study is slowly taking shape but it will be several weeks until all two dozen oncology clinics join the Las Vegas Veterinary Specialty Center in treating new patients with the vaccine.
One of Dr. Vaughan’s new patients is Bowie, the beautiful retired racing greyhound shown in the video. During Bowie’s appointment we had the opportunity to learn the basic Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine facts and now we want to share them with you. Sit back to learn more from Dr. Vaughan:
What You Need to Know About the Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine
There are many different types of vaccines. This vaccine will not prevent or cure osteosarcoma.
The Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine is a therapeutic vaccine. The goal is to stimulate the patient’s immune system to attack the cancer.
Patients receive three separate injections, three weeks apart. The injections don’t take long to administer. Patients must return for a final exam three weeks after the last injection in order to get an “all clear” by the vet.
The injection time is short, but in-clinic monitoring is required to ensure tolerance.
Like any immunotherapy, the vaccine may have potential side effects such as fevers, lethargy and gastro intestinal upset. These reactions are not unusual, they happen whenever a body reacts to the presence of an immuno-stimulant therapy.
Side effects of the Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine are similar to chemotherapy side effects, but with a slightly higher incidence rate. Most of these issues happen immediately after the treatment is given, while the patient is still in the clinic.
The ideal candidate for the vaccine is an otherwise healthy dog who has undergone amputation and completed a course of chemotherapy for osteosarcoma, such as carboplatin or doxorubicin treatments.
The vaccine does not take the place of amputation or chemotherapy. Scientists don’t know if it ever will, because so far all studies have only involved dogs who had an amputation and chemotherapy. However Dr. Vaughan is confident that over the years, dogs with different osteosarcoma treatment backgrounds (such as those who didn’t undergo amputation) who receive the vaccine will reveal the effectiveness of this treatment in other patient populations.
Can Your Dog Receive the Canine Osteosarcoma Vaccine?
To learn more, ask your veterinary oncologist or call Aratana’s Customer Care team: 1-844-ARATANA (272-8262).
We are sad to report that this vaccine is no longer available. Dr. Sue Ettinger explains why: