Diagnosing and treating canine and feline cancer is part of the daily routine for most veterinary specialists. In fact, I’ve guesstimated that 75 percent of the patients I care for have cancer. Depending on which source you read (and believe) as many as 50 percent of our companion animals will develop cancer at some point during their lives. Depressing stuff, I know, but perhaps this is why I’m particularly excited about a new drug called Palladia, recently introduced by Pfizer Animal Health.
Palladia (toceranib phosphate) is the very first drug ever developed specifically for the treatment of cancer in dogs. We are using it to treat a common type of canine cancer called mast cell disease. Mast cells normally function in the body as part of the immune system. In fact, they are the cells primarily responsible for producing allergic reactions. Just as with other types of tumors, mast cell cancer develops when these cells proliferate in an unregulated fashion. Palladia is being used to treat dogs with mast cell tumors within the skin (where they most commonly arise) that cannot be cured surgically. The drug works directly at the level of the cancer cell and interferes with blood flow to the tumor.
Palladia is an exciting, new treatment option for dogs with mast cell tumors. I’m pleased that, for the first time, an effective cancer-fighting medication has been developed specifically for the veterinary profession. Please let me know if your dog happens to have mast cell cancer. I will be happy to provide you with more details about treatment options.
Now, here’s wishing you and your four-legged best friend good health!
Dr. Nancy Kay
Specialist, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.
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Listen to Dr. Kay’s interview – A Veterinarian Advises “How to Speak for Spot” on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross –